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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 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.


Into the Breach provides examples of:

  • 100% Completion: If you unlock all 55 achievements, you are rewarded with an additional mech squad.
  • Ace Pilot: Each starting pilot (called "Time Travelers") comes with a unique special ability and you can recruit additional special pilots through recovering Time Pods or having a perfect run on an island. Once you unlock a time traveller, you can choose them instead as a starting pilot. All pilots will level up to upgrade the mech they pilot with extra power, movement or health. Both Normal and Time Traveling pilots can gain two of these skills, meaning time travelers will end up with three abilities to a regular pilots two.
  • Achievement System: There are global achievements and squads specific ones. Each achievement earns a coin which is used to unlock new squads.
  • Action Bomb:
    • Blast Psions turn all other Vek into Action Bombs, exploding upon death.
    • The Self-Destruct weapon kills the user and all Vek adjacent to them.
  • After-Combat Recovery: All damage on your Mechs are healed after every battle, but the power grid's health persists.
  • Airborne Mook: All Hornets and Psions have the ability to fly over terrain, meaning that they're unrestricted by terrain and are also immune to death from being pushed onto a water, lava, A.C.I.D. tile, or chasm.
  • Ammo-Using Melee Weapon: The Prime class weapons Titanite Blade and Mercury Fist both do significant damage but can only be used once per battle, or twice with an upgrade.
  • 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 latter has also already happened which prompts 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.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Pinnacle Robotics is not only fighting the Vek, they're also fighting robots that have gone haywire all across the island. At least their holographic CEO has it all together.
  • All There in the Manual: There’s a tremendous amount of game lore in character comments you might never see, and Chris Avellone has also shared some tidbits and personal interpretations in interviews - for instance, none of the characters are entirely certain about the mechanics of time travel, and Isaac and Archimedes have different opinions on it.
  • 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:
    • 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 standing on.
    • The challenge run objectives only require surviving three islands, meaning players don't have to go the 4th island, whose Vek are almost always their Alpha versions.
  • 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.
  • 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. You can, of course, ignore any of these that are too difficult.
  • Armored Coffins: If a mech without the Medical Supplies passive ability 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.
  • Asteroids Monster: One of the bosses you can face is a Large Goo that splits into smaller Goo monsters as you whittle it down.
  • 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.
  • 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 in this way.
  • 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.
    • The Rift Walkers, the first squad you control, are armed with weapons that deal damage and push enemies around. Compared to other squads, they're straightforward, but in a game with telegraphed attacks and where positioning is essential, they're still a very effective team.
    • The Boulder Mech as part of the Blitzkrieg squad is one of the best mechs in the game despite literally just throwing rocks; rocks have the benefit of being able to block Vek from surfacing, pushing allies and enemies to score environmental kills, and being able to block most attacks in the game, and can be upgraded to do a decent amount of damage as well.
    • Abe Isamu doesn't get any flashy abilities like most of the other special pilots, but having a single point of armor is enough to completely ignore most regular Vek attacks. It also includes the self-inflicted or friendly fire damage from certain weapons as well, making him particularly powerful in mechs that use those weapons.
  • Bond One-Liner: Pilots can comment on Vek kills this way.
    Silica: (Vek killed by being knocked into water) Vek now conducting unauthorized diving operations.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: Archive Inc. is all about this trope. Some of their missions have the player protecting "Old Earth" artillery or tanks, while others feature satellite launches and strafing runs by "Old Earth" bombers. The tanks and artillery are vulnerable and slow, but quite powerful. The Strafing runs are incredibly destructive as well.
  • Bug War: It's you against the bug-like Vek.
  • Butt-Monkey: The Hook Mech can only kill enemies in the uncommon situation where it can pull an enemy into a hazard and isn't better off doing something else, so its pilot is very unlikely to earn promotions in a playthrough. Which by itself just makes it a standard support unit. What makes it a Butt-Monkey is the fact that its main job is to pull enemies into position to create a nice long chain for the Lightning Mech to zap. In doing so the Hook Mech has to itself become part of the chain and take damage, which is only partially mitigated by its armor. Thus, the Hook pilot is relegated to the unenviable role of moving things around for the Lightning pilot, getting bullied by the Lightning pilot, and watching as the Lightning pilot gets all the credit, all the glory, and all the promotions for killing the Vek.
  • The Cameo: You can recruit a Mantis, a Zoltan, and a Rockman as pilots, but you have to find them first.
  • Chain Lightning: The Electric Whip (default on the Lightning Mech) deals 2 damage to a target, and every unit adjacent to that target.
  • Can't Take Anything with You: After beating the Vek, you can only take one pilot to the next timeline.
  • Cast From Hitpoints: Ramming Engines (default on the Charge Mech), Hydraulic Legs (default on the Leap Mech), Unstable Cannon (default on the Unstable Mech), Vortex Fist, and Burning Mortar all do damage to the user.
  • Close-Range Combatant: Prime Mechs are usually in the thick of the action.
  • Combat Tentacles: The second part of the Volcanic Hive battle has an environmental hazard where tentacles come up from the ground and take the land and whatever else is on top of it.
  • Contractual Boss Immunity: All Leader Vek have the Massive trait, which makes them immune to being killed off via being pushed into water/A.C.I.D./lava, though it will interrupt their action for the turn. However, they can still be pushed, stunned, insta-killed by falling rocks or even frozen (though freezing them does not count as killing them for the objective).
  • Critical Existence Failure: The Soldier Psion Vek grants all other Vek an extra hit point. When it is killed, they all lose a hit point. If one of the other Vek has only one HP left when the Soldier Psion is killed, they will suddenly die without anyone touching them.
  • Crutch Character:
    • Ralph Karlsson's special ability earns him extra experience with each kill, so he reaches max level much more quickly. However, this comes at the expense of other skills that remain useful even after max level.
    • Isaac Jones' special ability lets you reset one additional time per battle. Because the game features perfect information, you should in theory be able to plan every turn out and never need to reset at all. The only instance when his ability comes in handy then is when the best possible play involves buildings resisting damage, which is the only thing the player can't know beforehand, in which case you get an extra chance.
  • 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: If a beetle is attacking a mech positioned in front of water, you can get the mech out of the way and cause the Beetle to charge right into the water and drown.
  • 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.
  • Degraded Boss: During the Final Battle, one Leader Vek appears in the second phase of the mission. If you're on hard, another Leader Vek appears in the first phase.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Silica is the most prominent example among the pilots. His special ability allows a mech to take two actions if it hasn't moved that turn, but requires two units of power, meaning that to really get him rolling you need to play well enough to acquire the cores necessary. However, once you have the needed power, his ability synergizes extremely well with attacks that also grant mobility, such as the charge mech's Ramming Engines or the upgraded version of the combat mech's Titan Fist. Or you can let him use an ability like Smoke Jump, leaping back and forth and nullifying Vek attacks left, right, and center.
  • 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 or push enemies, give shields to allies, and more.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: You can play the islands in any order, and they get progressively more difficult as you go. This only changes the Vek though, and the complex weather effects of the islands other than Archive Inc. are still present regardless of what order they're played in.
  • Dynamic Entry: The pilot Gana can deploy anywhere on the map and damage adjacent enemies.
  • 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 hit 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. Additionally, one achievement can only be unlocked by completing a run on Hard.
    • Beacons to recruit a secret pilot almost never appear on Easy and are still rare on Normal, but pop up quite frequently on Hard.
  • Elite Mooks: There are alpha versions of enemies that hit harder and can sometimes hit more spaces.
  • Energy Weapon: The Laser Mech, naturally, equipped with the map-crossing Burst Beam by default.
  • Flunky Boss: All boss fights have the usual stream of Vek incoming, but the Spider Leader takes it further by being able to spawn 2-3 spider eggs at a go.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: Your runs are justified as being the various timelines the ace pilots 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 frozen Vek on the map will trigger Vek fleeing lines on a victory, despite the Vek 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 that you need to dodge if you want to keep your mechs.
  • Genre Deconstruction: To Mecha and Kaiju, especially on collateral damages. The main objectives of the game involve trying to avoid damage to buildings (residential blocks and power plants), not only for a sense of morality but also to make sure to have electricity running as any damages to buildings will reduce the grid infrastructure that runs your Mechs.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • Vek Leapers have the ability to jump over obstacles, web their target, and deal 3 damage, which is enough to one-shot any un-upgraded mech. This comes at the cost of having only 1 hitpoint.
    • All Sentient Weapons have immensely powerful attacks, but they only have one hitpoint (except for the Bot Leader).
  • Green Hill Zone: Archive, Inc. has a museum island that recreates Earth as it was before the oceans rose. It's full of forests and grassland, and on your first run it's the first island you visit.
  • Grew Beyond Their Programming: One of the pilots, Prospero, was a former gardening robot who now takes pride in harvesting Vek. The other robot pilots do not qualify for this, because they were either explicitly re-programmed for combat capability (Gana and Silica) or advanced enough to not have limited programming (Archimedes).
  • 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.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: Some missions have you commanding additional units along with your squad.
  • Heal Thyself: All Mechs are able to spend an turn regenerating 1 HP, while also removing any debuffs.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Notably, each of the unique pilots have a character portrait with no helmet, while your other starting pilots wear them.
  • 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 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 building, meaning it's often worthwhile to let your Mechs soak up hits to keep the buildings from being damaged.
  • He's Dead, Jim: When a mech is disabled, the CEO or surviving pilots typically react like that mech's pilot is instantly dead. Not always the case — Medical Supplies and having the mech be repaired before the mission is over will save the pilot's life.
  • 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 only true 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.
  • An Ice Person: The Frozen Titans squad uses cryo weapons to freeze the enemies in their tracks.
  • Immune to Fire: The Flame Behemoths come with Flame Shielding to protect them from the fire that they liberally make use of, and other mechs can acquire it as well, though it's more situational in their case.
  • In a Single Bound:
    • Vek Leapers and Spiders move by jumping, letting them cross obstacles, but leaving them vulnerable to water and pits.
    • Hydraulic Legs and Boosters let Mechs jump over obstacles.
  • 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 human ace pilots 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.
  • It's a Wonderful Failure: Losing the game immediately makes a massive number of Vek spawn from the ground, 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.
  • King Mook: Most of the bosses you face are beefed up versions of the normal Vek you face against. They usually deal much more damage, have more health, and often hit many tiles at once.
  • 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. Presumably they left the Universal Translator back in FTL. The Secret Squad, meanwhile, don't speak at all, since mech hybrids or no, they're still Vek.
  • Last Lousy Point: You can get 54/55 of the achievement coins on lower difficulties, but getting the last one (and unlocking the Secret Squad) requires a victory on Hard.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: Regular Vek are tan, Alpha Vek are purple, and Vek Leaders are pink.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The Volcanic Hive is an island with an active volcano and deadly lava tiles.
  • Life Drain: Viscera Nanobots, a starting weapon on the Nano Mech, heal Mechs whenever they deal a killing blow.
  • Lightning Lash: The Lightning Mech's Electric Whip, whose primary selling point is it's Chain Lightning ability.
  • 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.
  • Magikarp Power: Certain mechs and weapons:
    • The Flame Behemoths veer towards this. They start with very limited direct damage capabilities but, when fully upgraded, are a force to be reckoned with. They can set huge swaths of the map on fire, deal significant damage to several Vek at once, and teleport Vek onto fatal hazards from halfway across the map.
    • The Secret Squad, made up of unpiloted Vek-mech hybrids, lack the ability to have time travellers carry over into their runs, require one additional reactor point to equip any weapons other than their starting loadout, and apart from the Techno-Beetle's Ramming Speed attack, are not much more powerful than any other squad. Their starting abilities ramp up quite quickly, however, and in return for not using any pilots, the XP of each Techno-Vek only drops by 25 XP when they're disabled, rather than losing everything, adding another layer of decision-making when it comes to whether or not it's worth sacrificing a mech.
  • 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.
  • Mechanically Unusual Class: The more powerful abilities of the AI and alien pilots tend to fall into this.
    • The AI abilities offset this by having an additional reactor cost to activate them. These abilities including flight, additional movement or attacks each round, and the ability to place the pilot's mech anywhere on the map while also dealing damage.
    • The secret characters are quite powerful, but in two cases, unable to repair themselves, one of them being a One-Hit-Point Wonder. In return, Kazaakpleth grants any mech a powerful, free melee attack which cannot be upgraded, while Mafan, to make up for having only 1 HP, gains a shield that regenerates at the start of each round and a free reactor point.
    • Finally, as your reward for unlocking all the squads and completing all the achievements, you can buy the Secret Squad: three cybernetically tamed Vek. They can't support pilots, have no unique abilities, and any weapon other than their starting weapon costs them one extra starting point, but they do still gain experience ,upon being disabled, they only lose 25 XP as opposed to everything that pilot had learned. In addition, while their starting weapons are fairly weak, they become much more powerful with just a few upgrades.
  • Purple Is Powerful: The purple Alpha Vek are far more powerful than their standard counterparts.
  • Mech vs. Beast: Using mechs to fight the titanic Vek aliens.
  • Multiethnic Name: Common for the randomly generated generic pilots. There's also ace pilot Henry Kwan, although his ethnic background is not discussed; it's fairly common even today for Chinese citizens to choose English names, not to mention later-generation immigrant families.
  • 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-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 around 30% though, 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 Flame Behemoth mech squad starts with Flame Shielding, which renders them completely immune to fire. Likewise, Rockman pilot Ariadne is immune to fire, the same as her FTL counterparts.
    • The Stabilizers upgrade will also allow mechs to completely ignore the damage from 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 it, as does pilot Abe Isamu.
    • Camila Vera ignores smoke and shrugs off Vek webbing, and as such cannot be pinned down.
  • 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.
  • Obviously Not Fine: The Flame Behemoths have an achievement to have 5 enemy Vek on fire at once. As a nod to the trope, the achievement is even called "This is fine".
  • One-Hit-Point Wonder:
    • Most grid buildings and non-spawning Vek, as well as the various drone tanks assigned to you as special objectives, or which can be obtained as special weapons.
    • Spiderlings, rogue robots, explosive blobs, boulders, and the last dregs of the goo boss as well.
    • Mafan the Zoltan, one of the Secret Characters, reduces the HP of any mech they're piloting to 1, which cannot be increased in any way, but also gains a reusable shield at the start of each round, which lets them ignore environmental effects like being set on fire or A.C.I.D. — plus they start with a free reactor point.
  • 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.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Every squad uses a color palette that can be applied to any other Mech.
    • Alpha Vek are palette swaps of regular Vek except with their tans and blues replaced with purples and greens. Boss Vek replace the purples and greens of Alpha Vek with pink and yellow.
    • Each Vek Psion uses a different color: green for Soldier (extra health), purple for Shell (armor), red for Blood (regeneration), orange for Blast (explosive deaths), pink for Psion Abomination (All Your Powers Combined), and gold for Psion Tyrant (1 damage to every Mech).
  • Playing with Fire: The Flame Behemoth squad uses flame weapons to burn their enemies to ashes.
  • 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.
  • Robot War: Zig-Zagged. Pinnacle Robotics levels 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., and the enemy robots are just as likely to target the Vek as they are your units.
  • Rocket Punch: The Rocket Fist, when upgraded, can be fired like a projectile.
  • Save Both Worlds: Up to Eleven. 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.
  • Secret Character: Three hidden pilots, and a secret squad:
    • Three unusually powerful characters who can't be unlocked by normal means, hinted at by the presence of the achievement "Distant Friends", as they're each a member of a different species from FTL. It's entirely possible to stumble onto them by accident, and just as likely to unlock all the other pilots before you unlock even one, although once you realize you can find their beacons shining through mountains and visible through ice, finding them becomes relatively straightforward. They are, respectively, Kazaakpleth the Mantis, Ariadne the Rockman, and Mafan the Zoltan.
    • The Secret Squad can be purchased once you've unlocked all other squads and completed all the achievements: three Vek, a beetle, a hornet, and a scarab, cybernetically augmented and controlled, with no need for pilots, which can be upgraded from basic Vek to the equivalent of the leader Vek you face on each island.
  • Separated at Birth: Played with in a tragic way: Bethany and Isaac Jones are twins, but in every timeline, one of the twins dies in childbirth, so only Bethany or Isaac survive. The only way for the twins to meet is for one to travel to a timeline in which the other survived.
  • 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.
  • Shield Bash: The Aegis Mech wields a Spartan Shield, which it can use to smack enemies and disorient them.
  • 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.
  • Shock and Awe:
    • The Blitzkrieg squad harnesses the power of lightning to damage multiple enemies at once.
    • The Rusting Hulks squad electrify smoke clouds so that they deal damage to enemies inside the clouds.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Single-Use Shield: Both energy shields and freezing work this way - one hit, regardless of power, will harmlessly dissipate the shield/shatter the ice and free the unit within, respectively.
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: Pinnacle Robotics' island is a frozen place, complete with frozen tiles that break if they're damaged enough.
  • Spider Tank: Ranged Mechs, as well as the Pulse and Gravity Mechs, are all 4-legged walkers.
  • Standard 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.This synergizes nicely with Viscera Nanobots, as the heal applies AFTER the self damage, turning a mech into a near invincible one hit kill monster.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Most land-based Vek are killed instantly if they get pushed into water. The only ones that won't drown are the leaders/bosses, but even they will have their attacks canceled if moved into water.
  • Tank Goodness: Some of your building-sized Brute Mechs are just giant tanks, with equally giant cannons to go with it. Some missions also give you smaller tanks that you can use in addition to your forces and you can even unlock the ability to launch mini tanks as support units off of some mechs.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The A.C.I.D. fits the bill as far as being "dangerous green liquid", but interestingly it doesn't inherently do any damage by itself - just make anything that steps in it or get covered in it extra vulnerable to damage, since it negates armor and causes all weapon hits to do double damage.
  • Time Travel: The ace pilots are constantly jumping to new timelines and try to save each one.
  • Ultraterrestrials: Possibly. Chris Avellone notes that neither Ralph nor the AI characters ever refer to the Vek as alien, and they’re known to possess timeline information the other characters don’t have.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Volcanic Hive is the final level of a run, and can be accessed anytime after two islands have been saved.
  • Underground Monkey: Alpha Vek are regular Vek, but with extra damage and health.
  • 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 every remaining achievement to buy.
  • Utility Party Member: Science Class Mechs predominantly fill this role. Their weapons are unable to damage enemies, but they usually compensate with adeptness in another area, such as flight, or a passive effect that aids the squad's strategy.
  • 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: A sufficiently upgraded Burst Beam eventually becomes this, covering the full length of the map and dealing heavy damage in the first 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.


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