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Kalir 03-28-2018 11:16 AM

Cherno Alpha to D1. Check. Let's Play Into the Breach!

Hey kids!

Let's play Into the Breach!

You know Subset Games, right? No? Okay, well you know FTL: Faster Than Light, right? Okay, then you know Subset Games, because they made both of these games. A lot of people like to call Into the Breach a roguelike, which while it's technically correct, I'm just going to call it a puzzle game. The trappings are different (humanity is assaulted by an insectoid species called the Vek and it's up to your time traveling pilots of big-ass mechs to stop them) but there's not that much that would justify calling this game a roguelike compared to, say, a Sudoku phone app.

The game will be much easier to explain when we're in motion, but I'll give a simple summary here: each turn, the Vek will queue up attacks on your mechs or on the structures around the map. Each destroyed structure lowers the Grid's power, which causes you to lose if it hits 0. However, you can attack the Vek after they prepare their attacks, either killing them or throwing off their aim. You have nearly perfect information about the board at all times, so there's a heavy emphasis on carefully planning out your turn so as to negate any collateral damage.

This also goes nicely with Subset Games' established style from FTL. Both that game and Into the Breach take an existing genre and tweak the scale with their games' focus. FTL ditches much of the exploration and dogfighting that spaceship games usually have in favor of careful management of crew and systems. Likewise, Into the Breach's combat is very simple, and is more focused on protecting the civilian structures and the objectives on the map rather than killing every enemy.

Anyway, let's get down to business. There are nine squads in the game, but one of them is a secret squad that will not be making an appearance in this LP. You have to get every achievement in the game to unlock them, and while I COULD use them in this game, I'm not going to. This is non negotiable. Sorry but not sorry.

No worries, though! You still have eight other squads to work with, as well as the possibilities of randomized or customized squads to work with! I'll go over their capabilities loosely in the spoilerpop below. There are four classes of mech: Prime mechs are bipedal melee specialists, Brute mechs are generally wheeled vehicles that have good mobility and range, Ranged mechs feature artillery that can affect a wide range but are fragile up close, and Science mechs generally possess unconventional utility powers at the expense of direct attacks.

  • The Rift Walkers are the standard squad everyone gets upon creating their profile. They represent the basic capabilities one should expect from a squad. Each of the Prime-class Combat Mech, the Brute-class Cannon Mech, and the Ranged-class Artillery Mech are solid machines that can work fine independently, but even better together.
  • The Rusting Hulks feature a Brute-class Jet Mech and a Ranged-class Rocket Mech, both of which are capable of creating smoke clouds to blind their targets. The Rocket Mech also has a Storm Generator built in to allow the smoke to deal damage to enemies. Rounding out the trio is the Science-class Pulse Mech, resulting in the only squad to not have a Prime-class mech, and a very strong squad for almost any situation you care to name.
  • The Zenith Guard possesses some of the highest-power weaponry in the game, particularly the Prime-class Laser Mech's signature Burst Beam and the Brute-class Charge Mech's dangerous Ramming Engines. The Science-class Defense Mech can generate shields, which helps offset the other mechs' propensity for collateral damage. Not especially powerful at moving enemies around, but they pack a serious kick.
  • The Blitzkrieg play almost entirely around the Prime-class Lightning Mech's Electric Whip, which is able to chain through multiple targets at once for severe damage. The catch is that this damages friendly targets as well, which means you have to keep your Ranged-class Boulder Mech very safe, and be very clever about how you use the unarmed Brute-class Hook Mech. They have to be very careful about their mission selection, as they favor vastly different scenarios than most.
  • The Steel Judoka sacrifice some damage in exchange for some of the better movement capabilities in the game. The Science-class Gravity Mech also has Vek Hormones installed that amplify the damage Vek deal to one another, making this squad well-suited to forcing enemies to fight each other. However, the Prime-class Judo Mech and Ranged-class Siege Mech are armed with fairly awkward weapons to use, and this squad is at the mercy of enemy turn order more than most.
  • The Flame Behemoths have even lower damage than the Steel Judoka, but make up for it by being able to set wide swaths of the map on fire with the Prime-class Flame Mech and the Ranged-class Meteor Mech. The Flame Mech comes with Flame Shielding as well, rendering the entire squad immune to the fires they start. You also get the powerful Science-class Swap Mech, perfect for repositioning enemies at longer ranges.
  • The Frozen Titans carry two very powerful but extremely awkward weapons: the Ranged-class Ice Mech's Cryo-Launcher freezes itself and another target, and the Brute-class Mirror Mech's Janus Cannon fires in opposite directions whether you want it to or not. You will have to use those two mechs, and the Prime-class Aegis Mech, together perfectly to bring the best out of this squad.
  • The Hazardous Mechs are the obligatory all-out offensive squad. The weapons of the Prime-class Leap Mech and the Brute-class Unstable Mech deal self-damage whenever used, so they rely on support from the Science-class Nano Mech to increase the damage they deal to enemies and to heal up after every Vek they kill. Extremely powerful, and able to use some very creative strategies, but they require a careful touch.

Y'all should vote on which squad we see!

Optionally, you can also vote on a pilot for us to take with us. At the start of each game, you can either carry over a pilot from an older game, or choose a new one from the list in the hangar. Rather than giving you a detailed breakdown on what each pilot does, I will submit this stupid meme image and you can choose solely based on that. (If you know anything about the pilots, just keep in mind that my only restriction is that I will not run any pilot on a squad where that pilot obsoletes the main weakness.)

Yes, the three pilots on the right are cameos from FTL. They are obtained via secret nonsense. You can still vote for them.

Okay I love you buhbye.

Mogri 03-28-2018 11:21 AM

Go Flame Behemoths, piloted by Abraham Lincoln.

Adam 03-28-2018 11:22 AM

Rockmen love Fire

JBear 03-28-2018 11:24 AM

Gana and the Flame Behemoths, live and in concert. Convince me that they're not mediocre.

aturtledoesbite 03-28-2018 11:35 AM


Originally Posted by Adam (Post 2467119)
Rockmen love Fire

Egarwaen 03-28-2018 11:37 AM

Flame Behemoths but for extra irony a palette-swap of Mei.

BEAT 03-28-2018 11:48 AM


Westerhof 03-28-2018 11:51 AM

Steel Judoka with whoever.

BEAT 03-28-2018 12:27 PM


Originally Posted by Mogri (Post 2467117)
Abraham Lincoln.

I'm not sure if this is a vote for Captian Bland or Steve Buscemi. Going by the art, it could be either one.

Mogri 03-28-2018 12:37 PM


Originally Posted by BEAT (Post 2467159)
I'm not sure if this is a vote for Captian Bland or Steve Buscemi. Going by the art, it could be either one.

Good call, but Steve Buscemi is already Steve Buscemi. Lincoln is Capt. Bland.

Lucas 03-28-2018 12:46 PM

Steel judoka!

Rebelfire 03-28-2018 12:57 PM

you know they say to fight fire with fire

so BUG MAN will burn them all alive with FIRE MECHS

BEAT 03-28-2018 01:02 PM


Originally Posted by Mogri (Post 2467162)
Good call, but Steve Buscemi is already Steve Buscemi. Lincoln is Capt. Bland.

Ahh, I interpreted the area under his Chin as just shadow, not a Beard.

This is my mistake, and no-one else's.

MCBanjoMike 03-28-2018 01:35 PM


Originally Posted by BEAT (Post 2467142)

I don't really care which squad you take, but I'll second this.

Thraeg 03-28-2018 02:33 PM

Rusting Hulks with "Inferior Beings"


Originally Posted by Kalir (Post 2467114)
there's not that much that would justify calling this game a roguelike compared to, say, a Sudoku phone app.

Huh, I'd be really curious to hear more of your thought process on this. To my mind, the indispensable roguelike core is:

1) Heavy use of randomized/procedural algorithms to determine both the arrangement of obstacles you'll face and the selection of resources and tools you'll have access to on each run.
2) Results and consequences are permanent. No reloading a save or restarting the mission if you get into a bad spot, and you have to start over from the beginning of a newly randomized run on death.

ITB has both of those, so I'd class it with all the recent games that apply that structure to widely varying base mechanics (Spelunky, Desktop Dungeons, Invisible Inc., Cryptark, Renowned Explorers, etc.)

Kalir 03-28-2018 03:01 PM

Classifying games is always kind of an annoying argument for me, honestly, because they're all degrees of comparison on something that really should just be picked up and looked at as its own thing. Getting into the details of "well, which one is it more like?" isn't the same for me as actually experiencing the thing head-on.

Like, who's to say a Sudoku phone app isn't just a roguelike with the permadeath replaced with you getting frustrated and requesting a hint?

But that's a silly and nonsatisfactory answer, so let's instead go with that it's mostly about the presentation. You could also make the case that, say, Desktop Dungeons is a puzzle game more than it is a roguelike, too.

Anyway I'm going to leave the voting up for a day or so and then start my first island tomorrow. So far it looks like the Flame Behemoths are leading the pack, while pilot votes are split between Patriarchy Crusher and MOMMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT.

Thraeg 03-28-2018 03:29 PM

Fair enough. Genres are always an imperfect and fuzzy measuring tool, and should be considered the start of the conversation rather than the end, but I still find them helpful as a shorthand for communicating several complex, related concepts.

Octopus Prime 03-28-2018 04:23 PM

I had my first victory with the Rift Walkers and The Robots from Mario Odyssey.

So I want to see how you handle that same game!

Torzelbaum 03-28-2018 06:56 PM

Rusting Hulks and Actual Scientist Steve Buscemi.


Originally Posted by Kalir (Post 2467258)
So far it looks like the Flame Behemoths are leading the pack

Geez, you all really like collateral damage. (Which I am assuming based on the description of that team.)

Serephine 03-28-2018 07:07 PM

IttB isn't a rogue like because it doesn't try to mercilessly fuck you at every turn.

Gerad 03-28-2018 09:23 PM

random squad with pilot excused from class aka Michael Jackson.

JBear, am I going to have to get this game? Am I really going to have to get this game?

JBear 03-28-2018 09:30 PM


Originally Posted by Gerad (Post 2467435)
JBear, am I going to have to get this game? Am I really going to have to get this game?

Hrm. HRM. Thinking on it, I'm going to say yes. This is 100% up your alley, I think.

aturtledoesbite 03-28-2018 10:11 PM


Originally Posted by JBear (Post 2467440)
Hrm. HRM. Thinking on it, I'm going to say yes. This is 100% up your alley, I think.

you should turn his own quote around on him



Kalir 03-29-2018 10:36 AM

Right, I think that'll do it for votes. I'll start my Flame Behemoths run now, using Camila Vera MOMMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT as a pilot. (The tiebreaker there is not that Patriarchy Crusher doesn't fit that team, but that I have already been playing as them for the past few runs.)

Kalir 03-29-2018 02:16 PM

Been a while since I've sat me down and done a straight up screenshot LP, huh?

Anyway, we'll be doing a Flame Behemoths run, with Camila Vera as our main pilot.

This mysterious hangar isn't very clearly defined as to what, where, or when it is, but you always start a run by launching all of your mechs from here, like so.

And here's the four Corporate Islands that will serve as the staging area for our conflict with the Vek. Camila's thoughts here are unusually verbose for character backstory in this game, which is interesting because Chris Avellone (yes, THAT Chris Avellone) was brought on as a writer for the game, and there is a ton of crunchy lore about every single person in the story that just never gets a chance to come up.

Anyway, let's meet the cast.

Camila Vera is piloting the Flame Mech, where she brings her signature Evasion skill to the table. This skill allows her to ignore the hazards of webs and smoke, one of which will be an actual issue for us this game. She can also learn two more skills with experience, although we don't know what those skills might be yet.

More interesting is the Flame Mech itself. As you can see, it uses FTL's reactor system for how it works: it could have a lot of different stat boosts, but only if we want to spend the reactor power to get them running. At the start of the game, every mech has only the reactor power needed for its default equipment. The Flamethrower is a fine Prime-class weapon, which doesn't do any damage unless the target is already on fire. But hey, the attack sets the target square on fire anyway and pushes the furthest target hit a space!

The Flame Shielding means all of our mechs can ignore the usual effects of fire, which is a straightforward damage over time deal. This isn't strictly required, but it sure is nice! That said, a cautious player might find it better to power this down in exchange for +1 movement.

When you start the game, you also get two other pilots randomly generated for your other mechs. They don't have unique skills, and represent employees of one of the four corporations. Peter Koleda here works for Detritus, and he'll be piloting the Meteor Mech. The Vulcan Artillery of this sucker can push enemies around the impact point away from it, while lighting the targeted space on fire. It's a handy utility tool, and once you get that damage upgrade it gets even better. The Backburn upgrade causes the tile behind it to catch fire whenever it fires, which is a double-edged sword in many cases.

Mateo Patel, representing R.S.T., instead pilots the Swap Mech. Although it's fragile and has no weapons, its high mobility, flight, and Teleporter give it a serious edge that let it disrupt the Vek's attacks quite easily. The Teleporter only starts with 1 range, so those upgrades are crucial to true telprot shenanigans.

Anyway, we have four islands to choose from. Each has a different biome, randomized enemy set, and selection of missions. Archive, Inc. is the first island players have access to, and covers a very plain and traditional landscape focused on Old Earth tech.

As you clear islands playing the game yourself, you can unlock more. R.S.T. Corporation is second in line, and deals with desert terrain, including quakes, lightning storms, and vast smoke clouds.

Pinnacle Robotics houses a large AI population, and fittingly thrives in arctic conditions. Ice is the main terrain barrier of the area, to say nothing of the frequently-hostile robotic foes you might encounter.

But we'll start out our excursion at Detritus Disposal. You can always see the enemy selection at any island you go for, but once you choose an island, you're stuck there until you clear it out or fail horribly. Ordinarily I would save Detritus for last with the Flame Behemoths, but the reasoning behind my choice will go in the spoilerpop, as it deals with a lot of high level meta nonsense.

Generally, I consider Pinnacle the easiest island for the Flame Behemoths, and Detritus the hardest, because of the associated terrain aspects. Lots of ice means your fire attacks can break the floor out from under most threats, especially with the Meteor Mech, while the A.C.I.D. of Detritus doesn't help you when most of your attacks don't deal actual damage. That said, the enemy sets were especially unkind here: the Shell Psion on Archive would normally make it a gimme, except the boss of that area would be a nightmare. Similarly, Pinnacle's Blood Psion throws that whole mess off, because one of those at the wrong time can be mission-ending. It mostly came down to R.S.T. and Detritus, and the latter was my choice because I figured the Leapers would be easier to handle than the Scorpions, and the boss of Detritus would be slightly easier, although I'm not that worried about the boss of R.S.T. so it might be my second island.

Anyway here's Vikram Singh. It's kind of strange that the last CEO the player would normally meet seems so... plain. But as far as I can tell, Singh doesn't really have much in the way of personality: he is a generically good dude. Which is fine enough, I guess.

Anyway, the island itself. The red zones represent areas threatened by the Vek, the green zones are ones we've already cleared, and the black ones we can only access after clearing the mission in an adjacent red zone. You could probably have inferred that, though. Each symbol on a space represents an objective: the more objectives, the harsher the resistance you'll face there.

Let's go with a nice simple mission, during which Big Smoke will be there to help us out and not be useless. Train-defense missions are really disliked by a lot of players, but they don't bother me so much for a reason you'll see once we get the ball rolling.

Upon mission selection, Vek burrow out of those crumbly points on the preview, and you can look at all of them. We'll start with the Alpha Leaper. Leapers are characterized by their unusually high mobility and damage, offset by their low health. Alphas have 3, while your average Leaper only has 1. Like most melee enemies, they can web their targets when they aim their attack, restricting their movement. As you can see, this big guy will deal a whopping 5 damage, which is a lot considering most attacks only deal 1. Even normal Leapers get 3 damage attacks.

Hornets are pegasus knights. Extreme mobility, but not very sturdy or damaging, and they can't web with their melee attack. Higher-level Hornets are the stuff of nightmares, but these guys barely deserve mention.

Rounding out the trio, we have the basic ranged enemy, the Firefly. With 3 health, they're hard to bring down, but they have low mobility, and their ranged attack only deals 1 damage. Not flashy, but they're still a threat.

We can only deploy our mechs in the highlighted yellow area, which we do.

Yeah, see those cheers from those buildings? People live there! It'd be a shame if anything happened to them.

Whoa hey now buddy what do you think you're doing?

So, the Vek start every new round by queueing up each of their attacks. They don't activate them yet, but they are targeting various things.

After all Vek have prepared any attacks they can, new spawn points will appear unless it's the last round, and then we can act.

We have only one objective for this mission, but it's an important one. We have to protect this train from every attack and not leave anything in its way to crash it. Since none of the Vek elected to attack it this turn, that's easy, but it can be very hard to protect the train if things get out of hand.

Camila would've been webbed by the Alpha Leaper, but Evasion means she can just walk away, and I have her push the Firefly with the Flamethrower onto the Vek spawn.

The Firefly remains aiming southwest, which means their turn has been effectively negated. Since the other two enemies aren't targeting anything, my mechs are free to do whatever shenanigans they wish.

Kalir 03-29-2018 02:21 PM

For example.

Terrain plays a huge part in how combat in this game works. Water is one of the most important: anything not flagged as Massive, like our mechs, drowns immediately if dumped in the water. Fliers like Hornets can go right over it, but this is still a very effective means of neutralizing most enemies. Water will also prevent any Massive units inside it from attacking, so you can't just take a bath all mission and be impervious to harm. Well, you can, but you have work to do, slacker.

Once you finish your turn, the Vek will execute all of their attacks.

But first: anything that is on fire takes 1 damage. This will be our main source of damage for most of the game: any enemy we light on fire is good for us.

In any case, the Firefly and Hornet both attack empty air.

The train advances, and new Vek attempt to spawn in, although the existing Vek parked on top of that one spawn makes that hard for both of them.

The new set of attacks queues up, and this set is actually a bit more dangerous... at least, at first glance.

Remember, fire deals damage before the Vek attack, so that Firefly isn't going to get its turn!

So we'll start with our Meteor Mech lighting this Hornet on fire.

Oh, if you're curious, the green liquid is A.C.I.D. that doubles the damage the target takes from all direct attacks. Anyone that steps on an A.C.I.D. tile takes all the A.C.I.D. for themselves, like the Meteor Mech's done.

The Swap Mech works with the Meteor Mech to throw off the attack of the Hornet and we're on our merry way.

Incidentally, we want to protect the structures for two reasons. The first is that hey, there's people inside them! Don't let them die! The second is that every building that goes down will affect our Power Grid. If it hits 0, we lose.

Our next turn brings out a pretty serious threat that drastically throws off my gameplan. See that green aura?

Each island has a class of Psion that can spawn once per mission. These guys have no means of attack, a fixed 2 HP, and very little mobility (although they can fly). Their threat comes from the passive buff they apply to all Vek while they're alive. In the Soldier Psion's case, everything gets +1 HP, which is pretty bad considering we're trying to run out the clock!

Anyway, there's a lot of attacks directed at that southwest building, so let's dunk a Firefly first.

Swap Mech disrupts the Hornet's move, and I accidentally on purpose give a demonstration of a feature of the push effect. If a push would move the target into an occupied space, both the target and anything on the destination takes 1 damage. Properly used, this is a good way to get some extra chip damage (and is therefore a nice benefit for the Flame Mech). Improperly used, you do stupid garbage like this and hurt your own team. This is probably fine though.

And check it: the train got through without a scratch!

This is why I like train missions, by the way: you only have three turns, rather than four, and as soon as you have run the clock on a mission...

All the remaining Vek flee underground, and you complete the mission.

There are three types of reward for completing objectives. The two we got are reputation, which we can cash at the end of this island for new swag. There's also reactor cores...

And power! If we pull this mission off right, we get an extra bit of power to pad out our grid!

This one's not gonna be easy, though. Any mission with three objective rewards also guarantees an Alpha on the map immediately, and here we have the Alpha Firefly. You can always see the Alpha when choosing the mission, so if it's one you don't want to tango with, feel free to back out.

One thing Into the Breach does very well is incentivizing protecting the structures around the map. Both the flavor quotes from your pilots and these tiny boxes whenever things happen around them give a lot of character to those tiny rectangles.

The Alpha Firefly immediately takes an acid bath in the corner, rendering it immune to basically anything I could try to do to it. THANKS, DICK.

Once again, though, Camila dodges the Leaper's web, freeing her up to do more mischief elsewhere.

Sadly, she can't even get close enough to the Alpha Firefly to do anything more than sacrifice her life to stop it. Annoying, and not particularly worth it here.

Instead, I settle for parking her on the spawn. It'll damage her mech, but that's at least cutting off a Vek from making things worse. Never forget to deal with those spawns, because too many Vek at once will wreck you.

I throw off most of the attacks, but the Alpha Firefly's hit is... Resisted?

Kalir 03-29-2018 02:25 PM

So, that percentage labeled Grid Defense is your effective chance for any attack on a structure to negate the hit outright, no matter how powerful. It is NEVER to be relied upon, but I won't turn up my nose on saving us from losing two power!

Meanwhile, the shenanigans I pulled with the Leaper force it to attack the Soldier Psion. Vek can absolutely damage each other, and getting them to do so is critical to keeping large numbers of Vek in check.

Exhibit B. This should kill off the weaker Firefly while also chipping away at the Alpha's health.

Also I telprot the Leaper into a fire for giggles.

Over on the other side of the world, the Meteor Mech is keeping that Firefly focused on smashing the mountains. Mountains can take two hits, and then they break and are rubble. The damage value is irrelevant in how smashed they are.

Unfortunately, this situation is a bit too much for me to handle. The Meteor Mech cannot fire directly adjacent to itself, but if it could, I could stop that entire problem by shoving the Leaper into the Hornet or vice versa.

Still, this here isn't a bad consolation prize.

Meanwhile, our only damaging attack we have right now. And with the A.C.I.D. on top of that, we can drop the Alpha in a single strike.

Unfortunately, even with all of that, the Hornet still manages to smash a structure.

This is the other way Into the Breach incentivizes protecting the structures. Between the characters talking about the situation and that grim red Casualties indicator, every single hit that gets through the grid feels just awful, even if there's nothing you could have realistically done.

That said, the turn after that is pretty much mop-up.

The Meteor Mech can handle that far Leaper, which is the only actual danger here, with one move.

But even though the Swap Mech can't do anything, the game by default leaves this up if you have units left who can act, just to be sure you don't miss anything.


But hey, we still won that mission and it was only slightly due to that grid defense!

Still, you should be careful about taking those high threat missions. That could've gone far worse than it already did.

Like this mission right here? Nope. Nothing doing, buddy. They provide an A.C.I.D. Tank as an ally so you can douse enemies, but that doesn't really do much for us considering that doesn't amplify fire damage.

Instead, we'll tackle this objective.

These two-health Acid Vats are our objective here: kill them and turn the tiles they're on into A.C.I.D. pools. Unlike the puddles, full pools also count as water, which drown most Vek and cancel attacks from non-flyers.

One thing I want to point out about Leapers is their movement style. They have pretty high move, and count as flying for every space that isn't their start or destination. Clever players can abuse terrain to block many ground-bound enemies from going places, but that doesn't work on Leapers. (Things that work: killing them.)

Anyway the plan here is simple to start. Lighting the vats on fire is a fine way to destroy them, and chip damage is always nice.

I want the Swap Mech further out here so as to bait the Leaper into coming over towards it, we'll see how that works.

Psions that die stop providing their boost immediately, which can and does kill Vek.

Well, that's not a great state. It works, but everyone's too focused down there now. I should be leaving that Hornet alone and focusing on the north half of the map, but eh.

I can, at least, negate all the damage everything takes this round.

And more things catch fire! Hooray!

Kalir 03-29-2018 02:27 PM

With that, both vats are destroyed, creating some very favorable terrain for the Flame Mech.

Unfortunately, my laser focus on the objective has gotten me in trouble before, and it'll happen again. That's a lot of attacks I have to handle (although that Hornet in the north is fine).

One very important lesson to learn in this game is that mech damage is always better to take than grid damage. Mechs can be repaired easily and pilots can be replaced, but you have to complete a mission or clear an island to even get a chance of restoring grid. As such, we'll have the Flame Mech aided by the Swap Mech block the shot from this Firefly.

Also we'll dunk this loser because we can.

And the Leaper finishes off the Hornet for us!

Unfortunately, now we have a very big problem.

The rest of the map isn't a threat at all, but there is only one scenario in which Peter here doesn't die, and that's if he hits the city in front of him with fire. This damages the grid from the fire damage, but pushes the Leaper into his mech, killing it with the chip damage. But are you seriously expecting me to weigh Peter's life over approximately 150 others?

Nobody said this would be easy.

But we did, at least, save the cities and complete the mission.

It was pretty heavy to do, though.

Okay, melodrama aside: losing pilots in this game is not the end of the world. In other tactical games with permadeath, each unit that dies represents a huge potential loss of resources you have no real way of recouping due to their levels. Frequently, it's reason enough to savescum if at all possible.

With Into the Breach, though, any pilot that dies in action does not render that Mech unusable (and if you find a way to repair that Mech midfight, the pilot survives). Further, the levels range from 1 to 3, and the skills you could get are nice, but potentially obtainable on another pilot. You obviously don't want to lose a pilot if you can afford it, but it's not the end of the world if you do. We'll be able to find another pilot as we go.

Let's move on to our next mission. This one introduces teleporters!

These work like the Swap Mech's teleporter, but with the targeted spaces being the color-coded ones. Anything that ends its movement, forced or otherwise, on one teleporter space warps to its pair.

And we're not done yet! It's time for a secret extra thing!

Time Pods have a random chance of appearing at the start of any given mission, and are almost always worth your time to protect. Either move a mech onto its space, or keep it safe for the mission. This is easier to do than it sounds, as the Vek will never intentionally move to that space or attack it: you have to force them to do so or accidentally destroy it yourself.

As such, I'm not going to spend a lot of time sending a mech over there, and just focus on the mission.

There's just one problem: I'm an idiot. I should've actually paid attention the the spawn-blocking part of the mission and used the Meteor Mech to hit the Soldier Psion, rather than wasting the Flame Mech on it. But damn it all, I wanted to show off how teleporters work.

This forces the Meteor and Swap Mechs to do some very convoluted garbage to protect everything.

Seriously, what the hell is this.

It takes all of a single turn for my tomfoolery to be swiftly punished as an Alpha Hornet enters the fray. Those bad boys attack two spaces at once for 2 damage apiece, making them one of the best units in the game for killing structures en masse. Worse, that blue teleporter is providing them with an annoying degree of protection from my Swap Mech, and the Meteor Mech is in pretty poor positioning.

What did we learn from this, everyone? Simple: pay attention to the mission! I could've easily made this turn much safer by actually blocking spawns earlier, and at this point I need to get every single objective completed, which comes at a huge cost to the grid.

We got a bit of grid defense this turn, but not nearly enough, and that Hornet's attack goes through.

What's more, the next turn is going to be even worse, since I still have to block Vek spawns, forcing the Meteor Mech to take the full burden of protecting those three structures. It is not remotely equipped for the job.

Still, it can at least get the Alpha safely teleported away.

Kalir 03-29-2018 02:29 PM

And we lose more grid.

Honestly, this wouldn't have happened if I wasn't in LP mode. The teleporter was fun to show off, but seriously I should've left that Soldier Psion to the Meteor Mech and let the Flame Mech block spawns.

The next turn proves even worse, as the Meteor Mech is too far backed up to meaningfully affect the field at all.

I can get the Leaper no problem.

But if I were to teleport the Firefly onto this space, they just hit a structure anyway, and I'm not about to lose more grid power if I can afford it.

I try to find another way, using my once-per-mission Reset Turn ability.

Using a limited version of the breach technology that permits time travel...

We head back to the start of this turn.

Unfortunately, I see no possible option but to bodyblock the last attack with the Swap Mech. Again, this will be fatal to Mateo.

I swear I've won this game on Hard before.

But hey, all is not lost!

We protected the Time Pod as well as all the other objectives! That means...

We have a chance to get a new piece of tech or even a new pilot!

Or we can just get the pod's reactor core that every single one of the stupid things has, that's fine too.

Anyway I got both my pilots killed on the first island, that's pretty good.

As soon as you've cleared your fourth mission on the island, you'll be called to defend the Corporate HQ from the Vek Leader in the area.

I pass the Swap Mech a Reactor Core to get its Teleporter into a real state...

And prepare to do battle with the Beetle Leader.

There aren't nearly as many varieties of Leader class enemies as most Vek, which is kind of disappointing to me. Anyway, the Beetle Leader employs the same charging tactic as its lesser cousins, running pell-mell in a straight line until it hits its destination, pushing it and dealing damage. The Leader brings its own unique twist with the Flaming Abdomen, which also lights all the spaces it passes over on fire. This is, of course, Very Good for us.

Our objectives are simple: kill the big one and protect the other big one.

I swear I know what I'm doing.

Oh, one other thing: every Leader enemy has the Massive trait, rendering it immune to drowning. And attacks can go through water tiles without being interrupted, so that Beetle will happily charge right through the A.C.I.D. to mess up the structure behind it.

So, let's see. Leader enemies always attack first, attack order is usually determined by spawn priority. Enemies first out on the map get first blood.

Let's start by forcing the Swap Mech out of the Leaper's clutches.

We can then safely dunk the Leader, nullifying its attack and coating it with A.C.I.D.

Nice. That just leaves the Firefly, which we can bodyblock.

Kalir 03-29-2018 02:30 PM

I could've killed off the Leaper instead, but everything needs to be on fire. EVERYTHING.

Thank you for your commentary, Placeholder Bot.

I don't see a practical way to stop the Beetle's attack this turn, and I do see a way to hit it with A.C.I.D. boosted friendly fire, so I'll leave it where it is and start with this.

The Swap Mech can stooge the Leapers..

While Camila does the next best thing to spawnblocking.

I should point out that a lot of the threat here is because I'm on hard mode. Enemies are surviving and attacking in situations they wouldn't normally be able to because of the increased presence of Alpha enemies.

Still, I'm not doing too badly. Losing grid power here and there, sure, but I'm still within an acceptable range.

Hey how about you two fight each other for me?

If the Firefly shot first that'd be great, but I will settle for their death.

Camila takes down the Leaper, getting our first level!

And that brings us to the final turn.

All we have to do is protect the structures and kill the big guy and we're set!

The Soldier Psion makes it tough by bodyblocking Camila's path to it, but nothing a bit of creative kinetic energy can't solve, right?

That should be more than enough.

Nailed it.

The Swap Mech can safely handle the other two...

And the mission is complete!

That was kind of clutch on that last turn. Even slightly worse positioning would've cost me the objective, grid, or both.

Anyway, levels! Whenever a pilot gains a level, they can randomly add either +1 reactor power, +1 move, +2 HP, or +3 grid defense to their mech. Of these, grid defense is the worst and reactor power is best, but since there's only two levels and pilots aren't super critical to hold onto, it's not the end of the world if you don't get good levels.

Also, since we got every objective completed, we're given a bonus! This is always a choice between new tech, a pilot, or +2 grid power.

The weapon seen here is the Vice Fist, the signature weapon of the Judo Mech. It deals 1 damage and chucks the target over its head to the other side, although it cannot do this if that space is occupied. It's not a great selection, and I wouldn't really consider it very hard even if I wasn't down two pilots.

Instead, Isaac Jones joins the crew as pilot of the Swap Mech! As the main temporal physicist behind the breach technology, he's got enough knowhow to permit us to use Reset Turn a second time each mission. This is really powerful for new or sloppy players, less so for experienced players. Still, I'll take him.

Additionally, we can use all that corporate reputation we've built up to request aid from Detritus. They always have four random weapons available for 2 reputation, with one of those on sale for 1.

The first one is the Repair Drop, a once-per-mission full heal for all of your mechs. While this can save damaged mechs and their pilots, it's also not really worth it to me to keep, since most of the time if a pilot is dying, it's because you made a mistake.

Next up and on sale is the Confuse Shot, a Science class weapon that reverses the target's aiming direction. While certainly adequately shenanigany and very cheap to use, the Swap Mech is already perfectly reasonable at employing shenanigans with its Teleporter.

Next to that is the Rocket Artillery, a powerful Ranged class weapon usually found on the Rocket Mech. It deals 2 damage and pushes whatever it hits, while also generating smoke behind the mech. This gives us a beefy mode of offense if we don't need to push lots of enemies or place fire with the Meteor Mech, so it gets bought.

Finally, we have the Self-Destruct. This instantly kills the user and anything next to it, once per mission. You can combine this with stuff like the Repair Drop, but you generally have to be built specifically for using Self-Destruct for it to be at all viable, and I don't feel like buying both that and Repair Drop.

You can also buy reactor cores at 3 reputation, and grid power at 1. I pick up two reactor cores. I could've gone for charging up the grid, but I feel confident that I can protect what's left.

I upgrade the teleporter, demonstrating Isaac's signature stutter, and install the Rocket Artillery on the Meteor Mech.

And that's it, Detritus down! I don't think I'll be taking voting on the other three islands, because again, a lot of thought goes into choosing the proper next island. But if there's a huge amount of demand for one of those islands, maybe we can see it.

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