Mech Chess

I caved and bought Into the Breach. I know that it will someday come to a portable device (Switch or iOS etc.) but I just couldn’t wait. And at less than £/$15, I have no problem buying it again in the future…because it’s rad.

This is a turn based strategy game, not too dissimilar to chess – you have pieces under your control with set moves on a tiled board, and you take turns to out-wit your opponent. However, this is still a video game… Instead of royalty and pawns, you have mechs. Instead of other royalty and pawns, you fight giant insectoid monsters.

It’s much faster than chess, though, as you only control 3 mechs at a time and encounters can take as little as 10 minutes (hence why it’s perfect for a mobile device!). And a full run/campaign can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours depending on the choices you make. In between each encounter, you have a choice of where to deploy your mechs next, which determines how the run will unfold. It’s an addictive loop.

The story is thin, but it’s very much just a vehicle for the style of the game. The true enjoyment comes from head-scratching problem solving as you try to balance wiping out the enemy monsters whilst taking minimal casualties.

ITB_ss_2

Due to the minimalist style, this game could have launched in the early 90’s without anyone batting an eye, but it still feels incredibly current today. The gameplay is refined and expertly balanced so you never feel cheated, or setup for failure. There are no randomly decided numbers or hit-percentages like an XCOM game. You have the tools for success, so failure is always your fault.

There is something else that’s keeping me intrigued, though. If you read my last post about gaming induced anxiety, you’d be up to speed on my reluctance to dive into large games with complex narratives, leading me to lean on games like PUBG and FIFA that offer me a beginning, middle and end within one play session. Into the Breach may stretch to two or three, but the end is always in sight. It’s like taking on a new TV show, knowing you’re only one or two seasons behind – it’s manageable, unlike a Game of Thrones-like mammoth of a show.

Anyways, another week, another post, another game. I do recommend you check this one out, even if it is only on PC right now. It’s great value and will run on any computer you can get your hands on, so there’s no excuse. Into the Breach is just one of those special games that makes you feel smart. Real smart.

Best wishes y’all.

Sean

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