Review: Retro Style “Into the Breach” is More Complicated than Chess

Review: Retro Style

Alex Liu, Copy Editor

Robots, aliens, and pixels? While Into the Breach may have the art style of a game from the 80s or 90s, the quality and polish of this game say otherwise. 

Into the Breach is a turn-based strategy game centered around defending Earth from aliens in giant mechs. While this trope may sound quite familiar in the turn-based strategy genre, this game is remarkably different from other games like the Xcom franchise or Phoenix Point.

First of all, the gameplay that this style of game mandates is always quite intense. Aliens are trying to attack cities, while you, the humans, try to defend them. The battle takes place on a tiled map with buildings and other environmental features. You control three mechs while aliens spawn almost every turn. These aliens (known as the Vek) telegraph their moves to attack either cities or buildings and you have to react. You are outfitted with mechs that each have their own abilities that you can later customize with more damage, capabilities, health, or armor. The pilots that use these mechs also have their own perks. The aliens have many different varieties and abilities as well. For example, some can spit acid while others increase the health of all the other aliens on the field. Now, your main way of dealing with these aliens is, surprisingly, not to kill them. Your mechs are outfitted with many abilities that can move the aliens or stop them from attacking. The first mech you command is called the combat mech and it can punch enemies over 1 tile to push them out of the way of attacking buildings or into other enemies. With many other mechs and features, you’ll just have to try out what suits your playstyle. 

The game’s health system is unique. The buildings that the Vek are attacking are connected to a central power grid, which is like your health bar for your entire playthrough. The buildings also have a chance to resist, meaning it will not get damaged. There’s nothing better than the feeling of seeing green and hearing the resist sound. There are four biomes that you will complete challenges in that will ultimately lead to a boss encounter. After defeating two of these bosses, you can move on to the final mission. The game plays like a rogue-like in some ways. Each time you lose, you can choose one of your pilots to send to another “timeline”. This allows some progression between runs. You also unlock new mechs by completing achievements. I have only completed one successful campaign so far, and I have unlocked a little less than half the mechs. 

The art style is incredibly unique due to its pixelated nature. In a world of high quality and stunning graphics from AAA studios, sometimes it’s nice to see some pixel art. The soundtrack of the game also was a nice touch in the background. It really makes you feel the pressure of your decisions in the game. At times, calming and other times, incredibly stressful, this game really makes you feel like a genius after unraveling yourself out of a tough situation. Its simple package is extremely in-depth once you get into it and it is always fun to theorycraft builds for future runs. This game was truly a blessing to stumble upon in the Epic Games store. I shall give it a 9.6/10 because of its satisfying puzzles it creates and the new experience that you get every time. It is literally a different adventure every time you press start on a campaign. Many people and I myself have compared this game to chess with the difficult decision-making skills it requires.