Picked this up cheap and now I know why. It was a blind purchase and it's been a while since I've played a driving game and this one looked like fun. As far as I can tell it's sort of a multi-player team-based Burnout where you drive, smash into others (there are even spawning vehicles for you to take down) and generally drive around like crazy. It has a progression system and lots of (seemingly) neat features BUT. The big BUT is that it is online-only and the servers shut down after I played it. So, I could play the game vs AI drivers and get something of a feel of the game but it won't track any of the progression so you can't really get that far.
I played a few modes, they seemed ok, the action is fast and fun. I'm not sure how much variety there is nor what I'm missing out on exactly, but I can't tell.
I really wish that when companies decided to shut games down they released the server code for free and let the fan community take over. I'd even be fine with them licensing the code for zero to fans that would set up servers and whatnot (if the concern is about not wanting to share code). In other words, once you've decided not to support online play anymore (in this case the entire game), let others take over if they want to.
First game of the semester for my critical game design class (Spring 2023). I hop to remember/be able to find the time to write about all of them. We'll see.
So, this semester's theme is "turn-based tactical" games - and I picked Into the Breach because I'd been meaning to play it for a while and it seems like a high-water mark in the genre. I've also ruled out games that are too expensive (>$20), too old, too popular, and so on. Into the Breach is perhaps one of the more famous ones we'll play this semester...and, it's really good!
Last semester we did rogue-likes, so for students who were in the class last semester this was a perfect segue into this semester. It's a rogue-like in (sort of?) interesting ways, but way more interesting as a turn-based tactical game. It was fun to struggle against the game before realizing that I was approaching the game "wrong" and that I could do better.
The experience of the game changed for me when I had the (maybe false?) epiphany/assumption that it should be possible to clear each stage achieving all of the stage's goals. In other words, despite the randomization of certain elements, I assumed that the game's generator created a puzzle for which there was always at least one solution. This mindset helped - and it's possible that I'm wrong - but it made me approach each level with a much more cautious perspective. If you don't assume there's a perfect solution you're more likely to just wander in and try to "win" while failing to prevent the loss of side-objectives and so on. And the side-objectives, at least from my experience, are critical if you really want to make progress.
Weird catch - and here's where I could be wrong - if each level has a solution (regardless of your mechs and their abilities, etc) THEN, what's the point of the game's progression system? (other than to make you feel good/better because you're stronger/better equipped? Hmm...maybe my assumption is wrong (even if it helps me play better).
Also, I think that once you get to the final island it might be possible to get setup in a can't win situation. BUT, at least before that you can?
I need to think about this, or at least do some research. Each game is long enough that losing due to RNG feels too punishing. It's definitely in the spirit of rogue-likes BUT not in the spirit of tactical games, so I think there's some tension there... I'll have to read up on design diaries and talks about the game. I'm pretty sure this was discussed somewhere (podcast maybe?).
At least I was able to clear the game once (and then realizing I had unlocked a bunch of stuff, to I tried a new game with new mechs and it was also fun as much as the new mechs really bent all the learning I did for the starter ones by operating differently).
I look forward to getting back to this one later - I never bothered to unlock the 4th island!
To my surprise I kept on playing to the end. Probably something like 10 hours in total?
This is such a strange game - though I did learn that apparently it's a movie tie-in. This explains a lot actually, because the game's production values and art design are really good. It's the gameplay that's surprisingly lacking in polish (jumping continues to be my bane in this game). That being said, as I played more I decided to dip in and try some of the magic spell stuff, and yes, it was fun. Luckily for me the game wasn't too challenging, but it was hard enough to keep my attention and the more I played the better I felt I got - counters, etc. So, I got better at all the timing-related combat stuff, which felt good.
I thought the final boss was particularly fun. It's not really a challenge - at this point in the game you've the Monkey King is back, having lost the last chain, and a giant weird worm-rock-monster thing with legs appears and you fight it. But, you're basically immune and so you're sort of floating in air doing attacks all to charge up some super attack. Every now and then the monster swallows you and you button-mash and wiggle the stick, and an animation plays that's really funny (you're seeing the monster from the outside and you're like bouncing around inside it, like a cartoon). Then you hit the super attack and the game ends - with cut-scenes, credits and more cut-scenes.
In addition to flaky jumping and general repetitiveness of the gameplay, one of the more annoying things is that once you meet him you're accompanied by this pig-man general. He's always there but conveniently disappears when you start fighting, has no trouble with the platforming (often just disappears in a cloud and re-appears once you've made it to the next ledge, for e.g.). It felt a bit lame to have a sidekick that was supposedly useful but useless in practice. It's a minor quibble - and I'm guessing that implementing additional behaviors and whatnot was out of the dev time scope, but still.
Ok, so I "shipped" a few people but, the more I played the more tired I became. While I enjoyed the relaxed and cozy vibe of the game, after a while it just started to feel like busywork to move the story along. Collect 10 of these and find 5 of those to upgrade this. It's not that the collecting and upgrading bothered me, it's just that it started to feel like it was taking longer and longer to get any of it done. Even the fast travel option didn't feel fast enough because you still then needed to sail to the next town or whatever.