Y’know what would suck? Being trapped in an underground bunker on a desert planet with dwindling resources. Boy, I sure would hate to be in that situation, am I right?
Breached places you in the role of a faceless man (or woman, it’s not specified), whom for lack of an official name, I shall refer to as “The Dude”. The Dude has awoken from artificial hibernation in a dark bunker somewhere on a desert planet. An unspecified event has damaged his oxygen generator and poked a hole in his fuel line, leaving him with only 8 days of air and power in reserve before he goes kaput.
Unable to actually leave the bunker, the Dude mobilizes remote drones to retrieve radioactive materials to synthesize fuel from and scraps of equipment to salvage parts for the oxygen generator. He can broadcast to drones in several set locations and use its built-in containers to harvest the various junk he needs. This sounds easy, but the surface is covered in mysterious glowing magnetic anomalies. If an anomaly catches your drone, it’ll trash it on the spot and it’ll drop anything it harvested. The drones have thrusters that can get up to decent speeds, though the terrain is incredibly hilly, so more often than not, I went too fast over a hill, and ended up flying straight into a group of anomalies.
Refueling and repairing the oxygen are kind of like puzzles in themselves; there are three types of mineral you can gather, and the correct blend will make the fuel you need. The problem is that the Dude doesn’t have a clue what the blend is, so you basically need to just get as much mineral as you can and then start making educated guesses. The computer will tell you how close you are to getting it right each time, so with enough minerals, this isn’t too hard. More difficult is the oxygen generator. Any piece of machinery you harvest from a capsule contains electronic components in various amounts. The problem, however, is twofold: one, it’s weirdly difficult to find capsules. I skimmed all three locations and only found around five, one which I lost because I was caught by an anomaly. There are plenty of miscellaneous parts, but there’s a special filter that’s only in, like, one object, so if you don’t find the right one, you’re basically screwed.
Now, the wonky controls, the fuel-type bingo, and the garbage lottery, while annoying, would be manageable on their own. Here’s the rub: the Dude only has one hundred stamina per day that he can spend on activities (because sitting motionless in a bunker is so god damn tiring). Scrapping capsules, synthesizing fuel, and sending out drones all take thirty to forty stamina a pop. Even worse, as you get closer to the end of your eight day limit, the Dude starts getting sick, and your stamina is arbitrarily cut in half. On the last day, I was only missing one part of the oxygen generator, but started the day with only fifty stamina. Even if I had sent out a drone to find some capsules, I wouldn’t have had enough stamina left to open even one. In other words, I was DOA, which felt a little unfair.
Credit where it’s due, Breached is a very pretty game. Though there’s not a whole lot to explore, what you do get is a breathtaking view of a desert world, littered with remnants of a lost civilization. There is also a hidden narrative revealed through the Dude’s journal logs. Every new log has a hashtag on it that the computer can use to find logs from years past, showing just how long the Dude has been cooped up in the bunker and how the civilization he once knew crumbled.
Being pretty and having a mildly interesting narrative, however, does not a fun game make. What it makes is a performance art piece; the view was pretty and I was a little curious about the Dude’s origins, but by the end of my two hour playthrough, my eyes were glazing over with boredom and frustration. It’s only $6.99, so maybe if you’re a bit cleverer with resource management and like pretty deserts, you might get a bit more out of Breached than I did. There are, apparently, multiple endings. I wouldn’t know; after everything shut down on the final day, I couldn’t really be bothered to play again.