Time-travel stories are one of the most common types of stories in the sci-fi genre but Into the Breach still manages to make it interesting. From the creators of the highly popular FTL: Faster Than Light, Subset Games presents another futuristic title involving robots and giant bugs. Initially released in 2018 for a number of platforms, Into the Breach has recently gone through a massive update adding new content, difficulty, and the freedom for players to toggle them if they so choose. Though the game was made available on iOS and Android, it also made the shift to become available to anyone with a Netflix account through the Netflix Games service.
Much like its predecessor, Into the Breach maintains a somewhat rounded and colourful pixel style. However, instead of a top-down view, the game is presented in an isometric fashion on a grid-like layout. Everything from the mechs to the tiles has a solid yet animated appearance that all fits together to make things look natural. Even the distinctions between the mechs and the aliens are subtle yet noticeable enough to distinguish them as artificial and organic lifeforms.
The story of Into the Breach is kind of bleak which only drives you further to succeed. In the future, humanity has been ravaged not only by their own conflicts and environmental crisis but also by an alien invasion. Known as the Vek, this insectoid species has come to Earth for the sole purpose of destruction and consumption. In order to fight back, humanity has built advanced mechs with trained pilots to fight them. To better ensure victory, humans have also discovered a way to jump to different timelines to get another chance at beating the Vek.
Into the Breach is best described as a turn-based roguelike. When you start a new run, you get to choose a squad of three mechs as well as any associated pilots. From there, you have a choice of several areas with each one split into multiple regions. The goal is to clear each region of Vek occupation while protecting civilians and accomplishing any additional objectives. To win, you simply need to last however many turns the battle takes. If you lose all your mechs, or the grid power level drops to zero, you lose the fight and need to jump to another timeline.
Each battle has you moving your mechs strategically around as Vek forces arrive periodically. You'll need to protect the buildings from Vek attacks in order to save civilians and keep your grid power full. Every time a building is destroyed, you lose a point of power which isn't restored between fights. You need to balance pushing Vek around to control their effects, keeping your mechs in fighting shape, and completing goals in order to earn Corporate Reputation for purchases or gain additional Grid Power points.
This version includes the Advanced Edition content which comes with a batch of new content. Not only are there more mechs to control, pilots to recruit, abilities to learn, and enemies to fight, but a greater degree of challenge. Whenever you start a new run, you can choose to toggle what elements will be affected. This includes raising the difficulty of enemy AI, providing more missions to accomplish, more equipment to find and select, and a greater selection of pilot abilities. The Advanced Edition really does advance the gameplay and provide a greater challenge, should you want one.
Into the Breach is an isometric strategy game with roguelike mechanics. It's arranged in such a way to keep things fast-paced and easy to manage. The way it plays makes it feel like a puzzle game where the mechs and Vek behave like chess pieces. All the attacks are telegraphed and there's a surprising number of options available to you from pushing enemies into each other to sacrificing health in order to stop enemies from spawning. It's a combat-game where eliminating the opponent isn't always the best solution which adds to the overall variety. If you've got the time and a Netflix account, then jump Into the Breach.