The Vek, an alien race reminiscent of the bugs from Starship Troopers, has invaded Earth and almost extinguished humanity. The only possibility of salvation has been to develop the necessary technology to destroy them (Mechas!) and travel in time to the beginning of the invasion, in order to change the future of mankind.
Into the breach is a tactical turn-based game. But unlike the usual, our goal is not to defeat the enemy. The Vek arrive by waves from the ground to show the evidence that it is simply impossible to win this war by force. Our goal is to defend the population in the buildings in order the keep the power grid that grants the energy to our robot army.
This dynamic makes the combat is fresh and singular. Also adds a point of extra difficulty: it is necessary to plan the movements well in order to succeed.
Our progress in the game will give us access to new islands. Each one of them is divided into different territories controlled by the Vek, in which a different mission awaits us. The game is over when we lose all the Mechas in combat, but also if our Power Grid is reduced to 0. It is essential, as I remarked, to protect the citizens in each mission since they are the ones that produce energy for our Mechas. When we have unlocked enough territories to threaten the bugs enough, they will launch a massive attack against our headquarters, headed by the leader or final boss of the island.
With the experience awarded in our combats, we can improve the skills of our pilots. Also, we can find pods in some missions that will grant us better technology to enhance our Mechas. Throughout the missions, we get points of influence that we can exchange at the end of each liberated island to unlock new pilots, get new weapons, or improve the attributes of our robots.
At the very start of the game, we can only choose one squad of robots. But there are specific achievements for each squad, like for example killing 3 enemies by pushing them into the water or causing 12 points of damage in the form of electrical storms. This gives us coins with which unlock more squads and pilots.
And if this were not enough, let’s not forget that our pilots are travelers in time. When all is lost, we can save one of them to bring him back in a new game, exp included. The struggle of humanity will continue until one of the temporal lines is saved, in the style of Edge of Tomorrow…
Art speaking the game is gorgeous, with this tiny yet very cute pixel characters that resemble somehow Fire Emblem. Into the breach presents innovation in a field such as tactical turn-based combat, like the need to defend civilians, the importance of pushing enemies in order to throw them into the water or create a chain damage by collisions, or the possibility to restart a complete turn using time travel technology. The different squads present different strategies worth exploring, especially if they are combined with the skills of the pilots.
And yet it is a game that became repetitive to me since the second hour of gameplay. The progression of the characters is very short, only three levels. Apart from new enemies and new terrain events (such as lightning storm instead of waves), the second island feels just like a repetition of the first one. The improvement of the Mechas is also quite limited. Finally, at least as far as I have come, there is no freedom for the player to transform the story. It feels like a guided tour in which we follow a unique path, and for me at least, that doesn’t make the game worth playing for a long time.
Nevertheless, the combats are fun and always are challenging: a slip in the strategy will ruin our entire timeline. Into the breach is good for killing time if you like turn-based combat. But, at least as far as I’m concerned, it fails to engage the player in the long term, as Fire Emblem or Final Fantasy Tactics succeeded by forcing us to discover the story or maintain us hooked by simply wanting to improve our characters one LV. more.