- Format: PC
- Unleashed: Out Now
- Publisher: Nkidu Games Inc
- Developer: Drama Drifters
- Players: 1
- Site: http://breached-game.com/
- Game code provided by PR
Breached is an interesting game. It takes an idea that is both complex and simple at the same time, and runs with it. It’s interesting but not hugely fun. It takes survival and exploration to their lowest possible extremes, so; lots of exploration in large(ish), separate areas and survival is a matter of completing two tasks within an eight day time frame or else you die.
Awaking from hibernation – of the sci-fi cryo-sleep variety, not the bear or hedgehog variety – you find yourself in the pleasant situation of having no fuel, little oxygen, and lots of broken systems including the systems that automate the fuel synthesiser and the life support. Luckily, you still have access to two other major systems: Drone control which allows you to have eyes and “hands” on the surface of the planet and, most importantly, your diary.
You are a particularly frail being both physically and mentally, and as your groggy self comes to terms with said frailty you still have to stop yourself from going the way of the Dodo, which incidentally seems to be the way everyone on the planet seems to have gone. As your interface with the technology around you is powered by your own physical and mental strength, there is only so much you can do in a day without resting. So each day you have to weigh up your options – which each use a percentage of energy – and do what’s best for you; explore and gain new materials or life support parts, or stay in and salvage things you’ve found or try and synthesise some fuel.
Exploring is all about the lovely outdoors, a desert full of things that were once filled with life. Structures that once held value or residential facilities are empty or destroyed, and much of the landscape is comprised of dunes or valleys. The only things that really concern you now are the mineral deposits, the capsules littered about the place, and the Anomalies.
Taking command of one of the drones is the only way to give you any hope of survival. Finding minerals and capsules is easy enough, given enough exploring, though whether you find exactly what you want is less than likely. Also, you’re limited to taking three things back to base which is restrictive and sometimes a gamble. It’s a gamble because while you may well be the last living thing on the planet, the Anomalies are an issue – and they might just be sentient.
Anomalies are huge spheres of pulsating light that interfere with the electronics of your drones, shutting them down if they touch them. There are three varieties too; Black, Yellow and Green. Black is the least threatening as they are slow moving and even though they follow you, you’ve got a good chance of getting away. Green ones seem to have a set path, possibly randomised, but unless you smack into one you’ll be fine.
Yellow, however, are like pulsating mines that draw you into their sphere of influence; gripping you tightly in their magnetic fields. As your electronics malfunctions and the electronic gasps and crackles begin to take hold, Yellows end up being like monsters from your nightmares, their magnetic pulls being like monsters grabbing your ankles as you run from them. Most of the time you can wrestle yourself free from their grip but on occasion, you will be yanked back over and over in a torturous way. It’s genuinely nerve-wracking to be caught by these when you have such a limited amount of resources to complete your projects and survive.
Once you’ve done all the field work that you need, the lab is where you hack capsules for parts and try and synthesise fuel. Hacking materials is merely the click of a button and gains you precious resources that will allow you to breathe, while synthesis requires more thought. Synthesis is a crapshoot. You take the materials collected from the field and make a selection of nine bits from the three minerals and smoosh them together (we assume) and see how pure the fuel is as a percentage. As it can be any mixture of the three materials there is at least… um, three times three, times three… probably, plus the three*… there are more possibilities than there are days in the game. It means that you have a fairly poor chance at surviving if you don’t get it correct accidentally in your first few attempts, as your resources dwindle and you won’t have the time to collect enough new pieces to stop yourself from suffocating before your fuel is ready.
While it looks like a purely VR game, it does support the 99% too. It looks stunning, which is something we can say without hyperbole. It’s smooth as anything in motion and the visual effects are about as high a quality as you could imagine, with the glitch effects being particularly great when combined with the audio.
The Diary Log is where you end up each time you start a new day. It’s where your character of dubious background ruminates over what’s happened and where they’re headed in this short timespan that they have left. From there you can scour through old messages by navigating through hashtags (which normal people use in diary logs of course). It’s a little reminiscent of Her Story that way but it is far friendlier with the UI, allowing all logs to be accessed from a side bar, much like a table of contents.
Breached is not a game that you likely finish first time around, probably not second time either (though we got lucky) due to the randomising element to the fuel synthesis; but you get most of the story first time so you can quickly run new attempts until you luck out. It’s an interesting enough story but it’s quite dry, and requires work to uncover. Like sightseeing, it’s a lovely time while you’re there but repeatedly holidaying there would be dull.