Into the Breach (Review)

The human death toll in Subset Games follow up to their 2012 Indie smash FTL, can reach into the hundreds with one swipe of a Veks tail. The Vek – insectioid alien scumbags. Only one thing on their minds, and that is finishing off what is left of this version of Earth. I think… You see Into The Breach isn’t exactly overflowing with story. You pick up the odd line of dialogue here and there, but it’s left very much up to the player to fill in the blanks about what this Aliens vs Mechs story is actually all about.

What little we do know is that Earth is on the brink of final destruction and the remaining humans that have taken refuge in buildings are rooting for the good guys to save their asses. It’s a two way street, as these buildings provide the power for the mech units – and every time a building takes a hit, so does the mech’s power. What this really represents is to serve as a ‘life bar’ for the player as once this power bar is depleted (or all 3 of your mechs are lost), its game over.

Enter the grid of war!

Gameplay is turn based and takes place on an 8×8 grid battlefield although the overriding feel is often closer to that of a puzzle game, where placement of your units is almost chess like. This is thanks to a quite unique gameplay mechanic, where the Vek’s next actions are available for you to view before they act. This allows for some clever moments when you can, for instance can see a Vek has lined up a shot on a building, but on your turn you nudge them a square to the side, meaning when they activate their gunfire it now hits a mountain, or better still another Vek unit! Movement can thankfully be undone an unlimited number of times allowing you to size up a few different approaches – although you can only undo combat actions once per map, which feels like a fair gameplay choice.

Whilst your main goal as you work through each of the 4 islands, is to rid the Vek from each smaller zone of the island, there are usually secondary subtasks which if completed will earn bonus reputation or increase your power bar. Reputation can be spent after the boss of each island is bested to provide new weapons and abilities, or to replace fallen mech pilots. If you fall to the Vek, then you have the chance to select a pilot to go back Into The Breach once again, along with any perks they have at the time of death. This provides another nice roguelike element to the gameplay

Into The Breach is never going to win any awards for its looks, but the rustic pixel art on show here conveys plenty of character and the sight of the Vek burrowing out of the ground is always a disturbing one. Everything runs at a super smooth pace though with no issues and sound whilst again, nothing particularly special, works in some nice musical pieces during the heat of battle.

The Switch is not lacking in excellent strategy RPGs and you can add this one to the list. It’s bite-sized battles provide the perfect excuse for quick pick up and play sessions and the addictive pursuit of saving countless human lives never gets old. We would have to say this is another ‘must have’ Switch title!

SCORE: 6.5/10

  • RELEASE DATE: July 12th 2019
  • PRICE: $9.99 / £7.99
  • PUBLISHER: Cybernate
  • DEVELOPER: Surprise Attack
  • eShop Link

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