On completing Breached I felt like I had completely wasted my time. It’s relatively short at around an hour and a half – if you complete it on your first go that is. Breached’s length is both its biggest strength and weakness.
Breached is brought to you by developer Drama Drifters and published by Nkidu Games Inc. The story has a premise that has been so prevalent over the past few years that it isn’t as refreshing as it thinks it is. You’ve awoken on what seems to be an alien planet four years into your supposed nine year cryogenic sleep. Your goal is to use drones to fly around three separate maps to harvest materials to synthesise fuel, collect capsules to gather parts to fix the generator, and do all of that in eight days – before your remaining oxygen supply runs out. Upon fixing these, you can then leave this planet/island and survive. I think.
I keep thinking that I’m missing something with Breached. The blurb states that you’re exploring “in hopes of uncovering – or perhaps avoiding – the uncomfortable truth of what has transpired”. I feel lost because the story is told through scattered journal entries and collectibles, but the majority that I read made absolutely no sense to me. Drama Drifters seem to be selling the idea of replaying the game to uncover more – and I have done a few times, even unlocking all of the secret journal entries – but I still can’t get my head around a lot of them. It doesn’t help that the journal entries span between the year 2233 and present day 2245. To make it worse you unlock journal entries in bulk spread across those years, connected through hashtags. Yes, really. Then there’s the secret logs written some 60 years earlier, so getting your head around any sort of order of events is difficult when the journals appear to you in what seems like a completely random order. Drama Drifters have tried to create intrigue through the entries, but because so few make much sense, I’m more confused than intrigued – yet I can’t help but think that is perhaps intentional for story reasons I can’t divulge.
I started to piece together some story of my character and the history of my surroundings, but whether it’s right I’ve no idea. I’m suddenly thrown into this character’s shoes to fix his predicament, and he appears to have already spent decades here. Later on, you start to gather information as to why your character is so confused, but to get a real sense of why involves unlocking one of the secret logs. Secret logs aren’t necessarily hard to get, but to lock parts of the story behind them seems like a foiled attempt to get players to replay. When I completed Breached, all the questions I had were left unanswered. Not only that, but the ending I got felt like a big middle finger to me of “well you did all that, but it was all for nothing”. Well, that’s just great, thanks a lot. With multiple endings, I sincerely hope there’s an ending that gives you a decent payoff. There’s at least one ending I’m missing; I’m trying to get it but it means going through Breached’s monotonous tedious gameplay again.
But it’s short right, so surely it isn’t a problem? Well, if Breached wasn’t so short, the story would have likely been fleshed out and made a lot clearer to the player, but the gameplay is so simplistic and in all honestly, rather quite dull. If the game was any longer, I’d likely be banging my head against the keyboard with boredom. I feel sorry for any player struggling to complete the game and has to keep replaying -especially if that player eventually gets the “it was all for nothing” ending.
When you’re not reading journal logs (which is a lot of the time), the rest of the game is a case of holding the left mouse button to control a drone looking for bits of metal and some capsules. You’re doing this to be able to fix a generator and synthesise fuel. I feel that I was lucky to complete both objectives on my first playthrough considering how overwrought synthesising fuel seems to be. With each day you have a percentage that represents your energy levels; when you hack a capsule, attempt to synthesise fuel, or send out a drone you use a big chunk of that percentage. You can really only do a maximum of three things each day. In an attempt to liven up the gameplay there are electromagnetic anomalies around each map designed to stop you. An electromagnetic anomaly can shut down your drone causing you to lose everything you’ve picked up. The anomalies weren’t an issue for me and more of a nuisance than anything else. Losing the drone in any way can be pretty damaging to the end goal – especially if it’s because the drone fell through the world, like mine did once.
These issues wouldn’t be so problematic if I was intrigued and invested in surviving. There is definitely intrigue to this island, but what Breached gives you doesn’t feed that. While flying around as a drone you notice how interesting the environment appears to be, and graphically it looks pretty appealing. I’m interested to know more about these huge metal constructions and strange habitats, but the game didn’t give me the information I wanted from it. I am interested in what happened before I took control of this character, but what Breached tells me and doesn’t tell me fails to make me invested in my character in any way. Because the game is so short, the focus is much more on finding the journal entries rather than discovering more about the island. These journals then are integral to your enjoyment of the game; perhaps they may have you completely invested in everything that Breached offers you, but I certainly wasn’t.
Breached is a game that tries to make its story cryptic enough to keep the player interested in replaying it, but its gameplay is too shallow and dull to make replaying seem worthwhile. It’s unfortunate that elements of the story are locked behind secret logs, and the disappointing endings only adds to Breached‘s problems. That said, perhaps some players may find something in here that I haven’t grasped, and may enjoy the short, relaxing nature of Breached. Unfortunately for me, Drama Drifter have attempted to cram a little too much story into such a short amount of time that it’s just too muddled to get to grips with.