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Into the Breach beginners guide

Struggling with the new game from the FTL folks? These tips should help!

Russ Frushtick is the director of special projects, and he has been covering the world of video games and technology for over 15 years. He co-founded Polygon in 2012.

The creators of FTL have launched their next game: Into the Breach. Good news: It’s way easier to understand than FTL. Bad news: It’s still super freakin’ hard. But here’s some good news once again! We’re here to help you through your beginning hours so you can get a handle on the basics and crush the Vek spawn into oblivion.


It may not be immediately clear when you start Into the Breach, but the buildings scattered around each of the maps are essentially your life. Every time an enemy takes one out, you’ll lose one bar of your power grid. Run out of power grid bars, and it’s game over.

This power grid persists from level to level, unlike your mech health, which always resets. To that end, if you have to choose between a mech taking damage and a building, always choose the mech. I promise it’ll pay off.


Your first instinct in Into the Breach may be to run around, punching and shooting everything to death. That’ll get you through the first couple levels, but pretty soon it’ll be clear that your three measly mechs will get outnumbered.

To even the playing field, you’ll have to take advantage of positioning. Your starting squad, the Rift Walkers, have two mechs that are great for shoving folks around. The Prime’s power punch will shove enemies one space away from you, while the artillery gunner can push up to four units away from the initial blast point.

How does this positioning help you? Well, smart movement can shove a powerful alien away from a city, or block an incoming underground Vek from spawning on the next turn (which, in turn, causes them to take damage). These combos are key to your survival, so you’ll want to get used to mastering them.


Periodically throughout your adventures, you’ll come across time pods that crash down on the map. Always, always, always save these (simply by leaving a mech on that space at the end of a turn). They contain extremely handy upgrades for your team.

For one, they’ll usually have reactor cores. We’ll talk about these more in a second, but you should collect as many of these as possible.

Occasionally these pods will also contain pilots. Each Into the Breach game starts you off with one named pilot and two anonymous ones. Ideally by the end of the game you’ll have all three, as the named ones offer direct upgrades with more skills to unlock. As a bonus, when you unlock a pilot you’ll be able to select that pilot from your hanger from here on out.

So yeah, save those pods.


I mentioned reactor cores earlier. Think of these almost like upgrade points for your mech powers. The more you have, the more you can unlock on a given mech. Spending a few reactor cores on your standard mech may increase its damage or movement range. Even cooler, while reactor cores are locked to the mech you spend them on, you can rearrange them on that mech as much as you want, so feel free to experiment between missions.


This may prove too difficult for some Into the Breach maps, but try your darndest to complete all of the objectives in each map. Doing so grants you a variety of boons, from bonus reactor cores, to energy for your power grid to reputation.

Reputation is a currency you can spend if you make it to the end of an island. With it you can buy everything from new guns to passive abilities to bonus reactor cores. You’ll lose any reputation you don’t spend at the end of each island, so there’s no reason to save it. And these upgrades will definitely serve you well.


Unlike FTL, where failure started you from scratch, Into the Breach gives you a slight edge after a successful game. At the end of the game, you’ll be able to send one pilot back through time, retaining all their skills. So you’ll essentially start each game fresh with a fully leveled pilot.

Choosing which pilot you send back will be determined by your preferred starting mech team and whether their skills align with that team’s focus. For example, if you’re using a mech that deals self damage whenever it rams into enemies, maybe try using a pilot that grants a starting shield and greater mech health.


Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start going for achievements on your starting Rift Walker mech team. These achievements are relatively straightforward and visible from the pause screen. Some of them, though, are more tricky than others, requiring that you use certain weapon upgrades in wacky ways.

Completing a few of these achievements will earn you coins that you can spend to unlock new mech teams. In addition to having cool new artwork, these mechs come with a wide variety of starting weapons, from swords to chain lighting to shield projectors.

If you’re overwhelmed by the choices, we suggest unlocking the Zenith Guard, which is the squad just beneath the Rift Walkers. While slightly more complicated to play than the Rift Walkers, they’re not quite as overwhelmingly strategic as some of the other squads, and you’ll find them a nice stepping stone to the trickier ones.

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