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Into the Breach, one of the Switch’s best strategy games, just got even better

FTL: Faster Than Light developer Subset Games has just pushed out a huge update for Into The Breach – and it makes the game feel new again.

Into the Breach is an all-timer. An easy 5/5 from me. It’s deceptive how much strategy and forethought a simple 8x8 grid can conceal. A quick glimpse of the game – teeming with mechs, alien beasts, skyscrapers, and mountains – and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was something to do with Evangelion or Godzilla. And to be honest, you’d be in the right ballpark.

But Into the Breach is very much its own thing. A strategy game pieced together with watchmaker-like precision, where all the tiny moving parts work harmoniously to create something infinitely replayable. Yes, every encounter takes place on an 8x8 grid. And yes, every level will see you bombarding, shooting, punching, pushing, or pulling enemies until you save the day (again). But the depth of it all, and how it makes your tiny acts of heroism feel iconic and herculean every time… that’s the special sauce. That’s the mech pilot fantasy Into the Breach does so well. It's such a shame it was written by Chris Avellone, who would later be ousted from the industry on the back of a series of sexual harassment allegations.

But perhaps the most compelling part of Into The Breach is how it forces you to question “damn, how am I going to get out of this alive?” about three times per level. The game masterfully outmaneuvers you, pushes you into a corner, and gives you the tools to break free from certain defeat. If you’re canny enough. It never feels unfair, and it never feels hard for the sake of it. Every move you make, every action you take – it all needs to be thought through and executed perfectly, lest you succumb to the piercing beam of an alien megabeast and come crashing down into a nearby housing block.

When the game first launched back in 2018 – four years ago! – its minimalistic combat and roster of pilots and mechs was enough to seize my heart in mechanical hands and keep it for good. And that was only with a relatively small number of units to choose from – to harvest for their skill and mix-and-match into the perfect, timeline-saving trio of badass space marines.

Imagine my shock, then, when I boot up Twitter to find a note about a huge, free new update! An update that adds five new mech squads and nearly forty new weapons. An update that thumbs more enemies, more bosses, and more mission objectives into the game’s already brimming offering. An update that introduces four new pilots and triple the amount of skills any pilot can earn when they get promoted. It’s obscene. The joy in Into the Breach always lay in experimenting with different pilots in different mechs – seeing who could do what, and what tricks they could pull out the bag when an insurmountable push came to immovable shove.

To learn that there’s so much more, now, layered onto all that? Well, it’s like watching the Evangelion remake movies after being stuck with the original series for so long. Or checking out Shin Godzilla after only ever having seen the 1954 one before. It redefines the experience, injects it with so much more – makes you go back to the game, nearly half a decade later, and take in its gorgeous art style, its intricate mechanics, its devotion to easily-readable mech combat once again.

The whole game oozes immaculate vibes.

The update, called the Advanced Edition update, is out now for PC and Switch. It actually takes some conscious effort to update on Switch, too – it’s not as simple as waiting for the download to happen automatically. Per the developer, if you find it doesn't update automatically, you may have to open the game's options on the Switch home screen and manually check for the software update (just hit the ‘+’ button on the Into the Breach icon on your menu screen and you’ll see it). On PC, the process should be a little more simple and the update should pop up on your game automatically.

So, if you’ve been after an incredible little strategy game on your Switch, I can’t recommend Into the Breach enough – whether you’re returning to its doomed world or simply looking for something to play until Digimon Survive comes out, this game is an all-timer. Better yet, it’s super cheap, too: $10 in the US and £7.60 in the UK.

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