Monday, September 3

Review: Into the Breach [Nintendo Switch eShop]

After going through the somewhat delicious shell shock of Subset Games original title, Faster Than Light (FTL), on PC I was intrigued to see what they’d come up with next. Sticking with tight and challenging tactical strategy, just this time letting you breathe by going turn-based, Into the Breach is another accomplished title from them that has now arrived on Switch. Commanding a team of mechs sent from the future you’ll be trying to defend humanity from extinction at the hands of the Vek, but success will be hard-won.

This is definitely a game where you’d be very wise to hit the Tutorial first to get a feel for how the game works. Of course the basics don’t really help you understand how to be effective so you’ll likely want to take the difficulty down to Easy, get a feel for how to be successful, and accumulate some coins that will help you be a little better prepared for your next jump back. As you progress you’ll gain the opportunity to work with different pre-set squads which each have their own style of play, providing an excuse to continue to return and even to figure out what composition best suits your sense of style.

Combat is absolutely the star, set on an 8 x 8 grid beset by a variety of alien creatures, each with different styles of movement, special attacks, and sometimes weaknesses. You’ll want to focus on protecting power stations from their strikes as once enough are knocked out it will be game over but some maps will provide the means to bring a generator back online so sometimes a wise sacrifice can be your best course of action. As you progress you’ll begin to better understand the chess-like metagame of maneuvering enemies into your attacks, into environmental hazards, or sometimes even hitting each other. This is because aside from dealing direct damage you have units that are able to bump enemies over a space here or there. Chaining damage on multiple enemies in a line is also possible with these bumps so you’ll want to be sure to maximize your opportunities whenever they present yourself. Anticipating and being in position to capitalize are essential to your success.

If you’re not a major tactical strategy fan you’ll probably feel a bit overwhelmed by the challenge Into the Breach poses, but if this is your wheelhouse it should absolutely satisfy. While less elaborate than the likes of Kingdom Battle the pacing and style are also probably better suited to play on the go or enjoyment in quick bursts since most maps are about surviving a set number of turns rather than having to eliminate all threats. While it isn’t likely appropriate for a mainstream audience with its steep learning curve fans of strategy games will likely enjoy this addition to the Switch library.

Score: 8.5

  • Challenging tactical gameplay
  • Randomly-generated maps and scenarios keep the challenge fresh
  • Progression through unlocking new squads and opportunities keeps gameplay evolving and adds greatly to replayability

  • Likely a steep learning curve for people less experienced with tactical strategy games
  • Though there’s a provision for endless scenarios ultimately the gameplay remains essentially the same