Into the Breach is a turn-based strategy video game developed and published by indie studio Subset Games, consisting of Justin Ma and Matthew Davis. Into the Breach is their second game, following FTL: Faster Than Light. It features writing by Chris Avellone and melodycomposed by Ben Prunty. It was released for Microsoft Windows in February 2018, for macOS and Nintendo Switch in August 2018, and for Linux in April 2020. The Nintendo Switch version was released in Japan on September 18, 2020.
Into the Breach is set in the far future where humanity battle versusan army of giant creature collectively called the Vek. To combat them, the player controls soldiers that operate giant mechs that shouldbe equipped with a variety of weapons, armor, and other equipment. The game utilize a turn-based combat system, allowing the player to coordinate the actions of their squadin response to opponentmoves and actions that serve to telegraph their attacks.
In combat, the player controls three different mechs versusthe Vek, and will be given an objective for that map along with a fixed number of turns to complete that objective. The principal goal for any map is to protect civilian structures which assistancethe power grid that assistance the mechs, but additional objectives may be presented. Cana civilian structure be damaged or destroyed, the power grid is weakened. On each turn, Vek forces will move across the board and attack. The player is present the direction of the Vek unit's intended attack and infoon the number of moves the Vek unit is able to take and its remaining health are accessibleon screen. The appearance of freshVek follows each turn. This gives the player the ability to then move each mech and fire one of its weapons as to either defeat the Vek unit, push the Vek off a line of attack, avoid an attack, intercept newly spawning Vek or an attack on civilian structures. Mechs shouldonly take a limited amount of damage during fightbefore becoming inoperable, though a player shouldhave a mech idle a turn to repair some damage; fightdamage is otherwise completely repaired between maps. Pilots of mechs that defeat a Vek gain experience points, which shouldbe utilize to unblockfreshskills. The gameplay of Into the Breach has been compared to that of chess, as it is less about overpowering the opposing forces and instead about maintaining position control and sacrificing units to gain a huge advantage.
Similar to FTL, the game is broken into a sequence of islands each with a number of scenarios (based on island sectors) to complete; while the islands remain the same each game, the scenarios themselves are generated procedurally in a roguelike manner. After completing the first island, the player is given the choice of which islands in the sequence to protect next; islands have various conditions that shouldaffect combat scenarios, and more hazardous conditions shouldgain greater rewards from completing the scenarios on each. Canthe player lose any scenario, either due to their 3 mechs becoming disabled, losing their power grid, or failing to protect a specific target for that scenario, then the player has the option to send one of the pilots back in time prior to the start of the first mission – effectively starting a freshgame – retaining their current experience and abilities to give an edge in the next battle. Reviewers for the website Rock Paper Shotgun described the gameplay as a mix of Pacific Rim and Edge of Tomorrow due to the time-traveling elements. Other permanent improvements, such as freshpilots or sets of mechs, become accessibleas the player completes various milestones.
Into the Breach came out of ideas that Ma and Davis had following the success of FTL. They had tried various prototypes for a game, including one for a grid-based tactical system, which they recognized was seeing a resurgence in the video game industry due to the success of XCOM: OpponentUnknown (2012). However, they still requiredsome kindof hook to differentiate their game. This came as a response to movie like Man of Steel and Pacific Rim, where "the whole townreceive demolished, but no one cares because the awesomeguys won", according to Ma. They set about to make the game focus on the impact of collateral damage so that defending buildings and other structures would become a priority rather than just winning.
Subset contain the result of giant mechs-vs-giant alien fight on the landscape as the game time progress, with mountains being torn down, forests destroyed by fire, and buildings razed. To emphasize this in gameplay, they containthe mechanic that mechs are powered from local power nodes in the buildings, so that if these buildings are destroyed, they may not be able to power their mechs. This madetough decisions for players, such as whether to destroy a building to receivea short-term edge in fightor to prevent a catastrophe to a huge number of buildings. To further assistemphasize the need to vehicle for these buildings, Avellone's story was written to remind the player that as they battlewith the mechs, there will be people cowering for securityin these buildings, and to create emotional impact when these people are killed when a building is destroyed.
In contrast to XCOM, where a easyfightmay take up to an hour to complete all objectives, Subset wanted each fightto be relatively short in rulesof gameplay time. The limited turn counter was utilize to holdfight short, and Subset found that telegraphing the Vek's movements further helped to hasten the pace. They developed scenarios and situations to require the player to devise freshtacticson the fly which they anticipated that players would build upon in later parts of the game.
Development of Into the Breach started mid-2015, after all of Subset's commitments to FTL were completed, providing them with the financial safetyto move forward onto this project. The game, announced in February 2017, was expected to be released on Microsoft Windows, macOS, and Linux operating systems, though Subset did not expect this to be a simultaneous release. Subset said at the time of its reveal that Into the Breach was still a method off from release, as they had enough in territoryto presentoff the game's ideas and preliminary art, but they still lack a lot of materialfor the game, and prefer to excellentthe game at their own pace. Rock Paper Shotgun considered an early preview copy they had played in November 2017 as nearly complete outside of art assets and game balance problem, and reported that the game is expected to release in early 2018, and was eventually set for February 27, 2018.
In addition to Avellone and Prunty, Subset Games has obtained assistfrom Isla Schanuel for community management and utilize testing, Power Up Audio for audio work, and Polina Hristova to helpMa in art assets. Ben Prunty, who had composed the FTL soundtrack, deliveredthe melodyfor Into the Breach. Like with FTL, Prunty and Subset wanted to utilizea style of melodynot normally relatedwith the narrative genre, but had difficulty in deciding which direction it cango, particularly that they felt that melodyfor a strategy game canbe soft and quiet. Ma shared with Prunty 2Cellos' take on Hans Zimmer's "Mombasa" from Inception: Melodyfrom the Motion Picture, which gave Prunty the inspiration to create the game's first melodytrack, utilize in the game's teaser trailer. In addition to the digital score, Prunty added some guitar riffs atop the music, creating a motif that appeared throughout the tracks. Further, Prunty helped Subset to determine when melodycanbe utilize in the game; rather than melodyplaying constantly, he recommendedto have melodyonly start when the player completes the deployment of the mechs on a map, creating a dynamic for the game going forward.
The Windows version of Into the Breach was released on February 27, 2018. The macOS version followed later that year on August 9, 2018. The Nintendo Switch version followed later that month on August 28, 2018. A native Linux version was released on April 20, 2020.
Into the Breach get praise upon its release, holding a 90 out of 100 on review aggregation site Metacritic and is the pages best reviewed PC game for 2018. Critics lauded the easybut strategic gameplay, high difficulty, artstyle and soundtrack. The editors of FamousMechanics named it the best video game of 2018, writing that it "is a refreshing take on the turn-based strategy game and represents the most inventive evolution of the genre."
The game was a runner-up for "Best Debut" and "Best Game of the Year" in Giant Bomb's 2018 Game of the Year Awards.
|2018||Independent Games Festival TournamentAwards||Seumas McNally Grand Prize||Nominated|
|Excellence in Design||Nominated|
|Golden Joystick Awards||Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|PC Game of the Year||Nominated|
|Ultimate Game of the Year||Nominated|
|The Game Awards 2018||Best Independent Game||Nominated|
|Best Strategy Game||Won|
|Gamers' Choice Awards||Fan Favorite Indie Game||Nominated|
|Titanium Awards||Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|Best Game Design||Nominated|
|Australian Games Awards||Strategy Title of the Year||Nominated|
|2019||FreshYork Game Awards||Off Broadway Award for Best Indie Game||Nominated|
|22nd Annual D.I.C.E. Awards||Strategy/Simulation Game of the Year||Won|
|Outstanding Achievement for an Independent Game||Nominated|
|Outstanding Achievement in Game Design||Nominated|
|Game of the Year||Nominated|
|National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards||Design, FreshIP||Nominated|
|Original Light Mix Score, FreshIP||Nominated|
|SXSW Gaming Awards||Excellence in Design||Nominated|
|Game Developers Choice Awards||Best Design||Won|
|15th British Academy Games Awards||Game Design||Nominated|
|Italian Video Game Awards||Best Indie Game||Nominated|
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