Having had such a good time with FTL, it only made sense to see what came next, right?
This isn’t a full in-depth review, just a quick take on what I’ve found whilst playing it over the past week (spoiler: it’s bloody great!).
Into the breach
Into the Breach is the same but totally different.
Yes, you’re micro-managing to keep your current run going, and yes, you die and start again, slowly progressing further and further as you get better.
But that’s about it. Into the Breach sees you take command of a squad of time travelling mechs, that drop into each map to try and avert disaster. You’re actively dropping into combat, and each turn is like taking a turn in chess.
Turn-based combat with mechs, killing alien bugs. Tell me what’s no to like!
Initially I found the flow of the game super accessible, moreso than FTL. However, I found that my progress and my understanding of what was going on, took a lot longer to put me into a groove.
Into the Breach doesn’t hold your hand, you learn by doing and dying. Very roguelike-like, eh?
Sure enough, after a few hours and several runs through, I hit the second map, I unlocked an alternative crew, and things took another turn. Into the Breach gives you plenty of room to grow, and I love that.
After completing a couple of objectives, I unlocked some coins that I could then spend to unlock new mechs/squads, and new mechs meant completely changing the way I was playing. Because of their different weapons and abilities, I was basically starting from scratch.
Maps, Mechs, Bugs and Power
Using the time travel angle is genius. Every time you fail in Into the Breach, you bug-out and move to a new timeline. Such a simple, clever way to give some logic to the whole premise of getting better each run-through.
Each run hinges on the fact that you need to sustain the power grid in the world. The Vek are here to destroy the world, but if you’ve got power, everything can live on. Each successful attack on a building takes power away, each successful defence of a power plant, adds more to the grid.
You’re always aiming to defend buildings each turn, often taking a hit with a mech to keep people alive. Each turn is an attempt to make the best choice in a set of circumstances you could do without. Chess. What sacrifices do you make to come out on top?
Upgrading your mechs is done through drop pod rewards that you pick-up off the map. Similarly to FTL, you can have new gear, but you have to have enough power to use it. I like this, because it adds strategy to every loadout, every encounter. Into the Breach makes you sweat every single choice.
If you achieve bonus objectives, you get to spend your rewards after clearing a map. Again, choosing wisely to gear you up for the next, harder encounters.
Into the Breach isn’t stingy, though. If you move onto map 2, you get to start there next time. Albeit with the difficulty set to equate to your first map, if that makes sense? So you can start anywhere you’ve previously unlocked and proceed from there. Again, mixing it up with enemies and even biome-themed naturally occurring effects like lightning, smoke, flooding and others.
Hot off the heels of having a blast with FTL, I was hankering for more of the same, but something different. Into the Breach is EXACTLY that.
It’s more deliberate in how you take part in combat, and rewards taking your time. It took me a while to adapt to the change of pace, and whilst it’s slower paced, every run is fun-filled and exciting. You’re not reacting in real-time, but you’re seeing your strategy play-out, and usually seeing something you missed, watching a tower get destroyed.
You can get overwhelmed quickly, but you have the benefit of being able to take your time, too.
About 8 hours in, I’m no way near finished, but I have a good idea of what Into the Breach is about, and I think if you like strategy and the opportunity to learn and adapt. Into the Breach is for you. It isn’t an FTL sequel, or anything like that. A different game with some similarities. Equally as addictive and challenging.
Subset Games have knocked it out of the park here. It’s a great game, totally recommended by Ninja Refinery.