Into The Breach is a brutal game. There’s nothing worse than seeing your best plans fall apart under the unrelenting hordes of the Vek, a seemingly endless army of giant bugs that seek to depopulate the planet, one tiny island at a time. All you’ve got are three powerful Mechs and a time travel device so you can keep trying to save the world. It’s going to take a few tries.
Cities get destroyed, Power Grids go down, pilots die, and you’ll warp to the past to give it all another go. The challenge is real, and if you’re new to Into The Breach (or other turn-based strategy rogue-likes) then we’re here to provide ten tips to make a little more sense out of this deceptively simple little indie. Victory is within your grasp.
Hey, if even I was able to win, anyone can.
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#1: Don’t Be Afraid Of Failure
You’re going to lose in Into The Breach. It’s just a fact of life (or death) that each individual run won’t last long. When the Power Grid goes down to zero or you lose all your mechs, the war is over and you’ll have to try again. Very little you earn on the way is permanent — Pilots can be unlocked as you progress, which you can select in the starting Hangar.
Failure isn’t always a bad thing, either. There are two goals you can progress towards while learning the ropes. For each achievement you unlock, you’ll get a coin. Coins can be spent in the hangar to unlock new teams of mechs with totally unique playstyles.
You can also work toward unlocking all four of the islands. For each island you complete, you’ll unlock another island. Once an island is unlocked, you’ll be able to start (and complete) those islands in any order you want. All the islands have their particular quirks that can make life easier.
#2: Mechs (And HP) Are Expendable, Buildings Are Not
After the end of every battle, your mechs will be fully repaired. It’s absolutely worth it to take a hit or two in combat. Even a destroyed mech isn’t a huge loss — any destroyed mechs will be replaced at the start of the next battle. You’ll keep any Upgrades, weapons, or special abilities you’ve equipped, but you’ll lose all Pilot bonuses you’ve earned through XP.
That’s the one big downside to mech-death. You’ll permanently lose your pilots. Keep the pilots alive as long as possible, especially your chosen “primary” pilot. That guy or girl should be the star of your team — because even if you fail and the power grid goes down, you can send your primary pilot back in time with their XP intact.
Protecting the Power Grid is your primary objective, and keeping the Power Grid as strong as possible is required if you want to complete the final mission that appears after clearing at least two islands. You’ll have to balance mech health with your active Power Grid — basically, protect the Power Grid when you can. A few nonlethal hits to a mech is easy to recover.
NOTE: To recover Power Grid power, complete missions with an electricity symbol on the optional objective. Complete the bonus objective with that symbol to recover one power — or you can purchase extra Power Grid power for x1 Corporation Reputation point each when you complete each island.
#3: There’s No Shame In Playing On Easy
Easy Mode is there for a reason. You can earn almost every achievement on Easy, and the game is much less punishingly difficult. Really, I recommend starting on Easy and then upping the difficulty when you’re more comfortable with the many, many challenges of Into The Breach. This is a challenging game no matter what difficulty level you choose, but Easy is the gentlest. Give it a try if Normal is kicking your butt too hard.
#4: Reactor Upgrades Or Bust
Reactor Upgrades are an incredibly powerful tool in Into The Breach. You can’t keep them after time-travelling, but you’ll want to earn (or purchase) as many of these as possible. You need Reactor Cores to upgrade your Mech, and they can be earned in a couple of different ways.
- Purchase Reactor Cores at the end of an island for x3 Reputation.
- Always earn x1 Reactor Core when recovering a Future Pod.
- Some Pilots will earn +1 Reactor Core bonuses when leveling up.
- Complete bonus missions with small round circle symbols — those give you a Reactor Core.
Missions that give you Reactor Cores in later missions are especially dangerous. If you’re feeling lucky, I say go for them — but don’t ruin a good run hunting high threat level missions. The other ways are perfectly fine; earn Reputation and buy Reactor Cores, keep your Pilots alive, and recover Future Pods whenever you can.
#5: Take Control Of The Center
The battlefields of Into The Breach are complicated. New enemies will spawn in every turn, so you’re always under pressure. You don’t want to be too far away from the action to react properly — always try to take control of the center of the map and hold it.
The “center” isn’t always a literal place. It might be a moving train, a corporate HQ, or a terraformer. Whatever the enemy wants to destroy should be your target, and position your mechs accordingly to engage. There’s nothing worse than a mech that can’t do anything for a turn because they’re in an opposite corner.
#6: A Proper Pilot For A Proper Mech
As you progress, you can unlock new pilots to command your primary mech. These Pilots have passive special bonuses unlocked right from the start, and will unlock more as they level up. Selecting the right Pilot can save a mission. For example, Abe Isamu has the Armored trait, making whatever mech he pilots armored. This negates one point of damage, making many early Vek attacks completely ineffectual.
Other pilots gain XP faster, are immune to fire, give you extra turn resets, or add abilities you can unlock later with core upgrades. Picking the right pilot for the job goes a long way toward changing your strategy, and selecting the right upgrades is key. A tough mech that can block shots is even more helpful with an upgrade to their movement, for instance.
#7: Aim For Corporation Reputation
Before starting a mission, you can see what type of bonus missions you’re about to embark on. The rewards are shown to you too — a Star gives you Corporation Reputation, a lightning symbol gives you Power Grid power, and a small circle gives you a Bonus Power Core.
Choosing what missions to take on and which ones to skip is an important piece of the Into The Breach puzzle. For my money, it’s always worthwhile to go after Corporation Reputation. It’s the best choice for the long run, and usually earning it is relatively easy — at least compared to earning Power Cores. Try to avoid missions that sound too difficult; keeping a Vek alive for five turns is one of the more annoying bonus missions, and doesn’t give you any additional reward. Skip it and go for something easier — unless you’ve got a team of Mechs that kick ass when it comes to disabling Vek.
#8: Understand The Battlefield | Shields & Disasters
When you’re checking out missions, you’ll also get a warning on different types of natural disasters or sub-missions. On the grassy archive island, you won’t have to deal with many disasters — but you will sometimes get helpful tanks, air-strikes, or artillery can to control.
On the desert island, tiles will collapse into oblivion, storms will occur, and the maps will generally tear themselves apart. The snowy island isn’t as obviously dangerous, but you’ll often face enemy machines in addition to the Vek. It’s very, very important to understand map hazard, and how they effect your turn order.
Hazards will always occur before a Vek’s turn. If you push a Vek onto a hazard tile, it will kill them instantly. It’s also worth knowing that shields will not protect your mechs (or the Vek) from insta-death hazards. All yellow hazard tiles are a death sentence — so do whatever you can to move your mechs off. Even friendly fire.
#9: Don’t Save Your Time Travel Resets… Use Them!
This is a rookie mistake. You’ve screwed up. You put yourself in a bad situation and need to reset that turn. Don’t even think twice about using the reset. You have one for each mission, and if you don’t use them, they’re just going to waste — especially if you move on to the next turn and lock your decision for the rest of the battle.
The reset is an incredibly useful tool if you don’t like planning your every move, or if you’re still learning the ropes and don’t know how every weapon / tool in your arsenal works exactly. New Vek have abilities that aren’t always entirely obvious, and each island has a new set of hazards that just might trip you up. Use those resets. Don’t regret not using them! … just try to avoid making another catastrophic mistake.
#10: Plan Your Attack, Then Execute
Think three steps ahead. Into the Breach is deceptively simple for a reason — you only need to keep track of three units, but those three units can change the battlefield in extremely rewarded ways. Don’t forget that you can use your units in any order, and you can move and attack separately. Always plan everything out in your head before executing — think of it like Chess, and you’re the Chess Master.
At the start of every turn, you’re shown every one of the Vek’s moves ahead of schedule so you can react. Check attack types — Vek can have melee attacks, mortar-like attacks, or straight projectiles that hit anything in a line across the map. Check your movement range on every mech, and keep a mental tally how every attack will effect the future of the battlefield.
If you can learn to mentally prepare and plan each move before locking in those decisions, you’ll slowly inch your way towards Into the Breach mastery. It’s really beautiful when a plan comes together.
Have your own tips and tricks for Into The Breach? Tell us all about your best laid plans in the comments section below.