Have You Played… Flotilla?

I committed a horrible mistake with my bottom.

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

“Armed with nothing but a bone to pick and seven months left to live, you embark on your last adventure.” Blendo Games’ procedural space adventure Flotilla has an inevitable conclusion, so what matters is how you and your flotilla spend those last few months. Across my many adventures, I’ve been crowned karaoke champion of the universe, helped fugitive cats, worked for a shadowy organisation, had boarding parties killed by aliens, scoured the galaxy of pirates, fled from casino debts, invented cocktails, and lost so many turn-based space battles.

Your seven months of life give you time for fourteen stops at planets around the galaxy, fourteen encounters. A lot like FTL’s encounters, they tend to pop up a dialogue box with a description and a choice. Unlike FTL, they’re quite whimsical, hinting at a weird wide universe of fun, crime, and sentient animals. Will you defend white-collar criminal pigs from pirates? Will you rob space hitchhikers or play board games with them? Will you stare into a celestial aurora and risk space madness? Will you salvage a spooky drifting ship or destroy it? Many decisions start little subplots that’ll pop up again later, while some events simply happen. I nailed that karaoke performance. No decision, no contest.

Or you’ll end up in a fight. Then Flotilla shifts into turn-based 3D combat. Positioning is key, as ships have (mostly) invulnerable armour on their front and sides but soft backs and bellies. Turns plays out in 30-second chunks of real time, so you need to predict where they’ll move. It’s simple and grows repetitive once you’ve figured out the trick, but adding new ships to your flotilla and gathering gear across your adventure does freshen it up a little.

When your seven months are up, or you lose all your ships in battle, it’s over. My adventures seem to last about 15 minutes either way, and both endings are enjoyable. Each story is complete. Flotilla’s not a game to beat; it’s an adventure to go on. At the end, it gives you a nice little recap, then it’s time for another.

Yeah, I knew Bitter Melon...

21 Comments

  1. dontnormally says:

    Amazing game, even if I never did quite get the hang of avoiding fiery death. The thought of the pop-up subplots being similar to (but whackier than) FTL is pretty spot-on.

    I wish more games took this structure and ran with it, though. I love the idea of starting and completing an adventure over a (few) cup(s) of coffee.

  2. FriendlyFire says:

    I liked Flotilla, but I always seemed to get utterly wrecked on my first or second combat encounter. Kinda killed my interest after a while.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Really? I didn’t find them that hard, maybe you’re missing some mechanics?

  3. Shardz says:

    Great game and it runs nicely on modest notebooks. One of my favorite games which doesn’t take up 15 gigs on the old hard drive.

  4. padger says:

    It’s a proper game this, although too tricky. And another one I can keep on this cranky old laptop for travel and play. So good.

  5. Koozer says:

    My only criticism of Flotilla is that each run is too short to really get attached to your flotilla, unlike FTL.

    • KDR_11k says:

      Yeah and on default length the game isn’t even long enough to resolve the quest chains you got, you might get 1-2 encounters of a chain but never face the consequences of your choices.

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      Waltorious says:

      Didn’t Blendo eventually patch in an “endless mode” option? I thought I read that somewhere. I only ever played the demo for Flotilla so I can’t confirm myself. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure why I never bought the full game; I should probably go do that.

  6. Sc0r says:

    Is it just me or does the screenshot remind you of homeworld, too?

    • tumbleworld says:

      Definitely. It was absolutely my first thought, quickly followed by “Hey, why is it red?”

  7. tikey says:

    Is that a Homeworld 2 Battlecruiser?

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      At least from this angle, it really is uncanny…

      • WiggumEsquilax says:

        A Hiigaran Battlecruiser.

        • P.Funk says:

          Unmistakable.

        • tikey says:

          What’s it doing there?
          Silly battlecruiser, that’s not your game.

          • P.Funk says:

            I would honestly love to see a zany RTS that deliberately mixes random assortments of distinctive units from various seminal and cult RTS titles. I would love to fight off a swarm of Zerglings with some Flash Tanks.

  8. foofad says:

    Woohoo, Flotilla! I love this game. It’s definitely one of my favorite indies of all time. Back when the game was first released, before it made it onto Steam, the developer was really great about listening to feedback on the forums and was very agile about improving the game. The “Default to Manual Mode” option was actually my suggestion. There were a bunch of patches in the first couple of weeks of suggestions. That solidified my opinion of Blendo as a developer and I’ve bought several of their other titles as a result.

    None of them are as cool as Flotilla is, though.

  9. wcq says:

    I liked the game, until I dicovered the Unbeatable Pincer Maneuverâ„¢.

    Since the AI ships had a tendency to clump together, using your two ships to pincer attack them ensured that your ships always had their frontal armor pointed towards the enemy while one of your ships could always hit their weak points. The game became a cakewalk after that.

    I should give it another go, maybe they patched that out.

  10. Lambchops says:

    I enjoyed Flotilla, it’s chilled out and relaxing and was a fine introduction to the wonderful output of Blendo for me.

  11. Rufust Firefly says:

    I met the developer at a conference a while back where he was demonstrating his new game Quadrilateral Cowboy, which I cannot wait for. I mentioned how much I loved Flotilla, even though the deer in that game are JERKS.

    I gather all the Blendo Games are related in some way, curious to see how the new QC world of cybernetic eyes and command-line hacking ties into space Rasta cats and the cinematic 30 Flights of Loving.