Into the Breach

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Into the Breach Game Poster Image
Deceptively complex strategy game vs. bugs rewards failure.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Although game focus is combat, players are not punished for failure; rewards replay, persistence.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Characters are more like caricatures of soldiers, who simply follow commands selflessly, bravely.

Ease of Play

Slick tutorial walks you through basic strategies, but it's still a ruthlessly challenging game even on easiest settings. 

Violence

Stylized cartoonish violence of robots against giant insects, alien invaders. There's no blood, gore, just life bars that tick away on enemies that disappear when defeated.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Into the Breach is a downloadable tactics- and turn-based strategy game for Windows. With a pronounced difficulty and deceptive amount of strategy required despite its simple graphics, this game has no graphical violence -- your crew and enemies will simply blip off the screen when destroyed. The focus here is on patient, careful, and logical thinking as you plot your moves against the potential moves of your enemy. There's no objectionable content included.

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What's it about?

In INTO THE BREACH, the remnants of human civilization are threatened by gigantic creatures breeding beneath the earth. You must control powerful mechs from the future to hold off this alien threat. Each attempt to save the world presents a new randomly generated challenge in this turn-based strategy game. As you perfect your strategy and anticipate your enemies' moves, you'll be better able to defend the cities and build the ultimate mechs with unique, more experienced pilots, which will hopefully give you an edge against these beasts. 

Is it any good?

One wouldn't think a generic-looking game such as this one about squashing bugs in outer space would have much depth or staying power, but first impressions can be deceiving. The appeal of Into the Breach is its captivating distillation of strategy to its very core: Each battlefield is a seemingly meager eight-by-eight grid, which doesn't seem like much but actually maintains constant tension and requires constant attention. There's no retreating to regroup -- your three units have to be utilized to their maximum potential every moment, or else you'll pay dearly. Fortunately, a game this rigid also demonstrates a surprising amount of sympathy. Failure isn't an option, so when you're defeated, you get to send the pilot of your choice (you're best off with the most leveled-up one) back through time to save the world in another timeline. In this way, you're able to stack power-ups, buffs, and other goodies to help turn the tide more in your favor next time. You don't exactly want to set out to fail, but it winds up becoming a core part of the longer game you'll play if, say, you are lucky enough to get a pilot able to grant them and their allies extra mobility and defense per turn. 

The game world is divided into four islands, each with about a half-dozen battlefields and their own unique win states. Usually, you have to squash all the alien bugs, but occasionally there will be extra parameters for victory: don't kill certain enemies, protect a certain building, or use the terraformer to turn the field into a desert. That middle win state is actually an implied condition for every location, because if the island you're on cumulatively loses power from each battle (which takes a few minutes), then it's game over and you have to send one of your pilots back, because this timeline is overrun with alien bugs. The more you play (and lose), the further you'll eventually be able to get. It's the odd strategy game where you're looking forward to failing, and win or lose is actually a blast to experience. This one's a hearty recommendation, so long as you have the patience to learn and are OK with losing to win.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about patient, calculated thinking. Does it come naturally to you or do you struggle with it? Can playing a video game help one way or another? 

  • Why are sci-fi and space settings so popular in movies, TV, and games? What elements do you notice that stories like Into the Breach don't often or don't typically explore, but that you'd be interested in learning more about?

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For kids who love strategy

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