Late last year, Netflix Games launched, an in-app marketplace similar to Google Play Pass and Apple Arcade that allows subscribers to download free mobile games without ads or microtransactions. Netflix Games is following Prime Gaming’s lead in adding value to a subscription you’re already paying for, but unfortunately it didn’t have much to offer. Aside from the two well-received Stranger Things games and League of Legends rhythm platformer Hextech Mayhem, most of the others are fairly generic mobile games. There are still fewer than 30 games, and most people probably don’t even know that Netflix offers them.
That’s about to change – or at least it should – because this week Netflix added Into the Breach: Advanced Edition, a re-release of one of the best indie games of all time. Into the Breach had never been released for mobile prior to the new version, and by securing exclusivity, Netflix has shown a cunning I didn’t think was possible. Today is the day you finally launch the Netflix app and tap the game tab at the bottom because Into the Breach is the first game Netflix has to play.
Getting all buzzwords out of the way, Into the Breach is a roguelike turn-based tactical RPG-puzzle game about a small group of mech pilots defending an archipelago from an alien invasion. While each level has a slightly different goal, your task in general is to stop aliens from destroying cities by strategically positioning your units to damage, poke and otherwise manipulate enemies’ position on the map.
Unlike typical tactical games like Fire Emblem or XCOM, battles in Into the Breach are small, focused encounters that challenge you to make perfect moves to minimize damage to your units and structures. You have only three mechs at your disposal, each with their own unique abilities, and you must survive an ever-growing horde of bug-like aliens for a limited number of turns, usually around five.
Luckily, you have near-perfect intelligence on what the enemies will do before they do. When a round begins, the aliens move around the small 36-tile map and choose their targets. As you take control, you can examine each enemy to see exactly what attack they are planning and what effect it will have, as well as their health and any special abilities they possess. In almost every situation there is a perfect way to move your units and attack the enemies to completely negate all potential damage. This can mean knocking an alien away so its attack misses a structure, knocking two aliens into each other so they take extra damage, or even using your mech as a shield to block the damage. Your goal is to study the battlefield and find the perfect turns, and when you manage to block every attack and maximize your turn potential, it’s the most satisfying feeling in the world.
There is a wide variety of mech teams, each with their own unique strengths and abilities. As you advance, you’ll also collect pilots with unique passive abilities and materials to upgrade your units to improve their strength, damage, or give them new usefulness. It’s an endlessly replayable game and the new Advanced Edition adds even more mechs, pilots and challenges. This update is basically a full expansion for Into the Breach and is completely free on the Netflix app.
The mobile overhaul is also exceptionally well done. Nothing was lost in translation, and interacting with all the different on-screen prompts to quickly find the information you’re looking for is easier and more intuitive than ever. The touch controls feel so natural for Into the Breach and I’m surprised it hasn’t been ported to mobile until now. Although I already own the game on Switch and Steam, mobile is by far my preferred way to play.
I generally don’t like celebrating exclusivity, but Netflix has been in need of a high-profile game like Into the Breach for a long time. It’s now available on both Android and iOS to anyone with a Netflix subscription, even if you share the account with your friends and family (at least for now). I had no idea this was coming, but it feels like the perfect match for Netflix gaming. If you missed Into the Breach when it first came out in 2018, now’s your chance to play one of the most polished strategy games of all time – completely for free.
Next up: what would a “faithful” Resident Evil adaptation actually look like?