Subset Games released Into The Breach earlier this week to overwhelming critical success. The highly anticipated follow up to indie gem FTL: Faster Than Light maintains Subset’s tactical depth and SciFi charm. Proving that less is more, critics are universally praising Into The Breach’s tight and deep gameplay. While comparisons to FTL are unavoidable, many believe Subset Games have outdone themselves. Game Informer wrote that Into the Breach “is a cleaner and tighter game than FTL, and one that is more fun, strategically complex, and consistently rewarding.” Subset Games have done what they do best with Into The Breach, bringing their own brand of strategy, style and replayability.
The depth of FTL’s strategic gameplay was one of its biggest strengths. Into The Breach carries on this strength with its own turn-based combat. Where most strategy games succeed through randomness, Subset use predictability to challenge the player. Set on an 8×8 grid, Into The Breach distinguishes itself from other games by revealing enemy moves first. As the player can see what the enemy is doing first, they can react appropriately, manipulating enemy moves for their own use. While players can only control three mechs, the assortment of 13 pilots add experimentation and depth to every battle. Through different combinations and upgrades, the variations between each pilot dramatically changes how individuals will play. On top of that, the four maps zones have drastically different weather effects, forcing players to adapt as they improve. IGN best summed it up when they wrote “every turn creates a new complex puzzle”.
The arcade style replayability of each FTL run was the game’s biggest selling point. While players are more likely to reach the end of a three hour playthrough, it isn’t easy. Without the same element of randomness as FTL, the replayability is derived from the gameplay. At the end of every island, player can choose from a bunch of random upgrades, similar to FTL’s shops, and at the end of each playthrough only one pilot can be brought over to the next playthrough. As a result, each battle, despite having similar enemy and building positions, plays out differently. Here in lies Into The Breach’s strength as a small indie game. Despite offering less content than a big budget game, players will do more with the less they have.
Subset Games had a clearly defined style in FTL, which they bring over to Into the Breach. The radiant pixel art beautifully paints this dystopian world war with a simplistic yet vibrant charm. Game Informer praises this style for being not only “attractive” but also key to laying out the tactical gameplay. Into The Breach embraces Subset Games’ SciFi influences. The hordes of bug like aliens and towering mechs are reminiscent of SciFi gems like Pacific Rim, Edge of Tomorrow and Starship Troopers. Each element, weather a building, alien or mech, is creatively unique, showing how much time when into their creation. It is a testament to Subset Games that they have created a second game with the same SciFi style but a completely unique set of elements.
Into The Breach is avaliable for PC and Mac on Steam.