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The Ones I Finished Video Games

Into the Breach: What Counts as Beating the Game?

Into the Breach is the 243rd video game that I’ve completed in my life. Though this game calls into the question what one means when they say they’ve “completed” a game. Here are my brief thoughts on the game:

Netflix recently published the mobile port of Into the Breach, playable as long as you have a Netflix subscription. I availed myself of the “free” game and found it to be exactly the sort of game that I would enjoy having on my phone. And that’s saying something because I tend not to think on my phone as a gaming device. Rather, it exists in an entirely different category in my mind than the myriad devices in my little collection of gaming handhelds: from my Nintendo 3DS to my PlayStation Vita to my Retroid Pocket 2 Plus. Even my old Android phone has become a dedicated emulation device. Simply put, I generally prefer not to have a bunch of video games on the phone that I use every day.

I will, however, concede the existence of one—and only one—game on my phone at any given time. Just something to mess around with occasionally and casually. That’s how Into the Breach ended up on my phone.

The game features a simple concept. You command a unit of 3 giant mech units that you move around an 8 by 8 grid map. The goal is to defend the power grid and destroy the invading force of monsters called the Vek, while achieving very specific objectives. You only have 4 or 5 turns in a stage to complete, and doing well rewards you with experience points and resources that you can use to improve your mechs. It seems like a lot at first, but it’s easy to learn the basics and lightning fast to play. It’s perfect for mobile.

But Into the Breach is hard. After the tutorial mission, I immediately put the game on the easiest difficulty setting, and I doubt that I’ll ever bump it back up. I still got whooped a few times before I got a good grasp of the game’s mechanics.

Losing ends up being a part of the game’s simple story. Your mech squad is the last of Earth’s protection against the Vek hoard. If you are defeated, you can choose one of your pilots (who has their own unique skills) to make some kind of quantum leap to another timeline where you can try again. It’s a little bit of progress that you carry over from one run to another.

So what does it mean to complete this game? Usually, I say that I’ve beat a game if I’ve seen the end credits, but a run-based game like Into to the Breach offers up it’s credits after a single successful run. There are 13 total squads of mechs to unlock, each with their own set of achievements to earn. It’s meant to be “beat” several times. I have unlocked 4 of the squads, successfully completed all of the stages on all 5 of the islands multiple times, and seen most of what the game has to offer.

I feel like I’ve had the full Into the Breach experience. It’s the perfect sort of game to go back to for a few minutes at a time; though I may never earn all of the games achievements. It has earned its spot as the one and only game that will live on my phone for the foreseeable future. If you’ve already got a Netflix subscription (or you’re “borrowing” your friend’s login), there’s no reason not to give this game a try. If not, it’s available on PC and Switch.

In the meantime, I’m curious what you think. What counts as “beating” or “completing” a video game?

I’ve tentatively ranked it 142 out of 243.

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