‘Into the Breach’ is the ‘Pacific Rim’ tactics game we never knew we needed

In the future, humanity has fallen. We fought until the end, but monstrous insects, the Vek, rose from the ground and defeated our giant mec suits, invading what was left of civilization.

However, there is still hope. We have enough energy to send a pilot back through a gap in time to ride it and try again. And again. And again.

Into the Breach is a turn-based tactical strategy game in which players control squads of three people from giant mechs to protect cities from monsters that emerge from the depths. You may have heard this story before if you saw Pacific Rim Guillermo del Toro's ode to kaiju movies.

Breach is the second game of the developer Subset Games, and the long-awaited follow-up of the unexpected independent success FTL: Faster Than Light a roguelike spacecraft simulator 2012 that established a early and unfairly high bar for games funded by Kickstarter.

While In the gap may have some similarities to the Nintendo Advance Wars series at a glance, it's even available in the Nintendo switch. The turn-based strategy of the subset has a totally unique flavor. Into the Breach is a master class of elegant design, and one of the most focused and satisfying strategy games we have played.

You are playing kaiju ladies, I am playing chess kaiju [19659008] Each level in Into the Breach is developed in a tight grid of eight by eight with mountains, forests, water, open spaces and buildings The Vek begins to form a tunnel on one side of the map while your mechs start anywhere in a fall zone at the opposite end. At the start of each turn, the Veks move and indicate where they will attack, as well as where new ones will appear at the end. Then you have the opportunity to respond with each of your three mechs, in any order, that can move and then make an attack (although not the other way around).

Into the Breach is a master class in the elegant design of the game. [19659010] The objective in each level is to survive the handful of assigned turns until the Vek withdraw, while preventing them from destroying the planet. You can complete any level simply by surviving them, but every time a building is destroyed, you lose a tick on the power grid meter at the top of the screen, which serves as a total life meter for execution. The buildings are unlikely to resist damage, but in general a single blow is enough to knock each one down, either from Vek himself, or from the collateral damage of throwing one another as if you were in King of Monsters [19659009]. With only five of seven total power on the grid at the start, what is at stake is very high from the start. Some mistakes will put you in a desperate situation.

At first glance, you might think that, like in Advance Wars, the strategy revolves around maneuvering your mechs to avoid damage while destroying the enemy with superior firepower. The fact that your first squad includes a bipedal mech that hits, a tank and a mobile artillery cannon supports this notion. However, you will quickly realize that it does not produce enough gross damage to eliminate everything on time. What makes Into the Breach so satisfying is that positioning matters as much as – if not more than – directly striking your opponents.

In addition to inflicting damage, most attacks from your mechs also push their opponents. objectives around. Colliding with anything, whether it's a building, a mountain or another unit, hurts both parties. Unlike its aquatic ancestors in Pacific Rim Vek can not stand the ocean, so any Vek on land that is hit in water or abysses is destroyed immediately. In addition to direct damage, you should consider moving Vek to use the environment or even to redirect your own attacks to each other. It is reminiscent of Aikido, where the best technique is usually to change your opponent's momentum against them.

Due to the breadth of possible solutions for any round, Into the Breach continually presents you with the opportunity to feel wonderfully smart. Using three mechs to drive away five more powerful Veks is sure to put a smile on your face. The adjusted maps and interactions mean that nothing is wasted, and each turn is a new puzzle to solve.


The useful life of this puzzle is dramatically extended by the variety of its systems. Completing achievements allows you to earn coins, which are spent between games to unlock new three-mech squads. Like the variant ships in FTL each new squad presents its own unique synergies, with three unique achievements that provide a short guide on how to use them.

The best technique is often to turn the enemy momentum against them.

The positional focus of the gameplay is even more evident when you delve into the other squads, most of which have at least one mech that focuses exclusively on moving units instead of attacking them directly. Each of the eight squads has its own theme. There is the Steel Judoka, a squad that focuses on manipulating the Vek against each other, or the Rusting Hulks, which gradually fills the battlefield with damaging storm clouds.

Crucially, none of these unlockable squads is more powerful than your initial mechs. They are more specialized and situational, and require greater use of tactical imagination.

You can also use custom or random squads that comprise any mech you have unlocked so far. With 24 mechs in total, and no restrictions on duplicates, that makes 13,824 squads try. Not all will be viable, but finding diamonds in the rough will be half the fun for some players.

The world you are protecting is divided into four islands, each administered by a megacorporation with unique powers. . Terraforming R.S.T. Corporation alters the landscape as you play, for example. When you delete all regions except three on each island, a boss fight will appear at the corporate headquarters.

In the non-compliance review

After completing the islands once in sequence, you can address them in any order. Secure at least two and you can move on to the final battle, a fight in two phases on the volcanic island that the Vek calls home. No matter the order of the islands or the amount you complete, the challenge adapts to the scales, giving you flexibility for short or long games as you prefer.

Each mission also has secondary objectives, such as protecting particular buildings or blocking a certain number of emerging Vek. By completing them you get additional reactor cores to update your mechs, restored power to the network, new pilots with special abilities (one of which you can select at the start of the game from among those you have found) or reputation points, which you can spend in after completing each island to buy a random selection of new weapons, as well as more reactor cores and power.

Into the Breach Compared with

Like the mechs, the new weapons are not better, simply different. Weapons like the artillery barrel, which damages two pieces and leads the enemies in opposite directions, sounds good until you realize that the Vek will mix with your own mechs and the buildings you are trying to protect. Reactor Cores allow you to increase stats such as damage or movement, or apply additional effects to your attacks, but they are a precious resource, and you will never be able to approach the full update of your squadron. You have to spend your resources wisely.

Nothing in my sleeves

Into the Breach has the elegance of the design of a classic board game like the Hive approved by Mensa . It's easy to teach, but it has a deeply high ceiling for mastery by the way its simple pieces combine to create unique and interesting states at every turn, even after years with the game. Breach reveals almost everything in the early hours of the game: there are only a handful of basic types of Vek, with variants of "alpha" and boss, without big final turns or revelations. The motivation to keep playing is not to want to see new content, but rather to solve new and interesting configurations of the content that you already know.

Subset Games has presented one of the tightest strategy games we have ever seen. [19659010] The puzzle is, in part, deliciously crispy because of how small all the numbers are. No amount where you need to think about the game exceeds 10, and the figures are usually a little lower. You can count on one hand the damage you inflict, the points of life that you have left and the number of opponents on the battlefield at any given moment. Keep everything small plays brilliantly with the idea that people can only have seven digits (plus or minus two) in their heads at any given time. It is challenging without overloading the player's cognitive load.

It also makes the difficulty clear. Easy mode only slightly reduces Vek's generation rate, usually only one per round, but that makes a big difference to the overall challenge. Difficult, meanwhile, adds only a few more Vek and more frequent alpha variants. The total points have a scale of difficulty, but fortunately most achievements do not matter, allowing you to unlock new squads easily without the need to be a master pilot.

Our Take

Subset Games has delivered one of the tightest strategy games we have seen. Reminds us about that Inside another small and perfectly perfected indie game that developer Playdead spent five years developing after a beloved debut title. Like FTL Into the Breach is perfectly balanced for a difficult but fair challenge that lends itself to bite-size game sessions, but also offers years of strategic depth and variant play. styles to master. PC is an ideal platform for strategy games, but the small pieces of game in Into the Breach are also an idea for Nintendo's Switch.

We dare to say that Subset has outdone itself, beating FTL with an even more focused, interesting and repeatable game. Its only real drawback is that, at the time of launch, it is only available for PC. We hope that, like its predecessor, the game will reach more platforms over time. Into the Breach is a coup de grace.

Is there a better alternative?

No. While Into the Breach can be compared to many strategy games, its gameplay is exceptionally challenging and satisfying.

How long will it last?

A single race can take only a couple of hours, but it seemed almost impossible to play just one. The variety of the game means that we will play for months, if not years.

Should you buy it?

Yes. Into the Breach is a mandatory game for anyone who likes strategy games, and anyone who has enjoyed FTL should definitely check it out.

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