“...turns mech vs. kaiju battles into a game of sci-fi chess”
February 26, 2018 4:10 PM   Subscribe

Into the Breach [YouTube] [Launch Trailer] “Into the Breach is a turn-based strategy game, along the lines of the Advance Wars series, where players control futuristic mechs fighting off an invasion of giant, bug-like alien monsters. It’s basically Pacific Rim crossed with XCOM, and it’s from the creators of the addictive spaceship simulator FTL: Faster Than Light. If any of those words sound appealing to you, you’re going to like Into the Breach a lot. The game takes place in a future on the brink of disaster. Much of humanity has been decimated by the kaiju invasion, with isolated pockets of survivors strewn across four different islands. You control a team of three mechs traveling to different districts across the islands, clearing them of bugs before moving on to the next.” [via: The Verge]

• The Next Game From The Makers Of FTL Is Brilliant [Kotaku]
“Here’s the premise: You, controlling a gang of three time-traveling mech pilots, must defend a cluster of islands from alien invaders. To do so, you embark upon a series of small turn-based battles, on randomly generated 8x8 grids full of aliens and obstacles. Your goals will vary from mission to mission, but your main task is always the same: Protect the buildings. Every time a building is damaged, you’ll take a hit to your power grid, which is essentially your overall health. That number sticks with you from battle to battle, so losing too many buildings in a single mission can leave you vulnerable in the next one. Once your power grid hits zero, you’re dead—you’ll have to start a brand new run, although you can select one pilot (along with his or her bonuses and levels) to go back in time with you for your next run.”
• Into the Breach review - tactical greatness in glorious miniature [Eurogamer]
“Once you take away the mechs and the super-soldiers, is this Chess again? Is it American Football? The easiest answer for Into the Breach - and it's not a complete answer because Into the Breach is not an easy game to get your head around - is that beneath a veneer that invokes the likes of Front Mission and even Advance Wars, this is billiards. By which I mean your shots matter, but victory lies in understanding where the remaining pieces are going to come to rest afterwards. This is doubly true because so much of Into the Breach isn't merely concerned with blasting away at mutant hordes with your guns and missiles and lasers. It's concerned with doing all that while shoving them too. Shoving them into the sea where they drown. Shoving them onto a dangerous tile that is about to drop into the earth or be hit by falling magma or be engulfed with the burning fumes from a rocket launch. Missiles and lasers and guns are great, but you learn to look through the weapons you're given along the course of an adventure and cherish the ones that have drag or knockback powers. Again: it's not how much damage you do in a round, it's what the board looks like once the round is finished.”
• Into the Breach is no less challenging than FTL, but it’s less punishing [Polygon]
“More than anything, Into the Breach is less stingy with its unlocks. I put a lot of time into FTL back when it came out, playing on both PC and iPad. I had a lot of fun, but I was never able to actually beat the game, and I’m not alone there. What frustrated me the most was that I barely unlocked any new content during dozens of hours of play, meaning that I had to beat my head against the same set of problems over and over without being given any new options to consider. Into the Breach has more unlockables overall, and is more generous with how it doles them out over time. Players earn coins by unlocking squad achievements, and those coins are routinely earned by subtle modifications in how you play. Knock a few more monsters into the water, use a newly acquired weapon once or twice, and Subset tosses you a few coins that you can then turn in to open up entirely new sets of mechs. It’s a far more generous system than the one used to unlock new content in FTL, and a welcome modification that is guaranteed to have me coming back for multiple playthroughs.”
• Why It Took Subset Games So Long to Make a Game After 'FTL' [Waypoint]
“ Nobody expected FTL, a hardcore roguelike where players try (and usually fail) to guide a spaceship back to headquarters, to be such a massive success, especially not FTL developer Subset Games. It's been more than four years since FTL was released, but it was only two weeks ago that Subset Games got around to announcing their next game, the mech-and-monsters Into the Breach. Subset Games has kept busy, though. FTL: Advanced Edition, released as a free update in April 2014, brought new mechanics and complexity to FTL, and the game was ported to iPad. And while it might be hard to remember, the final months of FTL's development were funded by a Kickstarter campaign way back in February 2012, not long after Double Fine helped put the service on the map for video game fans. They asked for $10,000, but ended up with $200,542. "Having a successful project has changed a number of things," said Subset Games co-founder and FTL designer Justin Ma, during a recent email interview. "Being able to self-fund means we can take our time and maintain better work-life balance compared to FTL's development. However, it brings new stress, too. We went through a period of a 'sophomoric slump' where we were a bit paralyzed figuring out what game to work on next."”
• How I made Into the Breach's soundtrack [PC Gamer]
“Sometime in the last decade or so, Hollywood decided somber folk music was the official soundtrack of the apocalypse. I'm not entirely sure what kicked that off, but since it's the expected music for that kind of setting, we discarded it from our potential concepts. Of course, deciding what something isn't only gets you part of the way. You still need to figure out what it is. This turned out to be difficult. First I tried a lo-fi electronic ambient sound, with synth drones, white noise, and almost no melodies. This actually made it sound a bit like a horror game. It did kind of fit the feel we were going for, but none of us liked it very much. I then made a few quiet, somber ambient tracks, more melodic, with some cello thrown in for a more human feel. I was operating under the assumption that music for turn-based strategy games should be quiet and unassuming. But none of the team, including me, really liked the new tracks either.”
posted by Fizz (45 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is a laundry list of things I like, yes.
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on February 26, 2018 [12 favorites]


Oh crap. Releases on Steam tomorrow....and I have midterms coming up. Good bye good grades.
posted by astapasta24 at 4:20 PM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


MetaFilter: a laundry list of things I like, yes.
posted by Fizz at 4:22 PM on February 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


In other XCOM-like news Phoenix Point is coming along nicely.
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Subnautica released. Stellaris 2.0 out. HoI 4 Waking the Tiger coming. Surviving Mars coming. EU Rule Britannia coming. Battletech coming. Minecraft Update Aquatic on its way.

And now this. The remainder of my days on this Earth are apparently spoken for.
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:30 PM on February 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


As a big fan of FTL it kills me that the initial release is Windows-only. Hopefully the Mac version isn't too long in coming, but I understand why they made this choice. Justin Ma explained in a thread in r/ftlgame recently that launching FTL on multiple platforms simultaneously was just too much work for their staff of two.

I have a lot of admiration for Subset Games. Five-and-a-half years after FTL launched and they're still patching it: fixing gameplay bugs, tweaking the UI. Not to mention that the Advanced Edition was a free update, despite adding so much to the game.

I got FTL on sale a couple of years after it came out but I want to pay full price for Into the Breach, just as soon as it's on a platform I use!
posted by good in a vacuum at 4:30 PM on February 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


I am very excited for Into the Breach, but even more excited about Phoenix Point.
posted by running order squabble fest at 4:43 PM on February 26, 2018


Yeah I hope somebody will pipe up and say whether the windows version works in playonlinux. Otherwise, I'll be waiting to pick it up.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 4:52 PM on February 26, 2018


Not on the Switch? Sad!
posted by dis_integration at 4:59 PM on February 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


February 27?? But I wanna play it nowwww

As a big fan of FTL it kills me that the initial release is Windows-only

Wait what? Awwwwwwww :(
posted by aubilenon at 5:07 PM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm sure a Switch port is forthcoming. Since Nintendo isn't doing Advance Wars first party games any more, it's kind of a no-brainer for Subset, once they have the manpower available to actually do it (or enough funds from Steam sales to outsource the port job).
posted by tobascodagama at 5:07 PM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


There’s that Mario XCOM thing... pack of a Mobile XCOM 2 has me tempted there.
posted by Artw at 5:22 PM on February 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Don't let the rabbity-things in that Mario game trick you, it's pretty darn challenging later on. (And the rabbity-things are actually pretty well used in it anyway, they're not as obnoxious as you might expect from other places.)
posted by JHarris at 7:27 PM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


LET THEM FIGHT.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:29 PM on February 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I'll third that Mario+Rabbids is an entertaining game if you want turn-based strategy on Switch. I enjoy the trappings of mario, I'm indifferent to the trappings of Rabbids—and who can't enjoy when the one Rabbid randomly pulls out and eats a slice of pizza during the victory dance, something I first remember seeing in my last play session.

(I also tried the demo of Disgaea 5 and it was totally not my thing. Thank goodness I didn't spend money on it)
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 7:37 PM on February 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


There’s that Mario XCOM thing..

whah whah what? oh no....
posted by freebird at 9:38 PM on February 26, 2018


Oh man, this looks great! I might...actually buy a game at launch. Weird.
posted by jcreigh at 10:12 PM on February 26, 2018


I'll third that Mario+Rabbids is an entertaining game if you want turn-based strategy on Switch.

Still crossing my fingers that we'll see XCOM ported over to the Switch. Dare I even hope that XCOM2 might some day end up on that device.
posted by Fizz at 6:05 AM on February 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


One of my friends said he couldn't make a regular meet up that we have tonight. I am suspicious.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:21 AM on February 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


initial release is Windows-only

I have a crappy Windows refurb that I only use for remoting into my work computer. But it looks like it might actually meet this game's tiny system requirements!
posted by paper chromatographologist at 6:38 AM on February 27, 2018


One of my friends said he couldn't make a regular meet up that we have tonight. I am suspicious.

I've definitely cheated on my friends with a video game. When XCOM 2 was released, I cancelled plans to play a computer game and probably made up some shit about being too tired to go out.
posted by Fizz at 6:46 AM on February 27, 2018


My son keeps goading me to play FTL. I have been strong so far.
posted by doctornemo at 8:29 AM on February 27, 2018


It looks like “Into The Breach” fixes my biggest complain about FTL which was that interminable snooze-fest at the beginning of every battle where you couldn't do anything because you were just sat there waiting for your weapons to charge up. This game gets you straight into the action.

Christopher Odd has been putting up his games on YouTube & is apparently having a blast.

(He’s playing it live on Twitch right now as it happens.)
posted by pharm at 9:10 AM on February 27, 2018


Oh, and the game is 40p cheaper on HumbleBundle than on Steam for some reason :)
posted by pharm at 9:12 AM on February 27, 2018


Honestly, it looks like the devs have taken every mechanic that worked in FTL and just honed them into a more perfect whole. Really impressive work.
posted by pharm at 9:25 AM on February 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Honestly, it looks like the devs have taken every mechanic that worked in FTL and just honed them into a more perfect whole.

This Waypoint article references this:
“ And though FTL certainly made Subset Games a lot of money, you wouldn't know it by looking at Into the Breach. The studio didn't hire dozens of employees and decide to make something wildly different from what they've worked on. Into the Breach looks like a natural step forward.”
posted by Fizz at 10:57 AM on February 27, 2018


I got it this morning and I don't know...it's definitely nice to have a game you can step in and out of and doesn't feed into unhealthy habits (I almost had to block surviv.io, which in one month gave me insight into my addictive/compulsive behavior patterns in a way that almost 20 years of smoking hasn't) but it doesn't really grab me. Plus I was saving that $18 in my Steam account for when all the Crusader Kings II expansions get super-cheap and my kid goes to college in 16 years.

Then again, I paid $10 for FTL and certainly got my money's worth, so shut up, me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:12 AM on February 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


"It’s basically Pacific Rim crossed with XCOM, and it’s from the creators of the addictive spaceship simulator FTL: Faster Than Light."

Jesus H.... how could I *not* buy this game?! The new PC I bought arrived yesterday, but sadly my monitors and keyboard are so old I need to wait until the adapters come in from Monoprice in order to set it up! Fortunately the old PC should be able to handle this game without a problem...
posted by Grither at 11:33 AM on February 27, 2018 [4 favorites]


Started it up again, and yeah definitely, shut up, me.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:42 AM on February 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


The Humble DRM-free version works in playonlinux, though I'm only just through the tutorial.
posted by the antecedent of that pronoun at 4:17 AM on February 28, 2018 [3 favorites]


It's probably for the best that there's no Mac version yet, because I'd be all over this.
posted by JiBB at 10:34 AM on February 28, 2018


JiBB: The HumbleBundle exe runs just fine under wine, which has an OSX port :)

(You’ll find wine in ports, or homebrew. Whichever is your particular poison.)
posted by pharm at 2:29 AM on March 1, 2018 [1 favorite]


After about five hours of play, I'm not sure I like it as much as I do FTL.

Every FTL game was tactically interesting but also generated an entire Battlestar Galactica episode's worth of plot. Lieutenant Wanda heroically fought off the mantis intruders to protect the ship's oxygen, dying alongside the last mantis. Seeing her vitals deplete, Captain Moo realized he could no longer sacrifice his crew for his own morals and decided to call a ceasefire and pay off the slavers. Etc. There's not the same narrative complexity in ITB. There are good guys and there are seemingly mindless bad guys. The mech pilots still have personality, but the plot they are in is rather simplistic.

That being said, ITB has a major advantage for me that FTL doesn't: I can put it down after five minutes. Any individual round is so short that I can sneak a few in during the fifteen minutes between when I've packed my lunch and leave for the bus. Generally with FTL, if I didn't finish a playthrough in one sitting, I just restarted because I felt like I lost the thread. What was my plan? Was I going to use primarily teleporter+boarding? Was I experimenting with drone configurations? Who knows. ITB is much more granular so it's great for filling small snippets of time.
posted by tofu_crouton at 6:23 AM on March 1, 2018 [3 favorites]


Well, now I want a Switch port even more.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:06 AM on March 1, 2018 [5 favorites]


If it were a tiny vial in your spice cabinet it would be labeled “Concentrated X-Com” and there would be a warning to use sparingly as it contains habit-forming substances.

Chess is also apt because it feels very puzzle-like in the same way that chess does. It’s also nice because you can pick it up and put it down in 15 minutes and still feel like you actually played the game.

I’m gushing, but it really is good. Can’t wait on get it on a portable device.
posted by Doleful Creature at 5:48 AM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


Also I don’t think it makes sense to compare to it to FTL (which is also a way to say that if you really like FTL it doesn’t mean you will necessarily like ITB as much). They are very different games.

Like tofu_crouton said upthread, FTL generates interesting narratives as a result of its emergent gameplay mechanics (ship damage that affects crew and weapons in different ways, real time battles with action cooldowns, the threat of boarding parties, etc...), but ITB can’t really do that because it’s mechanics are an inversion of FTL’s: strictly turn-based, you know exactly what the enemy will do on their next turn, pilots and equipment are basically the same thing so status effects are less complex, and so on.

Both games share procedural underpinnings, and the visuals are pretty similar (menus and UI elements are very close to FTL), they even have similar “branding” for certain equipment. So maaaybe you can call it a spiritual successor because of these things and because it’s from the same developer...and most of all because it feels really fresh and exciting and a little unexpected in the same way that FTL did.

I also want to say I agree with everyone who says ITB feels more fair. I was skeptical of that but it really does feel more fair, or should I say more “tuned”. Which I think is another reason it can’t be as narratively complex as FTL.
posted by Doleful Creature at 6:06 AM on March 2, 2018 [4 favorites]


I felt pretty bad when the plucky gal and the android gardener died. Damn you, Detritus island! And damn you deployment that always makes me feel like I put things in the wrong places!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:49 AM on March 2, 2018


Deployment is my least favorite part, because that's the only time the game doesn't give you perfect knowledge of what will happen. I place my folks in decent places, and then the bugs walk in the opposite direction.
posted by tofu_crouton at 10:50 AM on March 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have been playing it and enjoying it. It's nice and bite sized. If the X-COM reboot distilled the original X-COM down to its essence, this is double distilled.

Now I just need to figure out a good strategy for dealing with those freaking webs.
posted by jcreigh at 10:59 AM on March 3, 2018


It has no impact on the gameplay, by the way, but I am really, really liking Chris Avellone's script and characters: they're made very recognisable and engaging with very little. The murderous gardener, the robot who understands the parts of his mech (rightly or wrongly) as subordinates, the scientist who just wants some peace and quiet to study the Vek. Likewise the CEOs - they're sketches, but there is far more there than needed to be.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:02 AM on March 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


I have a crappy Windows refurb that I only use for remoting into my work computer. But it looks like it might actually meet this game's tiny system requirements

For reference, I've been playing this on a Surface 3 - i.e. not even a Surface Pro. Intel Atom chip - so it should run on pretty much anything that can run a relatively recent version of Windows.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:05 AM on March 4, 2018 [1 favorite]


So far it seems that every game can be summed up with, "I was doing great! Until I wasn't."
posted by tofu_crouton at 9:45 AM on March 4, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yeah, once I hit that ceiling, I really get splattered all over it.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:11 AM on March 5, 2018 [1 favorite]


What I don't like about it is the feedback mechanism. You are rewarded with better options for doing well, and get nothing for doing badly. So you either end up with a slow train-wreck where you slowly loose pace with the Vek until you're overwhelmed, or else a milk run that turns into a walk in the park.

I feel that a feedback loop that adds a little difficulty if you're doing too well, and eases off a bit if you're struggling would be more enjoyable to play. Or else, at very least, have more static rewards for progress, so that you're not completely sunk, but don't realise it, by the time you've finished the second island.
posted by YAMWAK at 2:23 AM on March 5, 2018 [2 favorites]




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