Breachway is an outstanding space deckbuilder that offers a wide range of satisfying granularity.

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Deep space exploration and spaceship customization are good for you. ‘ol dude-bashing card games don’It doesn’t seem like the two go together but after playing demo for BreachwayI can confidently state that this trio makes a perfect one. 

Breachway Combinations roguelike elementsDeckbuilding is combined with space exploration to create a game that presents new challenges in each star system. The basic hook has you exploring a large region of space while searching for new ship components and thus adding cards to the deck you’ll use in combat. Additionally, you’ll pick up new crew members along the way, each with unique abilities. There are multiple factions in the game and they each control their own pocket of space. There’s a surprising amount of encounters to be had in Breachway, but as you might expect, most of the time you’re going to stumble into combat. 

Screenshot by Destructoid

That’s where the card game comes into play. Ship systems such as lasers and shields are cards that you can add to your deck. They require Ordinance, Mass, and Energy to play. You’ve got to balance the resources your ship has coming in each turn to defend yourself from incoming attacks and deal damage to your opponent. 

As the fight plays out, you’ll be able to track how close an enemy is to firing on you or how soon you’re going to be hit by incoming missiles. The secret to winning is matching your shields to any incoming attack and dealing maximum damage to your opponent when their shields are down. Naturally, different cards combo with each other, and some even let you directly target components on your enemy’s ship, potentially allowing you to block some of their cards from being played for a few turns. 

The galaxy as represented in Breachway
Screenshot by Destructoid

A real space adventure

In the heat battle, the cardgame at the center of Breachway It’s a compelling game, but it was the way that runs played out in a larger context that really sold me. You are forced to plan your crew’s longevity with almost every mechanic. In battle, you can control the rate at which resources replenish. This can lead to some difficult decisions. I’ve had to boost my Ordinance several times to prepare for a heavy assault, only to run low on Energy and damage my shields. 

There’s plenty to think about between battles, too. You can plan your journey through the stars. Sometimes, the only thing standing between you and a space station that can fix a damaged hull, is enemy territory. You’ve got to sustain your ship’s integrity through multiple battles, which makes even easy fights feel impactful.

It’s not just the ship itself that you need to manage, either. This mechanic requires you to consider the bigger picture. Crew abilities are based on Command Points, which slowly accumulate after every battle. Sometimes using an ability to finish off one powerful ship would throw off my balance of Command Points and put me in a worse position for the next fight. 

Overall, Breachway I found it to be a real treat. As a card game, it’s the only thing that managed to (momentarily) pull my attention away from Android: NetrunnerIn a long time. I really enjoyed the exploration in this space game and the art and aesthetic. Thanks to this Steam Next Fest demo, I’ll be looking forward to Breachway’s full release on March 22. 

Gabran Gray

Gabran is a freelance writer and avid gamer. He has been playing games since he could use a keyboard or mouse. Since 2021, he has been covering video games professionally.

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