The beginning of this turn-based strategic adventure can get a little tragic, with aliens destroying the human race and all… Until you jump back in time to try again… The makers of “FTL: Faster Than Light” brought us a new take on the strategic defense genre. Into the Breach keeps their usual procedurally generated wonder and retro art style.
You will lead a team of futuristic (in a very literal sense) combat mechs to save what’s left of the human race. The remanents of humanity were scattered among four islands when a race of gigantic creatures started sprouting from the earth… This is where the guys at Subset Games hit the spot, linking the story with the procedural generation and permadeath mechanics we love. Just before you fail your quest (a situation you might find familiar in this kind of games), you take your favorite mech pilot and send him/her back in time, just to the point where it all began.
Genre: Turn-based Strategy.
Developed by: Subset Games
Published by: Subset Games
Reviewed on PC.
Into the Breach is set in a Post-Apocalyptic world, going through another apocalypse…
“The remnants of human civilization are threatened by popping creatures breeding beneath the earth. You must control powerful mechs from the future to hold off this alien threat…”
Not the best time to be a human, luckily for us “time” is very relative in this game. Each time you attempt to save the earth, fail or succeed, you’ll get the chance to send your favorite pilot back in time, so you can start a new procedurally generated challenge all over again.
Your goal is to save as many of the remaining humans as possible from the attacking Vek’s; these huge nasty bugs can’t really be considered “Alien” since they come from the center of the earth, but they’re certainly not normal, spitting acid and thrashing buildings around. The Vek’s are also not all that bright, a common trait on the video game minion profession, but we’ll get into that later.
Subset Games really took their time with this game, starting on 2014 they made sure to have the quality expected after FTL’s success. Let’s take a look at the results.
Challenges, maps, rewards, and upgrades are all randomly generated for every new campaign, every round trying to save the human race is unique. This makes the game pretty awesome, but it was clearly not enough for these guys; they also added 13 unique pilots with special abilities, 8 teams for a total of 24 upgradable mechs with unique starting equipment and custom teams you can set up with 3 of any of the mechs you’ve unlocked. Sounds better right? Apparently, still not enough to top FTL…
Having the enemies attack at the start of each turn ended up as a huge twist on the turn-based strategy game. After deciding where to deploy your mechs, the enemy units start calling their attacks but will hold off until you have your turn before going through with it. Remember I told you the Vek’s where not the smartest monsters in gaming? Well, after they call an attack, they can’t change directions… Or cancel it.
Playing this turn-based strategy game with the opening mech team
One of the most interesting mechanics is the friendly-fire, among enemies. Don’t get me wrong, you’re also affected by friendly-fire, but the Vek’s can’t cancel their attacks. One of most effective ways of dealing with the infestation is to make the Vek’s attack each other. This way you can get one from attacking your defenses to attacking another Vek.
Mech upgrades remind a lot of FTL’s energy-based upgrade system, using power cores or pilot abilities, you can give your mechs more HP, movement, or power cool weapons with many different effects.
Besides your mechs, which are repaired at the end of every battle, you need to defend the Power Grid; the last line of defense pushing back (or downward I guess) the Vek infestation. Every hit to a building will not only kill humans and take points from your score but also take energy from the Power Grid, if that gets to zero it’s game over. Without an active Power Grid, Vek’s start popping out freely and drive you to the past.
Into the Breach has an awesome retro style, using 2D Pixel artwork in contrast with the futuristic theme of the story. Now, the Retro style doesn’t take away the modern animation for the different attacks and effects.
Blending artwork with procedurally generated maps is no easy task. The guys at Subset Games took their job very seriously; all the levels I’ve played so far look great. The scenery mixes masterfully with the obstacles and buildings.
Each of the islands has its own theme, forest, desert, frozen peaks, and Industrial. So you can lead your campaign on your favorite scenarios without them getting too repetitive.
In the end, we get a retro style game with awesome unique mechanics. The way the NPC enemies attack constantly force you into a defensive position. The procedurally generated levels and perma-death mechanics keep the game challenging. The masterful integration of the story, gameplay, and artwork make this turn-based strategy game a must-have for dedicated gamers.
Travel back in time, kill giant bugs with futuristic mechs and save the earth… basically everything an awesome gaming experience needs.