Published on August 8th, 2016 | by Chris Scott0
Summary: The cool concept won't save it for most.
You are alone on a desolate planet, awakened from your cryogenic sleep because something has breached the system. Both your life support and the fuel systems that keep everything running need to be repaired. You have eight days to do this in before the reserve air is depleted and you die. Welcome to Breached.
To stay alive you’ll need to take a UAV out into the wild, scavenging the desolate ruins of a long forgotten civilization, for parts to repair your life support system and minerals to synthesize into the fuel concoction you need. There are magnetic anomalies floating around the different sectors that will cause you issues as you pilot your UAV but once you’ve figured out their quirks, the only real enemy to your survival is time.
Every activity in Breached takes up a set amount of time, so managing your time becomes the most important aspect of the game. Taking the UAV out for scavenging missions takes up a large percentage of your day. Once you bring stuff back to your base, you’ll need to open the supply capsules or spend time formulating your fuel to the proper levels. These final two activities take up less time than flying a UAV but you only have so much time in a day so opening up the wrong capsules or making a mistake in your fuel formula can set you on the verge of death. The problem is that these in-module actions are random. While your diagnostic equipment may tell you that you have a 60% chance of getting a certain part, there is a 40% chance of not getting that part and if that is the part you need, well… you are boned. And fuel synthesis is even more random.
While scavenging you’ll collect three different types of minerals to help concoct your fuel. You’ll then use these minerals to varying degrees to create your fuel. The actual formula for the fuel though changes every playthrough and there is no indicator on the front end as to how to approach it. There are markers that indicate what you used previously and what percentage of purity you’ve reached which can help you to get where you need to be but more often than not I found myself running out of time and dead before figuring out the trial and error puzzle. And with each playthrough of Breached taking roughly an hour, dying because of circumstances completely outside of your control becomes very frustrating.
It’s weird that so much of your success is reliant on random factors because everything else in the game is very static. Each time you play you’ll enter notes in a daily log and during these entries you have the option to select the direction of the log’s narrative. But those choices don’t seem to mean anything and always ends up at the exact same spot, even when you finally get lucky and hit on all the objectives before time runs out. Even weirder is that exploration becomes a memorization game. Supply capsules and mineral deposits are always in the exact same location on the three different area maps. So by your third or fourth run you’ll know where everything is and how to get it, the game then just becomes a game of chance as you open capsules and randomly try to synthesize your fuel. This eliminates the sense of urgency on the supply runs and makes the random sections even more troublesome.
Despite its troubling issues, I did enjoy Breached. The world that the game creates, through the daily logs and barren ruins, was intriguing enough to pull me through the six or so playthroughs I did of the game before finally surviving. And the desire to figure out the game’s puzzles, randomness and all, drove me to push past the parts I was getting frustrated with. I wasn’t going to let the game beat me. But for many people, there just might not be enough to Breached for it to be worth their while. And because of that it joins the long list of indie titles that fail to fully realize their potential and are unfortunately destined to be quickly forgotten by most.
This review was written with material provided by the publisher on the PC. For more on our review process, please read here.