Into the Breach is a subversive "micro-strategy" game (that's actually surprisingly deep, so says our Steven) from Subset Games, the creator of 2012's FTL: Faster Than Light. It's filled with powerful mechs and hostile aliens and has an awesome soundtrack. It's out tomorrow and now has a launch trailer.
Beyond its 16-bit era aesthetic, Into the Breach's most interesting quirk is letting players see their enemies' moves—and letting them respond to them—before they've had a chance to make them.
On the face of it, this doesn't sound plausible—however here's Steven putting the Mystic Meg of strategy games through its paces:
Earlier this month, Subset's Justin Ma and Matthew Davis gave Steven exclusive access to a prerelease build of Into the Breach. I found the following extract particularly interesting, as FTL's risk/reward balance often pushed my buttons:
It took me dozens of hours to beat FTL on easy difficulty, and even after sinking in dozens more, I’ve never beaten it on normal. According to Davis, that’s pretty standard for most players. But I was almost shocked when I beat Into the Breach on normal on my third attempt.
"The game is slightly more solvable than FTL as once you get a hang of it, you’ll be getting to the end far more often," Davis says. "We intend for people to finish the game and then go back and explore new options and let the randomness drive its longevity. You’re always coming across new combinations that are fun and unique. I'd describe Into the Breach as something more like a board game. It’s not that you beat a board game, but you take it out to play for an afternoon and then you put it away and come back and play it again. It’s not something that you beat and then never touch again."
This departure from the punishing difficulty of FTL is going to be contentious, both developers suspect. There’s no big bad boss battle waiting at the end of the game to completely vaporize all the work you’ve done building your squad. But there’s a greater sense of joy to be found in each battle and the surprising ways they can unfold.
Into the Breach is due tomorrow, February 27.