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Video Game / Into the Breach

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We'll hold this timeline, no matter what.

"Open a breach. Time to go back and try again."
Ralph Karlsson

Into the Breach is a turn-based tactics game of mechs versus giant monsters from Subset Games, the creators of FTL: Faster Than Light. It was released on Steam in February 27, 2018.

It is set 20 Minutes into the Future, where the world has been ravaged by catastrophic rises in the sea level. Things go From Bad to Worse when an army of titanic bugs known as the Vek suddenly invade the earth. With little hope of stopping the invasion, a group of ace mech pilots are sent into the past in order to stop the Vek invasion when it first began, before things became entirely hopeless. Failure is not an option. Every time the current timeline's fate is decided, at least one of your pilots will escape into another timeline to try again.

In 2022, a surprise announcement for Into the Breach: Advanced Edition was dropped, a free update adding 5 new squads, 4 pilots, and dozens of new equipment and enemies. It was released on July 19th, 2022.


Into the Breach provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: Prior to Advanced Edition, the final mech squad was locked behind completing all 55 achievements.
  • Achievement System: There are global achievements and squad-specific ones. Each achievement earns a coin which is used to unlock new squads.
  • After-Combat Recovery: All damage on your Mechs is healed after every battle, but damage to the power grid persists.
  • Ambiguous Situation: The origins of the Vek are never revealed, leaving it ambiguous as to whether they're mutated Earth insects, Insectoid Aliens, Ultraterrestrials, or something else.
  • Ammo-Using Melee Weapon: The Prime-class weapons Titanite Blade, Mercury Fist, and Fissure Fist all do significant damage but can only be used once per battle by default. Upgrades and certain pilot skills can allow you to use them more times.
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  • And the Adventure Continues: The entire game is fought across an infinite number of timelines. When the game ends, win or lose, the heroes go their separate ways to try and save other timelines, allowing you to carry one pilot over to the next timeline.
  • After the End: The world has already been largely destroyed by rising sea levels, but an invasion of building-sized alien insects threatens to destroy everything else that's left. At the beginning of a new profile, the invasion has already happened, prompting the only survivor to go back in time to try again. The entire game is about hopping between various timelines to try and defeat the Vek invasion.
  • All There in the Manual: There’s a tremendous amount of backstory hidden in the game files that cover the lives of each character before the Vek arrived, as well as the reasons they chose to become pilots in the first place. During the span of the game, however, only a small amount of this information is divulged in dialogue. This is most prominent with the secret pilots, all of whom have extensive backgrounds that are completely obscured by the alien languages each of them speak.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The last mission on an island is always to defend against an assault on the corporate HQ.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • If all your mechs are disabled in battle, the mission immediately ends after the rest of the turn plays out. All objectives are automatically failed, but without any additional power loss, giving you a chance to recover.
    • The grid pylons in the final area of the game are uninhabited and do not count against a perfect run if destroyed. This is a good thing since it's also the toughest level in the game.
    • While both Spiders' and Alpha Spiders' eggs web all units around the point of landing, the Spider Leader's eggs do not. A good thing too, as it spawns 2-3 eggs per turn.
    • The insta-kill tentacles in the final mission will not spawn on a tile the Renfield Bomb is sitting on.
    • The challenge run objectives only require surviving three islands, meaning players don't have to go the 4th island where the Vek are almost always their Alpha versions.
    • In a mission with a Time Pod landing, the player is warned that they should save it as soon as possible before the Vek get to it, but despite that, the Vek will never intentionally target it or move into the pod's space. It can only be destroyed by a Vek multi-tile attack inadvertently hitting it, the player knocking an enemy into the tile, or getting it hit by a weapon.
  • Anyone Can Die: If a mech loses all its health, it is disabled and cannot be used until the next battle. The pilot, on the other hand, will die if you don't have the Medical Supplies passive ability or, if you're playing with Advanced Edition, the Invulnerable pilot skill.
  • Arbitrary Mission Restriction: All battlefields have optional objectives to gain reputation, reactor cores, and grid power. Completing every optional objective you can on an island earns you an extra reward after you've driven off the last attack. You can, of course, ignore any objectives that are too difficult.
  • Armored Coffins: Unless you have a skill or passive that prevents it, if a mech loses all its health, the pilot will be killed.
  • Artificial Stupidity: The AI is actually quite good, but one weak area is its target prioritization. It tends to randomly select between any viable target, those being a civilian building, a mech, or a frozen ally. This results in buildings getting immobilized, mechs being targeted by precision attacks they can just step away from, or frozen Vek being freed on the final turn. Sometimes, you'll even get two Fireflies targeting the same mech from opposite directions, meaning that they'll shoot each other when your mech casually strolls out of the way. This is likely intentional, as Spiteful A.I. would increase the difficulty substantially, and it gives the impression of the Vek really being mindless beasts that only know how to Attack! Attack! Attack!. Some of the squads (particularly Steel Judoka) are designed from the ground up to take advantage of this.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game:
    • Most abilities let you push enemies around and make them hit each other, or push them on top of tiles and block more Vek from spawning.
    • An Alpha Beetle has a dash attack that damages its target for 3 HP and pushes it away. When fully upgraded, the Rift Walkers' Combat Mech's Titan Fist weapon becomes a dash attack that damages its target for 4 HP and pushes it away.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The civilians cheer hard for you once they see your mechs drop in from the sky. They've seen this before and they know much butt-kicking will ensue.
  • Big Red Button: The Self-Destruct weapon is represented with a red button with yellow and black hazard stripes around it.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Victory means the survival of humanity in one timeline, but the Time Travelers have no time to enjoy their success, immediately traveling to another one of the countless timelines in peril.
  • Boring, but Practical: Upgrading a mech's starting weapons often works just as well if not better than getting newer ones, as they are designed to synergize well with each other which gives them an advantage over a new weapon that might seem stronger at first glance.
  • Bond One-Liner: Pilots will sometimes make snappy comments on Vek deaths.
    Silica: (Vek killed by being knocked into water) Vek now conducting unauthorized diving operations.
  • Bug War: Humanity is locked into a war against the bug-like Vek.
  • But Now I Must Go: In order to escape the destruction of the Vek hive, your pilots are forced to jump to another timeline.
  • The Cameo: You can recruit a Mantis, a Zoltan, and a Rockman from FTL: Faster Than Light as pilots, but you have to find them first.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: After winning or losing against the Vek, you can only take one pilot to the next timeline.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In the Tidal Waves mission briefing, Dewey will mention that a volcanic island offshore is causing the flooding. That volcanic island is the Vek hive.
    • On R.S.T., one of the missions you can take on has you defending a couple of prototype "Renfield Bombs" from the Vek. You use the finished product in the final battle to destroy the Vek once and for all.
  • Critical Existence Failure:
    • All units will function at full capacity until they reach 0 HP.
    • Your Mechs will only be impacted when grid power fully runs out, disabling them.
  • Damage Discrimination: Everything damages everything initially, which is very useful when redirecting the Vek to attack each other. However, you can unlock limited Friendly Fireproof features for some of your own weapons, usually so that some cannot harm civilian buildings.
  • Deadly Dodging: Enemy attacks are telegraphed before the start of the player's turn, and are executed afterwards, meaning that player units can often move out of the way of an attack and make it hit another enemy.
  • Deflector Shields: Certain weapons allow you to deploy these to protect buildings and mechs... or Vek, if you're not careful. They'll take exactly one hit before dissipating, and will also make the shielded unit/building immune to status effects.
  • Distant Reaction Shot: If you clear the Volcanic Hive, you'll see a bright light from the Renfield bomb destroying the Vek from space.
  • Drone Deployer: There are a series of weapons that deploy smaller tanks that can apply status effects, push enemies, or give shields to allies.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: You can play the islands in any order, and they get progressively more difficult as you go. This only changes which Vek you encounter, though, as the complex weather effects of the islands are still present regardless of what order they're played in.
  • Early Game Hell: The Secret Squad have one of the toughest starts of any squad, having only one Mech at 3 health rather than two, no weapons that deal more than one damage or directly damage more than one target, and the inability to use any pilots you carried over from a previous timeline.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: It takes abuse of time travel, sacrifice of countless civilians, and sheer determination, but eventually you will save a few timelines.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Playing on Easy cuts your score in half.
  • Emergency Temporal Shift: When the islands run out of power and are overrun, your pilots escape the Vek by opening a breach and going back in time. This is also done when winning the game after successfully defending the Renfield Bomb. There's not enough time to run away from the explosion.
  • Energy Weapon: The Laser Mech comes equipped with the map-crossing Burst Beam by default, dealing a large amount of damage at close-range that drops off.
  • Escort Mission:
    • All islands save Pinnacle have a mission where you must protect a train from being destroyed by the Vek as it moves across the map.
    • Pinnacle instead has several possible missions that involve protecting robots (some of which have gone rogue and are actively causing havoc while you do so).
    • An odd case with the Volatile Vek, which is still hostile, but if it's killed will render an entire area uninhabitable. Fortunately, it has a robust 4 HP and only deals 1 point of damage. Unfortunately, it can be a nuisance by webbing up your mechs.
  • Fantastic Nuke: The Renfield bomb uses the "breach" technology your pilots use to time travel in order to create a massive explosion.
  • Featureless Protagonist: The player takes on the role of the ill-defined "commander" the pilots take their orders from, but by design will come to identify more with the pilots your squad picks up.
  • Fractional Winning Condition: Once you complete two out of four islands, you're free to take on the final mission, with said mission getting harder the more islands you save.
  • Friendly Fireproof: Averted hard. Your fellow mechs and buildings are not safe from your weaponry, but on the plus side, neither are the Vek from each other. Pushing a Vek into another's attack range is a viable strategy, and sometimes it's necessary to hit your own teammates for optimal play. Some weapons come with Friendly Fireproof upgrades, however.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Your runs are justified as being the various timelines the Time Travelers go through. Carrying over a pilot into the next run and acquiring new pilots during them are justified by being the result of them jumping into a new timeline.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Frozen Vek don't count as being killed. However, this means that having only frozen Vek on the map will trigger Vek fleeing lines on a victory, despite them being unable to flee.
  • Geo Effects: Plenty. You can shoot dams to create rivers, desert maps contain sand tiles that can generate smoke which hampers your mechs, and various terrain events like sinkholes and volcanic activity will threaten both your Mechs and the Vek.
  • Genre Deconstruction: To Mecha and Kaiju, especially on collateral damage. The main objective of the game involves trying to avoid damage to buildings (residential blocks and power plants), not only out of a sense of morality, but also to make sure to protect the power grid infrastructure that runs your Mechs.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Throughout most of Pinnacle Robotics, Zenith will ask you to defend the rogue robots and disable them non-lethally. However, if the island's boss fight is against the Bot Leader, she will ask you to destroy it, same as any other boss.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: If the Knockback of an attack sends one unit crashing into another, both of those units will take a point of damage.
  • Groundhog Peggy Sue: The pilots are stuck in a time loop as they keep jumping to different timelines to thwart the Vek invasion, with the only feasible end in sight being their deaths.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Some missions have you commanding additional units along with your squad, such as a pair of tanks, a terraformer, an ice tank, or an A.C.I.D. launcher.
  • Hard Mode Perks: The Unfair difficulty in Advanced Edition is, well, unfair, but all grid restoration is doubled, allowing you to afford a few civilian casualties.
  • Heal Thyself:
    • All Mechs are able to spend a turn regenerating 1 HP, which also removes any debuffs. The one exception is if a mech is piloted by Secret Character Kazaaakpleth, who replaces their repair skill with a melee attack instead.
    • Should the Bot Leader take damage, it will forgo attacking for a turn to set up a shield on itself, healing to full after the damage phase ends.
  • Hero Insurance: The gameplay intentionally averts this, as almost the entire goal of the game is to prevent the destruction of various buildings. You often get rewarded for protecting specific buildings, and allowing too many buildings to get destroyed will lose you the game. You don't even have to kill any of the Vek to win a battle, just last long enough and prevent them from destroying buildings, meaning it's often worthwhile to let your Mechs soak up hits to keep the buildings from being damaged.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The Psionic Receiver lets your Mechs use the buffs of the Psions, or applies their debuffs to the Vek.
  • Hold the Line: Your primary objective in battles is to survive enough turns and not lose so much grid power that you need to abandon the current timeline. Everything else, including killing Vek, is optional (although killing Vek is a common bonus objective).
  • Hopeless War: The entire war with Vek had been futile to the point that the pilots had been sent to other timelines after their original (or, in some cases, up to several timelines due to repeated failures) one had failed.
  • Instructive Level Design: The lack of civilian death when power pylons are destroyed act as a sign to the player that their objective is more important than protecting the grid, since there's nothing left to save power for.
  • In the Future, Humans Will Be One Race: Implied. Several of the Time Travelers are ethnically ambiguous, and while the randomized generic pilots' faces are hidden behind their helmets, the latter often have Multiethnic Names, suggesting that humanity's remnants have become culturally blended.
  • Isometric Projection: Each of the battlefields are represented by a board of tiles seen from a raised, diagonal position.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Losing the game immediately makes a massive number of Vek spawn from the ground, followed by a Corporate CEO or pilot realizing that the end of the world is imminent and that there's nothing more that can be done, and your surviving pilots (if any) fleeing the mechs while lamenting over their loss. And since the time travel rules of this universe work on many multiple timelines, that one is completely done for. Hope that you don't fail next time!
  • Kill Steal: Downplayed. While only the killing blow matters for which pilot gets the experience, enemies killed by environmental effects, friendly fire or NPC allies divide the experience evenly across your pilots, meaning you aren't penalised for taking advantage of them instead of killing enemies yourself.
  • Language Barrier: The secret characters, being aliens, each speak a different language. Other pilots will comment on this, mostly in disbelief, if you send one of them back in time after completing a run. The Secret Squad, meanwhile, don't speak at all, since mech hybrids or no, they're still Vek.
  • Last Lousy Point: You can get 69/70 of the achievement coins on lower difficulties, but getting the last one requires a victory on Hard.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Volcanic Hive is an island with an active volcano and deadly lava tiles.
  • Limited Loadout: Each mech can only hold one pilot and equip two weapons or passives, and their effectiveness is further limited by the mech's reactor power, which caps out at 11 cores.
  • Macrogame:
    • Once a run concludes in success or failure, you can pick one pilot among the survivors to follow into their next timeline.
    • Completing certain objectives during a run will unlock achievements, which give you coins to spend on new squads.
  • Meaningful Name: R.S.T.'s Renfield Bomb chews up bugs like nothing else.
  • A Mech by Any Other Name: A rare inversion: All of your mechs are called mechs, even the ones that are clearly tanks or jets.
  • Mech vs. Beast: Humanity is using mechs to fight the titanic insect-like Vek.
  • Multiethnic Name: Many of the randomly generated generic pilots use names from a wide variety of cultures, to represent how cramped and intermingled humanity has gotten.
  • Natural Disaster Cascade: Not only is the world flooded, but the surviving islands have a variety of extreme weather events happening, such as flash floods on Archive, cryo-nanites freezing whole cities on Pinnacle, and due to a terraforming mishap, whole sections of R.S.T. crumbling into vast chasms.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Fire deals no damage to grid buildings. This means that a battle can leave an entire region ablaze with no consequences.
  • No-Harm Requirement: Some missions have an objective where you must keep a glowing yellow Volatile Scorpion Vek from dying, all while it continues to attack buildings and web mechs.
  • No-Sell:
    • Friendly buildings have a very low chance of resisting damage, but collecting power over the limit and certain pilot abilities increase this resistance. It's very difficult to get it beyond about 30% though (and has an absolute maxiumum of of 49%), so it can't be relied on.
    • Shields will negate any incoming damage before shutting down, as well as making the user immune to status effects.
    • The Stabilizers passive allows mechs to completely ignore the damage from blocking surfacing Vek.
    • The Armored quality reduces all weapon damage by 1, which is enough to entirely prevent the damage of most basic Vek and many starting weapons. The Hook Mech and Judo Mech start with armor, as does any mech piloted by Abe Isamu.
    • The Thick Skin pilot skill introduced in Advanced Edition renders the pilot's mech immune to fire and A.C.I.D.
  • Nuclear Option: The Volcanic Hive's second phase has you protecting a Renfield Bomb as it primes. If you succeed, the bomb will obliterate the Vek in one fell swoop.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Any form of healing will restore a disabled mech and dead pilot back to life as long as the mission doesn't end first. A mech equipped with Viscera Nanomachines can explosively self-destruct and be none the worse for wear thanks to the regeneration.
  • Protection Mission:
    • The game is a series of Protection Missions, as one of your primary goals is to make sure your grid power stays intact by defending buildings.
    • Many missions have optional objectives tasking you with defending certain buildings or units, some of which are hostile.
  • Ramming Always Works: Zenith Guard's Charge Mech starts with a signature set of Ramming Engines, which allows it to charge up to the full length of the map, damage and push the target. Vek beetles, meanwhile, don't do as much damage (except for the beetle leader), but their ramming attack also doesn't hurt them.
  • Reset Button: You can reset an entire turn once per battle as long as it's still your turn, letting you undo any bad decisions without consequence. Isaac Jones' pilot ability gives you an extra chance to reset as well.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Breaking open glowing mountains and ice tiles makes them drop beacons, which can be stepped onto to call in the secret pilots.
  • Robot War: Zig-Zagged. Pinnacle Robotics missions have you fighting both Vek and berserk A.I. weapons. However, it's implied that the island is mostly inhabited by non-hostile A.I., with some robots even fighting on your side in a limited capacity.
  • Rocket Punch: The Rocket Fist, when upgraded, can be fired like a projectile.
  • Save Both Worlds: When you win a game, all surviving mech pilots will open a breach and head to other timelines to save, with the dialogue implying each one is heading to a different timeline, with the implication that this cycle will keep going until the pilots finally die.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: You can invoke this yourself. If a playthrough is going south, you can grab one of your pilots and abandon the current timeline to start over again.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: Push one Vek in front of another's attack and it'll take the brunt of it. Similarly, you can use them to block incoming reinforcements, and they'll take damage in the process. The Steel Judoka squad, as the name would imply, specialize in this, with weapons heavily focused on repositioning and a passive ability that doubles the damage Vek do to each other.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Preventing the Vek from destroying the world is the main goal of the game.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Of a sort. No matter how many times you defeat the Vek, pilots will keep jumping between timelines to fight them endlessly until they die, but even then you can find a duplicate of them from another timeline fighting the same endless war in the next run.
  • Shifting Sand Land: R.S.T. Corporation's island is a massive desert. Some of its missions include defending terraformers that convert grassland to desert and fighting in areas where the land is eroding.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Single-Use Shield: Both energy shields and freezing work this way - one hit, regardless of how much damage it would do, will harmlessly dissipate the shield/shatter the ice and free the unit within, respectively.
  • Skill Scores and Perks: Reactor cores serve as perk points, being required to activate mech weapons and their upgrades. They're part of the game's loot system, and can be found in time pods, chosen as rewards for completing all optional objectives on an island, or purchased using Reputation after saving an island.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Pinnacle Robotics' island is a frozen place, complete with frozen tiles that break if they're damaged enough.
  • Status Effects: Burn does damage every turn; ice prevents a unit from moving or attacking, but will also nullify one hit, shattering in the process; and A.C.I.D. doubles all damage they take directly from mech weapons or Vek attacks.
  • Suicide Attack: The Self Destruct weapon instantly disables the mech using it, as well as instantly gibbing any nearby Vek.
  • Technicolor Toxin: A.C.I.D. fits the bill as far as being "dangerous green liquid". Interestingly, it doesn't inherently do any damage by itself — it just makes anything that coated with it extra vulnerable to damage, since it negates armor and causes all weapon hits to do double damage.
  • Time Rewind Mechanic: You are able to travel back to the start of a turn once per mission, letting you correct any mistakes you may have made. Unfortunately, you can only travel back to the start of the current turn — once you've hit "End Turn", it's too late to fix anything.
  • Time Travel: The Time Travelers are constantly jumping to new timelines, trying to save each one.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Volcanic Hive is the final level of a run, containing lava hazards, a second, underground phase, unique enemies, and tentacle abominations.
  • Unlockable Content: Completing achievements gives you coins, which you can spend to unlock new squads. Unlocking every squad reveals the Secret Squad, which requires you to complete 65 out of 70 achievements to buy.
  • Variable Mix: The first minute of Open a Breach is used for the main menu, and the second minute is used when selecting a mech squad. Transitioning between the two screens will add or remove instruments without interrupting the musical flow.
  • Waist-Deep Ocean: Water will only reach up to the knees of Mechs and Leader Vek, despite being enough to drown regular Vek (which are visually the same size as the leaders), and the side profile of the water being a complete wall of water without any ocean floor visible.
  • Wave-Motion Gun: Sufficiently upgraded Prime beams (Burst Beam, Prism Beam, Refractor Laser) eventually become this, covering the full length of the map and dealing heavy damage in the first/last 2-3 squares.
  • Weapon of Mass Destruction: The Renfield Bomb developed by R.S.T. If successfully deployed, not only does it annihilate the Vek Hive, the explosion is so big that it's prominently visible from orbit.