Into the Breach Review
Into the Breach is a futuristic turn-based, roguelike, squad tactics game. You are a time traveler from the future, sent back to save mankind… and you do it all from within a gigantic mech suit.
Classic Turn-Based Squad Tactics
The game is fairly straightforward: you control a team of mech-suited pilots. But this is the easy part. The tactics that you can use are a lot more in-depth. Where to move your units, in what order, which abilities to use, where your enemies are planning to move and attack, and which defenses to prioritize are all import aspects of your tactical decision-making. It is very rewarding when you make good decisions, but very punishing when you make a mistake. You have a limited number of buildings that can be destroyed or you will lose the game.
Out-thinking the Vex and pulling off some big brain plays really makes Into the Breach; especially when you’re outnumbered. However, at times it reminds you just how unfair monster attacks can be. You will lose civilians, defenses, and, if you really mess up, you’ll lose your mechs, too.
Same Game, New Face
Fortunately and unfortunately, being a turn-based squad tactics game, it benefits and suffers from what it shares with its cousins. If you feel satisfied from out-thinking the level, upgrading your mechs, squashing aliens, and enjoy tactics-based games, you’ll probably like Into the Breach. However, as with most games like this, enemies and levels are the same, with only minor changes and gimmicks here and there. Levels started to blend together after about an hour. As time went on I noticed it more and more. It does not help that the maps tend to be small, either. With games like XCOM and Fire Emblem, you often have moderately large grids on which to perform your combat. All of the ones in Into the Breach are 8×8.
You Get To Play With and As Giant Mechs
This is by far the best part of Into the Breach. While in games like XCOM you can create and customize mech soldiers, you stick to one or two. However, in Into the Breach all your units are mechs, and you can play with their weapons and upgrades to change their movement, health, damage, and utility.
Unfortunately, most of the upgrades are seemingly inaccessible, even while doing everything perfectly. After getting all of the objectives on the first island after a new (well, several new) run(s) I barely had any upgrades on my mechs. Then after getting all the objectives on the second island, I still barely had any upgrades on my mechs. The upgrade costs scale disproportionately to the upgrade use, as the image from my first (and rather bad) run shows. A +1 damage upgrade costs 2 mech reactors, but another +1 damage upgrade costs 3 mech reactors. To be fair, the cost of a mech reactor stays static throughout the game, but the rate at which you acquire the points stays the same as well.
Not For Me, But Maybe For You
My only complaints are: the lackluster/uninteresting upgrade systems, the implementation of the time-limit, and that the final level scales to your power level. You can only play a certain number of levels per island before moving on. This is a similar mechanic to similar games (Faster Than Light, XCOM, and Fire Emblem). However, I always feel behind in Into the Breach. In XCOM and Fire Emblem I felt “ahead” of the curve a bit by playing smart. This ties in to my final complaint: scaling the final level. Why should I bother going through the slog of upgrading my mechs if the final level will scale anyway? I feel like if I want to grind out some insect-stomping levels and upgrades then I should be able to.
If you are a fan of turn-based tactical games, you should definitely check this game out. As of right now it is available free on Epic Games. You can see my first hour playing the game (with no commentary) with the YouTube video here:
Even after coming back and playing for a few more hours, I have decided this game isn’t for me. My own personal complaints became more pronounced, whereas my enjoyment from playing with mechs, upgrades, and tactics started to wear thin. But I understand why it has a generally positive reception, and I recommend this game to those who think it sounds like fun.
Into the Breach can be found on Epic Games here.
Into the Breach can be found on Steam here.
Into the Breach can be found on the Nintendo Switch here.