Getting the most out of your mech squads – A.K.A. How to save a city with chess and butt-smoke.
Kill, kill, kill
Shoving Vek around is great and all… but unless you’re actually clearing the board, you’re eventually going to be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. As such, you should always prioritise killing a Vek over giving it a black eye. Look for water, look for obstacles… anything that can one-shot a Vek is peachy.
For this reason, you should also not skimp on damage upgrades. It might seem silly blowing 2-3 cores on a single extra point of damage… But that’s often the difference between taking a Vek down and being forced to deal with it the subsequent turn. Such a boon cannot be overstated.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a free move or two where your Mechs don’t have to attend to anything urgent (i.e. all immediate threats have been resolved), it’s better to use that time to gang up and take down a single Vek, rather than weaken several. Even if a Vek isn’t threatening anything this turn, shove a rocket up its butt if you’re able to. If nothing else, the pilots will appreciate the target practice.
Contrary to FTL, your starting kit isn’t something to be discarded when you find real weapons. Your mech’s basic attacks (and the upgrades around them) will act as the backbone of your strategy and probably 90% of your moves. But you ideally need to pick up something to deal with the remaining 10%. There will almost certainly be some awkward situation that you’ll need a special trick up your sleeve for.
But you need to be careful.
Despite occupying a tiny corner of the shop, one of the most valuable objects in the game are cores. Resources spent on bringing new weapons online are resources not spent on making your existing ones better. In other words, new kit needs to be worth the trade-off. So when shopping around, look for what can expand your mech’s strategic options, rather than just giving them 2 ways to shoot the same thing.
This is why airstrikes or boosters are particularly juicy. They expand your options without the setup costs.
Take your time
The game isn’t going anywhere until you hit ‘End Turn’. So don’t fret if you need to sit and puzzle over a nasty situation – that’s a main part of the game!
If you have a choice in the levels to pick, take a good look at the maps before you deploy, as they can dramatically affect how the level will play out. What you ultimately want to look for is “how easily can I defend this area?” and is especially true when you add friendly objectives to the mix (such as satellites or trains) which tend to sit close to where the Vek surface.
Are the buildings in easy-to-defend places? Levels with lone buildings at the bottom can be a nightmare, as well as ones with a long row of buildings along the back, which leaves little-to-no safe spots that you can shove Vek like fireflies without them hitting anything.
How much water is there you can make use of? The more, the merrier!
Where are the Vek surfacing, and how easily can you reach them? Last thing you want is them wrecking a key building before you even have a chance to get there.
Equally, deploying well can actually make or a break a level. The first consideration is obviously to ensure that your mechs aren’t hemmed in. Melee-oriented mechs should be able to close in quickly, artillery should be placed with plenty of space to move side-to-side and flying mechs can be safely tucked behind obstacles.
The second, and not so obvious, consideration is to deploy cleverly with regards to the Vek. One you’ll very quickly learn: Never deploy with 1 blank space between your mechs when a spider is on the field. Not unless you want 2 mechs webbed right from the off. Remember that you can hover over a Vek to see how far it can move that turn, so can assess if you are out of reach of the likes of scorpions.
Aside from that, it’s all about thinking how they may target your mechs, and drawing them into wasting their first turn. When you have fireflies / beetles (ones that fire in a straight line) see if you can deploy somewhere with no buildings behind you. That way if they target your mechs, you can casually step to one side and waste their attack. Alternatively if they have, say, an alpha hornet or crab (one that hits 2 tiles in a line), you can stack your mechs accordingly to try and lure it to target those 2 mechs. When it comes to blobbers, placing your mechs with a convenient space for the blob bomb between them might draw its fire too.
Obviously you don’t need to memorise all of the above. The more you play, the more you’ll start to get a gist of how the Vek commonly target you. The key here is, once you get a feel for it, make sure you start taking advantage of it.
If you have the luxury of multiple ways of winning a turn, look to what positions your mechs will finish in. Look for the outcomes which place them in strong positions to be able to respond to threats the following turn.
You’ve tried everything, but the Vek are going to take something down this turn. It happens. The question that remains then is… what will be taken down?
Losing the game is obviously the big one to avoid. Try not to do that.
Losing a mech or an objective tends to come second, as both are pretty vital. The only time to trade off a pilot is early on when you won’t be losing much in the way of XP and can (hopefully) get a new one pretty quickly.
Losing ordinary buildings tends to come next. Remember to pay attention to how many buildings a Vek can take down too. Most ordinary Vek can only take down one, but stronger Vek can demolish several in a single attack… so obviously try and prioritise those Vek over the single-damage ones. If you’re ever unsure: Hover over the Vek and it’ll show you how many buildings are threatened.
Lastly, getting a mech dented tends to be a passable trade-off. Ideally you don’t want to do this if it’ll leave them with only 1 HP (as you ideally want wiggle room if you get into trouble), but is an acceptable trade-off if you’re near the end of the level.
Don’t block Vek
If there is one objective that still almost always gives me grief… It’s the one that requires you to block emerging Vek. It’s ultimately that, in order to pull this off, you’re forced to move your mechs to specific spots on the map – often out of the way of where they’d actually be useful! I confess, this is an objective I try to avoid if I can.
But also be careful when blocking normally, as it can be a bit of a double-edged sword.
A blocked Vek won’t go away; it’ll continue to keep trying to surface every subsequent turn. The problem here then is that this Vek could then end up combining with newly emerging Vek on the following turn. Put another way… It’s much easier to deal with 2 Vek this turn and 2 Vek the next turn, rather than dealing with all 4 Vek in a single turn.
As a general rule, only go out of your way to block when you can either use a Vek to do it (and cash in on the damage it takes) or use your own mechs when there are 2 turns remaining on the counter – i.e. the next turn will be the last one.
How to Puzzle
It is near impossible to outline the sheer range of moves or strategies available to use to address various challenges in Into the Breach. But the curious secret with the game is that it’s not about knowing what to do, but being able to figure it out.
So don’t panic if you find yourself in a situation where you cannot immediately deduce what needs doing. Make a cuppa, get comfy and start toying with ideas. The important bit is to be methodical and open to trying different approaches. The more you take the time to puzzle over some of the trickier situations, the faster you’ll get.
Outlined below are some tricks and approaches I’ve used to help work my way through situations when the Vek swarm, half the city is gravel and my mechs are in some far-flung corner picking their nose.
How many Vek are actually important?
When a lot of Vek are on the board, it’s easy to panic and lose track of what to do. So before anything else, identify how many of the Vek actually require attention that turn. A hornet attacking your mech is no big deal… you can step away from it.
What you need to pick out are the ones threatening an objective (highest priority), a building or could kill a mech this turn. Simply count them to get a gist of how tough this turn is going to be. It’s easier to focus your strategy when you know which Vek to aim for.
Can you use the Vek?
If you can’t crack all the Vek with your mechs alone, look to see if the Vek themselves can lend a hand. In other words, as you move 1 Vek, can you do so in such a way that it also takes care of another? This tends to happen in one of two ways:
Firstly is that the Vek outright blocks the attack of another. This is great for beetles, fireflies or centipedes, which launch their attack in a straight line. If you can push another threatening Vek into their line, then you have successfully dealt with 2 in a single move.
The second is to have a Vek’s attack actually kill another before their turn. You’ll need to pay careful attention to the turn order though, as you obviously need the key one to strike first. It’s harder to pull off, but can be clincher in some situations.
Damage is more than just your weapon
Remember that you can inflict additional damage to Vek by bumping them into things or pushing them into fire. Success in some rounds may come down to a single health point, so keep a very close eye out for opportunities to maximise your damage by hammering Vek into things. It’s sometimes even worth bumping Vek into one of your own mechs – so long as they themselves can weather the hit – if that 1 HP is the difference between getting them off the board or not.
Can you block it?
If you really start to run out of options, sometimes just sticking your Mech in the way will suffice. This is especially true with ranged Mechs, where you can deal with a different Vek whilst blocking the shot of another. It’s not ideal as you’re purely a stalling them, but if you just need to get past another turn or 2, it’ll do.
If an enemy has placed itself in an awkward position, one trick I’ve used often is to “work backwards”.
Conventionally, a general turn appears to come down to asking “how can I use my mech this turn?”
Here, we flip it. What you do is look at the Vek and ask “where do I need to push this?” or “how much damage do I need to lay down?” Once you’ve figured that out, the next question is “where does my mech need to be in order to be able to do so?” followed by “how do I get them there?”
A methodical approach like this is often really useful for figuring out how to handle a particularly nasty round. It’s not a question to ask just the once too. Make sure you take into account your different mechs and the various abilities they have at their disposal.
One of my favourite examples of this was a Blitzkrieg playthrough. An Alpha Vek was threatening an objective, and nothing could reach it (not without destroying the objective too). The solution was, curiously, to use my Hook Mech to pull my artillery half-way across the map – which allowed it to move into the position its attack needed to be able to shove the Vek out of the way.
If you get stuck in a messy situation, another good tactic is to first work out what moves you have no other way of doing.
For example, let’s say a hornet has tucked itself far away in the corner and is attacking an objective. The only thing that can reach it this turn is your artillery.
In this instance, we know that the artillery is now off the cards. Its move has been decided as there isn’t any other way you can deal with that Vek. You can now safely assume that you only have the other 2 mechs to deal with everything else.
Working backwards like this – figuring out which mech moves are non-negotiable – helps to focus your attention on what options are left available to you.
Much like the Kestrel in FTL, the Rift Walkers are a solid, versatile force and straightforward to use. They specialise in offensive attacks and pushing enemies around a lot.
The trick with these guys is all about flanking. You can only push, so it’s important to be able to move them into the appropriate tiles to push in the direction you need them to. For this reason, you also want to try and keep them central, so that they can stay as mobile as possible.
As you’ll be in the thick of it a lot: Camila Vera is a particularly good pilot to look for, what with her natural immunity to webbing.
What to aim for:
Damage is the aim of the game here. The first island or two should be a breeze where every mech can comfortably hold their own, but you won’t be able to clear the board quickly once more Alpha Vek show up.
As a general pattern: Get the Cannon Mech’s first upgrade and then try to jump straight for the Combat Mech’s 4HP mega-punch if you can. Don’t even bother with the dash… skip that upgrade and go straight for the big one! (I totally didn’t discover that this was possible until 80 hours in…). If you don’t find any good extra weapons along the way, those two upgrades should at least give you some clout. The Artillery Mech can fend for itself pretty well, so probably doesn’t need much more than the building immunity upgrade.
This brute is just good fun. It has a very damaging punch that pushes back enemies. At 2hp a throw, you can even one-hit-KO those annoying psilons and, providing you punch them into something, can take out most of the lower-level brutes in one go.
For this reason, you’ll want it going for kills if you can. Pushing Veks is great and all… but a fist-sized crater doesn’t fight back, which is even better! Charge the mech deep into the thick of it so you have plenty of space to move around and flank foes. Also, if you get webbed, have a look around before punching whatever it is in the face (fun as it is). Sometimes it’s better to free the Combat Mech with one of the other 2, to allow it to run elsewhere to deal more heavy-duty damage.
Suffice to say it’ll be royally pounding things into dust for the majority of the first island.
This and the Combat Mech are BFF’s. They make a great team. The functional difference is that whilst this one deals less damage, it can shoot from afar.
Despite the range though, it’s actually not a good idea to keep the Cannon Mech too far back. It can only push enemies in one direction (the one it fires in), so you actually want to keep it relatively close to your Combat Mech to give it a bit more capacity to flank. Sure moving it close to the front will draw attacks, but that’s also why you want to keep it close to the Combat Mech: The two of them can often help each other out.
Though it has its utility, its low damage makes it a good candidate for your first upgrades. Thankfully its first weapon upgrade boosts it, so is worth getting, if nothing else, to keep it on par with your Combat Mech. Alternatively, look out for special moves / rockets that you can equip to give it some more alternatives to its basic attack.
The Artillery mech is, arguably, your most strategically important one. Sure it probably won’t score as many flashy kills as the other 2, but it will be the one digging you out of sticky situations. Why? The beauty of its artillery is that it can fire over obstacles and allows you to place exactly where the shot lands. What this means is, with a few tiles as wiggle-room, you can theoretically move an opponent in any direction… not something to sniff at by any means.
So the trick is to keep it back and give it plenty of room to move side-to-side. Doing this lets you easily move it into position to shove a key opponent exactly where you need it to. And just as well, it’s pretty flimsy and cannot shoot the tile adjacent to it, so needs to be kept out of trouble.
The building-immunity upgrade is very handy too. Just bear in mind it only ignores buildings… Mechs or friendlies (anything with a health bar) do not count.
On the field
When you start, get your Combat and Cannon Mechs nice and forward. Split them up so that you can flank foes too. Then tuck the Artillery Mech at the back, preferably behind some buildings. Try to give it enough legroom to move side-to-side.
The first question on each turn to consider is “which Vek is the most awkward to hit?” – What we’re hunting for is a target for your artillery.
Principally, this is one that neither the Combat nor Cannon Mech can reach. If you’re fortunate and they’re all in reach, then you’ll want to look at which Vek would place one of your brawlers in an awkward position, such as having to move to one corner of the map. Remember as well that your artillery can potentially move multiple foes, so don’t shy away from that if you get the opportunity to do so.
Out of the remaining enemies, simply split them accordingly between your brawlers. Any one-shot kills are always a winner. Ideally you want to keep your brutes relatively central or in range of key objectives, so that they have plenty of room to react or, at the very least, block.
A word of warning, however. Be careful not to charge so far forward that you have a line of Vek between your brawlers and artillery. This tends to end pretty badly with your artillery getting isolated or the Vek moving out of reach.
Though they lack the same brutish simplicity as the Rift Walkers, the Rusting Hulks are a formidable force, providing you give them enough space to work with. They’ll need a bit more puzzle-solving as their moves aren’t as simple as “shove them this way”, so take your time as they have a number of useful quirks (especially the Rocket Mech). The Jet and Pulse Mech don’t operate particularly well in cramped conditions however, so be careful to avoid those levels if you can. It’s also a very good idea to avoid diggers early on. Out of the box, only your Rocket Mech stands a chance against them, so it’s not worth the gamble until you know you’re equipped to deal with them.
Their main party trick is smoke. Played correctly, you’ll be kicking up a lot of it. 2 of the mechs create it, and they have a passive ability that also makes it damaging. Because of this, one of the best abilities to look for are any kind of smoke launchers (especially to give the Pulse Mech more tricks up its sleeve). The more you can carpet the place, the better. In fact, though pricey, the damage boost to the passive damage is insanely powerful if you can also get smoke launchers into play.
For this reason, Camila Vera is, once again, a very good bet for your primary pilot – especially for the Jet Mech. You’ll be kicking up far too many clouds and need the space to work with, so don’t want to find your tactics rumbled by your own dust.
What to aim for:
Smoke, smoke, smoke. Plus the damage boost to the passive ability.
A very useful, albeit niche, mech. It can fly (surprisingly!) meaning you can bypass obstacles when moving. Just be aware though that you’ll still be affected by fire, mines and such if you stop on them.
Its attack damages and smokes an enemy, which nullifies their attack too, so is ideal for any Vek you cannot one-shot – particularly Alpha Vek and leaders. The problem is that the attack involves jumping over an enemy, and thus must have a space on the other side of them to be allowed to use it. This is the Jet Mech’s kryptonite. So be aware that you’ll sometimes need to use the other two Mechs to help clear a path for the Jet to perform its bombing run. You can also help prevent this by picking levels with more open space, as it tends to have less trouble there.
Easily the star of the show. Another artillery piece, but this time it only pushes back the square it hits. It hits for a cracking 2 damage though, so will largely be your go-to for Psilons and other assorted squishies.
The quirky bonus ability is that its rocket creates a square of smoke behind it… a mech that literally covers its own butt! Whilst this might seem inconsequential, it’s actually quite the life-saver more often than not. If you’re caught short by webbing or hornets sneaking around the back, you can always fire a shot in the other direction and let the smoke cancel their move instead. The damage will also be enough to shred leapers, spiderlings or bombs… so it’s a nifty Plan B. Always keep an eye out for when you can do both too: Fire a rocket to smash into a foe and smoke a foe behind you.
For this reason, you shouldn’t strictly keep the Rocket Mech as far back as you would the Artillery of the Rift Walkers. It can be quite handy in the thick of it where there’s more chance you can disrupt two enemies in one go, and it’s butt-cloud gives you some insurance if it’s attacked.
It tries… but the Pulse Mech starts out as the dead-weight of the Rusting Hulks. All it does it shove around everything adjacent to it. As such, it’s largely relegated to keeping Vek away from anything important or clearing a path for the Jet Mech.
There are two tricks to making this mech valuable, however.
The first is to use it to draw fire. Its first upgrade is that its pulse attack creates a personal shield. Not just a one-off one too… Every time you use your attack, it will give you a fresh shield if you don’t already have one. So even if you have nothing useful to push around, fire anyway to get suited up! Not only does this let you block any attack (no matter how damaging) it also lets you indefinitely block any Vek from emerging without damage – not something to sniff at. Though the Pulse Mech cannot clear the board easily, stopping it from filling up is equally as useful.
So if you can, keep it up front and blocking. It’ll place you perfectly to draw fire too, which will largely waste many Vek turns too. You’ll only really be in trouble if you’re utterly swarmed… but if all of the attention is there, the other two Mechs will likely be free to lend a hand.
The second trick is smoke. Keep an eye out for any upgrades that let you lay down smoke and prioritise getting it for this mech. It’s the most likely to benefit from additional moves and synergises beautifully with the passive damage bonus. With a shield and smoke, this Mech will become a formidable blocker.
On the field
Place the Jet and Pulse Mech upfront, so they can quickly close any gaps. Remember the Jet can fly, so don’t worry if there’s obstacles. Where the Pulse Mech can only shove, it’s better to keep it central or where it can operate with more space. The Rocket Mech can sit safely near the back, but if you happen to have any objective / buildings quite low down the map (such as the train) it’s alternatively worth tucking it just behind the other two to let it run in if you need its butt-smoke – a must-have if the Vek are likely are hug the corners of the map.
The first order of business is generally to look for the easiest job: Something for the Pulse Mech to shove. See what it can do and then allow the Jet and Rocket Mechs to take on the harder targets. Smoke out any Alpha or Leader Vek that you cannot kill in one go.
The Jet Mech is likely the next one, where its targets could be limited where you need the space to jump over them. Remember placement as well: Think about where your Jet will end up after its attack. If you have the movement to do so, always try to move so that the Jet finishes closer to where it will need to be next turn, rather than away from it. If you have no targets, then looking to see if the others can clear one for you is an alternative solution.
The Rocket Mech can then fill as needed. And don’t forget the smoke it creates behind it as an alternative attack. I know I keep banging on about it and it’s not as impressive as smashing a rocket into someone’s face… but tactically it can sometimes be the more viable option, and easy to miss.
If you’re fortunate enough to find yourself with free moves, then go kick up some smoke! Even if you there’s nothing to hit, covering any squares where the Vek might move to will limit their options later in the level, as they will never willingly move into a smoke-covered tile. Spaces adjacent to key buildings are a good one for this.
The Zenith Guard are surprisingly powerful and can score a lot of very satisfying kills. Their biggest problem however, is a mech that likes to injure itself. This quirk makes getting started a bit of a nightmare.
That is… If you don’t have Abe Isamu on your roster (the one who makes your mech armoured). He is, without a doubt, the hero to pick for the Zenith Guard if you can. He completely negates the troublemaking mech’s self-damage, subsequently making this squad surprisingly easy to play with.
What to aim for:
A way of stopping the Charge Mech from killing itself. Either Abe Isamu or some other abilities to use instead of its normal attack.
But once you have that covered, the only thing you likely need is a shoving ability for your Laser Mech (at least on harder difficulties), as the laser won’t be able to keep up with large numbers of Alpha Vek. But aside from that: The group are surprisingly versatile.
The deliciously destructive Laser Mech has… surprise surprise… a laser! And a pretty decent one too, hitting anything at point blank range for 3 damage, letting you vaporise most foes pretty quickly.
The main catch, however, is friendly fire. The laser cuts through all units until it hits either a mountain or a building, damaging that as well. You can upgrade it to make allies immune though, which is handy if you’re going into a level with things to protect. Building are always affected though but, to be honest, it’s not actually too hard to work around them. The key is to remember that most are with you around the top of the map. So long as you don’t stray too far forward, where you may have to end up shooting back towards your stuff (i.e. up-left), you should be fine. Make sure you bolster your movement early so that you have the flexibility to move around your target if you need a good angle.
Despite its awesome range, you’ll mainly want it getting up close and melting anything on 3HP, such one-shot kills are hard to come by straight out of the gates.
My brother used to get sick of playing rally games with me as I’d use my car to smash him off the road. Well this appears to the spiritual incarnation of that. And it’s a bloody nightmare. It has a lovely charging attack akin to the Combat Mech’s punch + dash ability. The problem is that the attack also damages you… and you only have 3 HP.
You can probably see the issue here. Even if you take no other damage, you have a finite limit on how many attacks you can make each level. If you don’t have Abe, it’s very easy to go through pilots with this one. Now if you find yourself in that position (or just prefer other heroes), then you have a few other options. The first is to boost the HP of the Mech as soon as you get a reactor core, buying you some more HP to play with. Secondly is to keep a steely eye for any new weapons to give it. They don’t have to be flashy. Just anything to stop it hitting itself.
And the last is, in a pinch, remember that you have the repair option. If you get some breathing space, use it. But this is very much a last resort. It’s also not normally worth upgrading the attack, as the 2HP personal damage will quickly limits its shelf-life, even with armour. But with Abe in the pilot’s seat, it’s basic attack functions very well as a mainstay. Only catch is that shields take the hit before armour comes into play, so any shield will still wear off when you attack.
The only thing to beware of, the “impact” tile impact is on the Charge Mech’s tile, not its opponents. You know when you hit a Vek, their tile may catch fire/kick up dust? With this attack, the tile affected will be yours. So be very careful if there are trees in your landing zone.
Unlike the Pulse Mech of the Rusting Hulks, the Defence Mech is a brilliant ally to bring to the fight. The combination of flight, pull and shields make it surprisingly versatile. You shouldn’t need to install any new kit on this one, so can save resources to just get more movement, health and shields.
Though the pull ability might appear a bit naff, it tends be better than pushing as you can pull Vek away from buildings. Bear in mind that where it doesn’t deal damage, you can also use it to pull your guys out of trouble too. As you have infinite uses on this one, always try to see if a problem can be solved by this first, before resorting to shields.
The shields themselves are your nifty ace in the hole for when you just can’t crack a situation. It’ll buy you time, but you’ll obviously need a Plan B next turn, as the Vek will still be there – so try not to rely on these unless you have to. That said… if you can happen to win a turn with just the other 2 Mechs, use the free turn to shield up some vulnerable buildings/allies!
On the field
Let the Laser Mech lead. If a level has too many buildings to give it a clean shot, then try and avoid them. When deploying, think about the line of fire. You don’t want your shots ruined because of friendlies on the other side of the map. So as a general rule, try and keep the bulk of the buildings behind your Laser Mech. The other 2 Mechs can then be placed near the action and complement where necessary, such as letting the Charge Mech cover another flank. Remember the Defence Mech’s flight, so don’t worry if it’s hiding behind something.
Firstly look to see if the Defence Mech can score any kills by pulling enemies into water or hazardous terrain. If not, then look to see if you need it to pull anything away from a building or into range of your other two Mechs.
Planning for the Laser Mech is particularly important here, as the more Vek you can get into its line of fire – the better! So take your time. Some turns the Laser Mech will need to shoot before the others move into place… other times you’ll need to wait and move everyone out of the way.
This is where things start to get tricky. It’s not that the Mechs are bad, but that they have a more distinct array of strengths and weaknesses and can even get in each other’s way if you’re not careful. They lack reliable shoving abilities, so you have to ensure that you’re scoring a lot of kills. And therein lies the main trap: Your damage will quickly become outclassed when Alpha Vek start showing up. Pushing your damage and opening the doors to more forms of attack are the key with this one.
By and large, your Lightning Mech is the one driving. Not because it’s the leader, but because it’s a pain. Its attack is awesome, but niche. The maps you pick should come down to what it can reliably handle. Your first visit should always be the island with Jumpers, Hornets and Scarabs if you can – basically where nothing exceeds 2HP. This will let you one-shot everything. Failing that, pick one with the fireflies (as they’re easier to block in a pinch). Burrowers are also a good opponent later on once you have the building-chain upgrade, as you only need to clip them once to scare them off.
It’s, weirdly, scorpions to watch out for. At 3HP, you’re going to have a hard time taking them down in one hit, making the Lightning Mech dead weight very quickly if you haven’t got new kit online. The Hook Mech is good, but can only do so much. If you can, also avoid protection missions (like looking after tanks, satellites, minelayers) until you have more strategic options for the Lightning Mech. Otherwise your damsels in distress will likely become charcoal in even greater distress.
What to aim for:
It’s all about something for your Lightning Mech. Even if you boost its basic attack, you ideally need something else for the final fight. Spears, fists, boosters … So long as it shoves, it’s grand.
The Hook mech can ideally do with something too. Boosting the HP of that and the Boulder mech are also very important as you don’t want them flash-fried if they become part of the lightning chain.
A lone wolf… also known as an unsocial jerk who is not safe around others.
This mech basically likes to whip things with lightning. Delightfully, the attack jumps to any occupied neighbouring tile as well, damaging its occupant too. And this chain will continue as long as it finds something to zap. With enough enemies queued up, this is potentially the most damaging weapon in the game.
The problem, however, is that friendly units are not safe from it either. Buildings are fine, but mechs, trains, bombs – basically anything with a health bar – isn’t safe from 10,000 volts up its backside. This makes the Mech an absolute nightmare for any kind of protection mission. And each subsequent upgrade only exacerbates this. What you ultimately need is a new ability to give the Mech some more options – preferably anything that shoves enemies and doesn’t have limited uses.
The building upgrade tends to be a decent bet though for later levels crawling with spiderlings, blob bombs and burrowers. All only need a single hit to dismiss, so is a great way to quickly clear the riff-raff. Just… check that nothing else is in the chain either…
Charmingly versatile. The grappling hook is actually quite a fun utility, hauling anything you grab right to your feet. This makes it wonderful in pulling any Vek into natural hazards, so it’s well worth prioritising levels with those about. In particular, the ideal place is any level with small pools of water dotted about. Simply sit on one side and go fishing – dragging anything to its watery demise. Much like the Defence Mech, you can equally use this to pull allies out of trouble or into better positions (or even pull yourself out of trouble if there’s a building/mountain to hook onto). The shield ally upgrade is good to swap in for any level with allied targets, such as bombs or tanks to give them an extra level of protection.
Don’t forget as well that it’s armoured, so can outright block a hit if needs be. But to be honest, it’s likely more to protect it from the Lightning Mech than anything else. What it does mean, however, is that you can step in to complete a lightning chain if needs be. Whilst there’s no right-wrong pilot, Archimedes is surprisingly good for this one. The move-shoot-move brings 2 key advantages. The obvious one is that you move away when pulling something into the Lightning Mech’s chain. But you can also use it to pull one enemy away and then move yourself to block another’s attack, letting the armour take the hit (very common for fireflies). So even if you’re not scoring kills, frustrating 2 attacks in 1 turn is still nothing to sniff at.
There’s something very satisfying about launching an oversized boulder at an equally-oversized bug’s head. No? Just me?
Though it lacks the elegance of normal artillery (it only shoves sideways, not in all 4 directions), its damage tends to make up for this. But there’s another neat quirk you might not be aware of: If the boulder doesn’t hit anything and lands on solid ground, it stays there! This curiously opens the door to 3 neat tricks that are worth keeping in the back of your mind.
Firstly, you can block burrowing Vek with it. So if you have a free move, plant some blockers about! The second is that, if you just can’t kill or move a ranged Vek, use the rock to block its shot instead. Lastly, you can even use it to link up more targets for the Lightning Mech. For those rare moments where you have lots of available targets but are missing that 1 square connecting them. What? Using a rock to complete a circuit? Shhhh. Don’t tell your physics teacher that I told you this.
In terms of upgrades, this is one of the few where I’d recommend prioritising health early on. At 2HP if it happens to be caught in the Lightning Mech’s attack, it’s done for. Boosting this at least gives you a turn’s grace if your hands are tied.
On the field
First call tends to be, you guessed it, the Lightning mech. As the lightning cannot shove anything, it’s pretty much kills or nothing. But before you rush in and zap things… keep an eye out for opportunities to maximise your chain. Can the Hook mech pull something in? Can the Boulder Mech shove something in or use the boulder itself? Can either even grudgingly get zapped in the name of zapping even more things (curiously a more common occurrence than you might think). The more the Lightning Mech can zap and ultimately kill – the easier your life will be.
Once you know the size of your chain (many turns it will only be hitting a single Vek), the Hook mech tends to be next in line as that too can only do so much. As with most damage-free mechs, give this one the easy kills if you can find them. The Boulder mech is pretty versatile and can plug where necessary. Don’t forget as well that its boulders can shove side to side. That can often solve as many problems as launching them directly at something’s head.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Steel Judoka is the distinct lack of damage. Without a reliable 2HP hit, Psilon and leader Vek are going to be a bit of a nightmare. Getting past the first island in one piece is the primary challenge with this team.
Their party trick is boosting Vek damage against each other, so it’s ultimately about getting them to do your dirty work. To get decent use out of this though, you ideally need levels with fireflies, centipedes or beetles – basically the ones that fire in a straight line. It gives you a lot more leg-room for moving other Vek in their way. So prioritise those islands first until you get more damage-dealing under your belt. Hornets and leapers are far too mobile and tend to wedge themselves in annoying places, so a combo worth avoiding early on.
More so than the other teams before it, choosing your islands and battles carefully may make or break your playthrough. So aim for levels with plenty of natural hazards, and ideally ones without tight rows of buildings (especially pairs right at the front). You’ll quickly find the Siege Mech to be um… somewhat indiscriminate.
What to aim for:
Damage is the aim of the game here. You have a nice array of moving capabilities. Pushing, pulling, throwing…… It’s just getting those kills in. Crack that and you’ll have this. Ideally you want new toys for the Judo and Gravity Mechs.
That and stopping the Siege Mech from wrecking everything you hold dear.
A nice damage magnet with a quirky throwing ability that essentially allows you to move a Vek 2 spaces – something to keep in mind when there are natural hazards or other Vek attacks nearby. Its damage sucks though, so you should always aim to throw a Vek into something if you can. Water and emerging Vek are common targets. Remember as well that you don’t always have to throw a Vek into another’s attack… you can throw them so that they are the ones attacking an ally.
You’ll need to be careful though. Like the Jet Mech it requires a space behind you to work, so getting a more reliable means of damage / pushing is needed to get this one into nice shape. Spears, flamethrowers, even boost jumps will work nicely. Once combined with the throw though, you shouldn’t actually have too much trouble with this one.
In the meantime however, charge it forward and draw fire. The more Vek attacks wasted against its armoured hull, the better.
A curious twist to the artillery ordinance. Instead of damaging the central tile, this one leaves it alone and damages the 4 surrounding ones, pushing them as well.
And it will annoy the heck out of you until you get the building-immune upgrade on it. I know it’s expensive, but it’s pretty mandatory. Unless the unit you’re defending is in the middle of nowhere, you’re going to have a hard time not wrecking surrounding buildings as you try to push Vek away. Aim for open levels as much as possible and try to keep your other mechs drawing fire until you accrue the cores needed. Needless to say, give time pods greater priority. Carrying over a pilot from a previous timeline with a +1 Reactor Core will also massively help to get you started.
With the upgrade in place though, this actually operates like the Artillery Mech of the Rift Walkers. So once it’s not giving you a headache, you don’t actually need to do much more to it other than the damage bonus if you can afford it.
Much like the Defence Mech of the Zenith Guard, only without the flight or shields. But there’s a little more to this one – survivability. Though its attack functions as artillery, don’t fall into the trap of keeping this one too far back. It has a generous move speed and decent HP, so functions well for drawing attention. Besides, you don’t want to be limited to pulling in just 1 direction, so keep it forward and don’t worry too much about drawing fire… that’s what the Siege Mech is for!
The ideal end result though looks… suspiciously like the Defence Mech. Plenty of mobility and preferably a new toy to give it some more combat options. Shields or the Acid Vial are 2 very nice choices if you find them. The Siege Mech can keep hold of the Vek Hormones.
On the field
Though getting the Vek to kill each other is the only way to get any real damage on the board… If you rock up and just try to get them to hit each other you’ll quickly find yourself frustrated and losing buildings. The trick to surviving with these guys appears to be drawing fire.
Out of the hangar, the Siege Mech is rubbish at protecting buildings. What it’s good at, however, is freeing a surrounded ally. And therein lies the secret. Get the Judo and Gravity Mech up front and drawing as much attention as possible. Not only does it give you open targets for the Siege Mech, but it keeps attention away from your buildings (which are harder to protect for this team) and tends to give you more opportunities to have the Vek smacking each other. As such, deploy the Judo up front and Gravity Mech to one side to allow for flanking, with the Siege Mech safely at the back.
As the Vek numbers start growing, you should get more opportunities to use them against each other. It’s impossible to reliably do so every turn… so it’s more about spotting the opportunities as and when they occur. Turn order is everything. A smart play can move a Vek so that it takes down another whose turn comes after it – Thus solving 2 problems in 1 go. These opportunities are not terribly common and sometimes hard to spot, but they will buy you a lot of breathing space.
There are many ways to move Vek about, so take your time and assess how each Mech could move them and where they’d end up. You deal bonus damage, so you might as well make the most of it if you can. This is a must for Leader Vek, in particular. Just remember not to get too caught up trying to get them to hit each other that you ignore insta-kills from water or hazards – They tend to be the better option still.
Yep, you checked them correctly. These guys deal 0 up-front damage where they’re more about setting things on fire. But do not despair, the Flame Behemoths are surprisingly powerful. Curiously though, the real hero appears to be the Swap Mech. Providing you can boost it early, its ability is somewhat insane. As such, whatever hero you take with you… take one with a +1 Mech Reactor, stick it in the Swap Mech and upgrade the beam straight away.
You’ll also find your job considerably easier if, like the Blitzkrieg, you pick the island where no Vek go beyond 2HP. Your fire will generally see them off with ease.
What to aim for:
Much like the Steel Judoka, it’s generally about getting another means of damage for the Flame Mech. Another back-up ability is also good for one of the other mechs.
You also definitely want a top-level Swap Mech. Maxed swap ability and movement will make this one a bit of a beast! For longer games, the damage boost for the Meteor Mech is also a strong bet.
This is your primary damage-dealer… which is saying a lot, as it doesn’t actually deal up-front damage.
It fills two main functions. Firstly, you want it going for any unburned Vek threatening a building. It has the advantage of being able to shove them and set them on fire (something the Meteor Mech cannot do), so is your most reliable form of wearing enemies down. Secondly it’s laying into any heavies already burning. You deal bonus damage to them, so is a must once you start getting leader Vek and alphas showing up.
Now the upgrades (though handy) only boost the range of the weapon, so getting another new means of damage for this Mech is a must. The fire will always come in handy, but sometimes you just need quick straight-up damage (against Psilons, for example).
Once you’ve boosted movement, the first range upgrade is a nice cheap win though. If you’ve never used a weapon like it (such as the spear) – You can choose whether it affects 2 tiles or just the 1. The reason this is important is because the tile that’s pushed is always the last one of your attack. So if you only attack the tile right next to you, that one will get shoved. If you attack 2 tiles away, the 2nd tile is the only one that will get shoved. It’s useful to know as it can give you a bit more finesse over exactly what gets pushed and where (very useful in cramped conditions with buildings around).
In many respects, it’s a beefed-up Artillery Mech of the Rift Walkers. Whilst its damage is replaced with setting the target tile on fire, it basically matches the 1hp damage that turn with the added bonus of extra damage subsequent turns. Even better, it appears that buildings of the future (anything without an HP bar) are immune to fire, so you can safely have them in the blast right from the get-go. It also shines in Pinnacle (the ice island) where fire melts ice (say whaaaaaat), so it immediately drowns the tile you hit, rather than requiring two blasts.
Though versatile, try to ensure that you’re not always just pushing opponents about. If you’re not actually setting them on fire, then you’re not going to be clearing them off the board. So if you have the freedom to, let the Flame and the Swap Mechs deal with immediate threats whilst you use this one to set fire to other Vek or (even better) the tiles of any emerging Vek.
Though the backburner upgrade is not as useful as butt-smoke, where it won’t block an opponent’s turn, it’s worth getting if you’re heading to an island with Blobbers or Spiders (anything that spawns 1HP menaces in your back ranks). In longer sessions, you definitely want the 2HP damage boost though. After boosting the Swap Mech, this one tends to be the next best. Whilst it no longer makes it safe to use around buildings, the trade-off for the damage tends to be worth it.
I know I know… It would have been more fitting to give this one the fire beam. But at the very least, its substitute is somewhat amazing. Boost it one straight away if you can. 2 range will make this immediately more useful than just swapping place with an adjacent tile.
The tactical opportunities of the Swap Beam are insane, especially when you’re able to fly as well. Providing you’re in a straight line: You can swap places with a target, bypassing any obstacles as well, so do not even need a line of sight. You can treat it just like a push / pull move and nudge a Vek away from a targeted building.
But why stop there?
The Steel Judoka would have killed for this toy. Definitely keep an eye out for opportunities to teleport a Vek directly into the line of fire of its friends. You can also drop them onto emerging Vek or into fire … or both! Take full advantage of any natural hazards too – except mines. They will still hit you first.
But the real beauty is water. Your flight means that you can safely hover over a pool and just dispatch an annoying Vek with a deeply satisfying ‘plop’. What a lovely combo! It’s like they planned this…
On the field
First order of business is what the Swap Mech can do. It is perhaps the most tactically diverse, so look for opportunities to make the most of its neat attack – whether shifting a well dug-in Vek or dumping it into water. The other two largely work around it. Of course, remember that this doesn’t necessarily mean the Swap Mech has to go first. Sometimes you might need to nudge a few Vek around before you can pull off a sweet move.
If you’re dealing with any heavies (particularly leader Vek), then getting them on fire as quickly as possible is important. In fact, if you’re able to: Torch it with the Meteor Mech so that your Flame Mech can start laying on the bonus damage on the first turn.
Getting plenty of fire on the board is the way to go. If you get a free turn, just start setting fire to things. Spaces next to buildings or any emerging Vek tile are excellent targets. Remember as well when using fire that anything on fire with 1HP will go down that turn – even with psionic regen in play – so don’t waste any time dealing with them.
Another useful thing to note: Setting a burrower on fire will interrupt its attack on its turn. So don’t panic if you torch its tile and it’s still there. The only pain is that it doesn’t stay on fire, so you will need to keep chipping away at it. For this reason, it’s best to avoid islands with them until you have some more attacks on the board.
A formidable bunch, if somewhat niche. The catch is that two of your team are double-edged, so the key is to break the dependency from their main weapons. Damage is, at least, not as much of an issue, so your focus early on should be bolstering movement as much as possible to give you more scope to work with whilst you source some new toys.
That said, where the Ice Mech can only freeze opponents, try to avoid levels where killing Vek is the objective. You’ll likely struggle to score well on those until it’s toting some new kit. Curiously though, the self-ice helps you to fare well on levels where you need to block emerging Vek, so that’s at least a bonus.
What to aim for:
These are one of those teams that ultimately come down to what you can find. Ideally, an alternative weapon for the Ice and Mirror Mech would be peachy… providing you can find them. If you can’t, just push for damage. Skimp the Aegis Mech’s shield boost and go straight for putting a larger dents in things.
Everyone’s movement bolstered tends to be a good bet too, what with how fiddly they can be.
A pretty cool Mech, to be honest. Its damage is pretty formidable, and reversing the attack direction tends a more reliable counter than shoving (except against diggers… so avoid those if you can). Though it doesn’t move foes, this at least makes it safe to use in densely packed areas. Though its effect seems fancy, you don’t actually need to be too clever with the Aegis Mech. Just run in and inelegantly smack things in the face. Trying to get the Vek to meaningfully attack each other with the ability is quite hard to come by, so focus more on just staying central and dishing out what kills you can.
The shield and damage upgrades are both well worth their salt, but might be worth holding off if the others are able to field decent Plan B weapons.
I don’t know who… but someone somewhere thought that a tank which shoots out of its backside was a great idea. Unsurprisingly, it can get very frustrating in levels with buildings scattered about the place (the final level, in particular).
But if you’re stuck with a double-edged weapon, you might as well make it kick butt. Snag the damage upgrade nice and early (it only requires 1 power) and get right into the thick of it. The more you try and surround yourself with Vek, the more opportunities you’ll get to hit them from either side. In the same way you used the laser Mech, hanging out near the front will minimise the risk of friendly fire.
Getting another weapon on board is, unsurprisingly, a biggie here. You don’t want to be cornered where any attack from the Janus cannon will wreck friendlies.
As you can probably guess, this one’s the one you need to suss to ultimately win with the Frozen Titans. Its ability is excellent, but where it freezes itself the obvious question is: “How do I break it back out?”
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is where the Mirror Mech comes in though. The opportunities to both attack and free the Ice Mech are actually pretty rare. What it ultimately comes down to is being able to capitalise on whatever opportunities the game gives you. As a general rule: If you’re able to, don’t let your Mech be frozen into the next turn. There isn’t a single full-proof tactic to achieve this though, so you need to be flexible.
Burrowing Vek are one of the best to use. Simply set up on top and fire away. You’ll both be freed and stop an emerging Vek on their next turn. Attacking Vek are also a common means to bust yourself out, so picking levels with fireflies, beetles and centipedes is also good call. Speaking of which, remember that the ice essentially functions as a shield. So if anything targets you, don’t be so hasty break their jaw – they might be just the ice-breaker you need. Bumping is another good one if your Mirror Mech is trashing things in the vicinity.
What unites all of these is that they revolve around the front lines. So, unusually for artillery, you want to keep this one in on the action. Drawing fire is one of the best ways to ensure you have options to break yourself out. You can at least fly, which makes this considerably easier. Boost your movement early too, to ensure you have a good range to work with.
Whilst it’s always better to freeze attacking Vek, remember that freezing threatened buildings (or even allies) is also an option. These are good substitutes if doing so would place you in the perfect spot to be broken out of the ice. Unless it’s the last turn, you’re almost always better off picking the lesser move that means you’re free of ice, than the one that will leave you encased on your next turn.
Whilst the ice is fun and all… you definitely want to keep an eye out for another toy if you can. Having another reliable option will take a lot of pressure off. Remember as well that it’s artillery, so there are good options to be had!
One the field
Right from the off, get everyone close to action. The Ice Mech can fly, so don’t worry if it starts behind obstacles.
The key focus point should be what your Ice Mech can do that turn. You ideally need to come up with a way to effectively use its Cryo Launcher and break it out that same turn. Look for burrowing, look for Vek attacks and look for opportunities your other Mechs might create. Anything to ultimately stop you losing your Ice Mech for a turn. Even if it doesn’t actually attack, you can still use the move to create makeshift shields on buildings… just so long as you are able to break out again.
If you can’t free the Ice Mech, then the next step is to see if you can survive the turn without using it at all. It might seem wasteful, but you don’t want it frozen when you need it most.
If you must use it, however, then that’s when it gets tricky. Firstly, try and target the most frustrating Vek (one that you won’t be able to kill quickly). If you’re going down, at least take a headache with you. If you can, try to move to where it’ll be easy to get freed next turn – near your allies or even where Vek are gathering. In a pinch, you can always repair if needs be.
Of course, you don’t need to worry about this on the last turn – so don’t forget to keep an eye on the turn counter. On the last turn: go nuts! They’ll chisel your Mech out afterwards, I promise.
As you can probably guess from the name, the Hazardous Mechs are capable of dealing some pretty heavy-duty damage. Unfortunately, as you can probably also guess from the name… “Themselves” and “everything else” are also included in said damage.
This is the Charge Mech all over again, only you now have 2 of them. The saving grace is that they heal when landing a killing blow, so if you prioritise islands with more squishy foes to begin with and avoid the armour-boosting psilon, you should be ok. Also pick your levels carefully, as objectives that involve blocking emerging Vek or limiting Mech damage are, unsurprisingly, going to be tougher. Thankfully though, healed damage does not count towards your objective.
The trick with winning is saving up cores. Both of your weapon upgrades will have your mechs dealing additional damage to themselves, which renders them pretty much unworkable. So you must get the healing boost first. It’s a hefty 3 power though, so you largely have to make do with what you have until you acquire enough cores. Once you have the healing though, you’re finally in a position to maximise your weapon’s damage. Despite this, you still want to be on the lookout for alternative attacks for your pair of offensive mechs if you can. As you meet Vek which take more turns to take down, the damage will add up, so anything to take the pressure off will help considerably.
Once again, Abe Isamu is a very good call here. His armour will largely negate the problems of one of the mechs and even allow them to safely upgrade their weapons early (if you’re feeling confident).
What to aim for:
- + Healing upgrade
- + Damage boosts to your primary weapons
- + HP upgrades are also nice, just to give you some more breathing space
- + Alternative weapons for the Leap and Unstable Mech for longer games
Oh the joys of the Siege Mech all over again. Miss it?
Despite the collateral damage, the Leap Mech is pleasantly versatile. Its jump means that you can react comfortably to most threats around the map. The challenge is more keeping it alive, as it’s not so damage-heavy. So your best bet is to let it take the easy kills: Leapers, water or bumping Vek into each other. The health upgrade is also useful, especially once your damage is boosted.
This also is the better candidate for a secondary weapon (if you’re forced to choose) as the leap’s area of effect can make it really frustrating in tightly packed levels. Its use is very much like the Siege Mech’s though, but you’ll likely find it much easier to pick safe spots to land what with your decent move speed.
It’s the Cannon Mech, but more painful to everyone involved. Yay… I think?
It’s pretty straightforward to use. It’s your main damage dealer – so have it wrecking the face of anything oversized and remotely bug-like. Just beware that the recoil pushes it backwards, so watch yourself around lava or craters. Thankfully, if you’re at the edge of the map, you won’t get pushed off of it.
Curiously though, the recoil can often be used to your advantage. When facing blobbers or spiders, you can use the recoil to smash into their spawn whilst shooting something else. They count towards your healing, so you shrug off the damage too! You can also use the recoil to scare off burrowers, but make sure you have the HP to do so, as you won’t be killing them quickly when doing this.
The Nano Mech is pleasantly formidable. It flies, has good movement and, to be honest, starts kitted out with everything you’ll need. The ACID projector is also an excellent weapon where, in addition to obviously caking foes in ACID, shoves them too. So even if you don’t kill them, the Nano Mech can nudge troublemakers out of the way.
Ultimately, it’s there to set up kills for your team. If you can get away with doing so, weaken any large Vek and see if you can one-shot them that turn. Another common tactic is to push an enemy in such a way to allow the Leap Mech to crack multiple foes in one go. Of course, it’s not always easy as it tends to involve focussing multiple mechs on a single opponent. When your hands are full, simply use it to push away a threatening Vek (particularly if not hit by ACID)… I know you want them dead this turn, but it’s ok – they’ll be squishier next turn. That’s equally satisfying, right?
On the field
The first question to ask is “is my Nano Mech free?” – In other words, do you only have 2 Vek that are actually going to be a threat this turn? If so, then you have it free to ACID a foe for your other brutes to gang up on. Doing this when you can is important for keeping Alpha Vek in check. Failing that, you’ll generally want your Nano Mech either landing kills (i.e. if it can shove Vek into water) or stalling any Vek with too much HP for the others to insta-kill. You’re not in a position to parry or toy with your foes much… so use whatever means available to maximise damage so that you’re landing kills. The Leap Mech in particular can often hit multiple foes – so keep an eye out for opportunities to do so.
A handy note: Even if your mech is on 1 HP, you can safely use their attack so long as it lands a kill. The healing will automatically revive them with no penalty.
This squad’s just fun. To be honest, by the time you get here and past the randomised squad, you should have a pretty good feel for the game and its Mechs. What follows isn’t a comprehensive breakdown of various combinations, but simply some recommended ones if you’re gunning for the full achievements (and secret that lies thereafter!)
Recommended set: Rocket Mech!
Picking a single Mech might seem like a tough gig. But, truth be told, when you factor in the skills and various enemies you’re going to run into… Ranged seems to be the way to go. Everything else will suffer from a short reach sooner or later. So the question is simply “which one kicks butt the most?”
Well… If you multiply the Rocket Mech by 3, its strength is obscene to the point that it stops being funny. The ability to crash down powerful rockets from all over the map is one thing… but the fact that all of them get to cash in on the damaging butt-smoke make it a terrifying force to behold. Charge them in and let them either wreck things or stall them. Whilst it’s normally dangerous to send artillery up close, what with its minimum range, it’s not like you don’t have 2 other Mechs to hand able to rain down obliteration instead…
Really, just crank up the damage and scout for a few supporting abilities to give you an ace-in-the-hole when you need one. The smoke air strike is always a winner if you can get your oily mitts on it.
Recommended set: Rocket Mech, Boulder Mech, Artillery Mech
Yeah, this one’s being a bit cheeky… It’s ultimately using a derivation of the awesome Rocket Mech combo whilst secretly wishing to be using the awesome Rocket Mech combo. The same protocol from before still stands: Pump up damage and smash artillery into anything remotely bug-like.
And seen as you’re using the Boulder and Artillery Mech, don’t forget to make full use of their quirks too. Get the building immune upgrade on the Artillery Mech to help manage sticky situations and have the boulder block emerging Vek if you find yourself with a free move. But ultimately it’s a simple case of rinse-and-repeat!
Recommended set: Jet Mech, Nano Mech, Swap Mech
This one’s the toughie. Possibly one of the toughest gigs you’ll come across in this game. Are you feeling ready? Crack open the hangar and have a look at your choices…
It won’t take long to see a big problem sticking out at you: Damage. Only 1 of the 5 flying Mechs is actually able to hurt anything … and that’s the Jet Mech. It is pretty much a must-have. Without it, you have no meaningful way of taking down any of the boss Vek. And even if you can muddle your way through the islands, the Psilon Tyrant that damages your Mechs every turn will be the killer – as it’s not like any flying Mech have much in the way of health.
Unfortunately though, your Jet Mech doesn’t have the electric smoke available to it, so you’re working with a measly 1 damage every turn.
And that’s where your Nano Mech comes in. It’ll ensure that your Jet is able to apply meaningful damage to the Vek, but still serve well to push Vek into hazards or away from shiny things. And the Swap Mech is there just because, well… it’s so damn cool.
For this combo, Camila Vera’s one of the best to use. Where you’re reliant on your Jet for damage, you don’t want to cramp its style with smoke or getting webbed.
Picking the island with the Psilon Leader tends to be a good start, as it has the least health of all leaders, so gives you the best chance to score well on the island. Failing that, just avoid the robot or any that spawn. Considering you’re kicking about with 2 science Mechs, picking levels with plenty of hazards will let them join in on the fun. If you can, avoid levels that require you to kill Vek or block them as you’re just not in much of a position to do either right now.
On the field, focus on your Science Mechs first. You only have 1 source of damage, so letting your Science Mechs plant enemies into water or in the way of each other will take the pressure off considerably. Let the Jet Mech chip away at anything else. When you face a boss, ACID it immediately and try to have either your Jet plough into it or the Swap Mech place it into the firing line of something else. You possibly have one of the most diverse array of abilities available to you, so kick back and take your time.
First order is business is the 1st range boost on the Swap Mech. You’re not going to be getting a great deal of utility out of it until it can warp from afar, so keep your beady eyes out for a time pod and use it straight away. The second is boosting the damage of the Jet (likely from the spoils of your first island) which, with the ACID, will let you land a nifty 4 damage on big targets. If you’ve never boosted the range of the Aerial Bombs, today is a good time to try them too – You want to squeeze every possible chance for damage out of your Jet. And if you can snag the 4-tile range upgrade on the Swap Mech too, you should be sitting pretty.
As you proceed, picking islands with fireflies, beetles or centipedes tend to be nicely lucrative as they offer up plenty of opportunities for your science Mechs to have them beating each other up. Truth be told, once you’ve got the main weapon boosts down you don’t need to fret too much about alternative attacks. Grab nice ones if you can, but you can afford to be picky. Spare reactors tend to be better served boosting your HP and movement to give you some more legroom anyway.
If you best the game with them, then very well done to you!
A reward for being utterly awesome. You now get to joyously fight fire with fire! The Secret Squad provides a somewhat fiendish challenge for veterans to sink their teeth into though. The nasty surprise is that your Vek count as ‘Cyborgs’ and not ‘Mechs’.
What this means is that every weapon and pilot is now incompatible with it. Even freebies like airstrikes will incur a +1 core penalty. As such, you have little in the way of tactical edges here… you just have to plain old out-think the enemy with what you have. And did I mention that what you have is very little damage?
Akin like the Steel Judoka, you have nothing that deals 2HP damage. Psilons will, once again, become a pain in the backside unless you can crash them into something. The good news is that your attacks scale very nicely once you fully upgrade them… so the challenge is just surviving long enough to do so. Bolstering your Techno-Hornet’s damage should take priority, as it’s the quickest upgrade you can get your grubby mitts on.
Picking your first island carefully is also very important. Ones with leapers are a good bet, as you can one-shot those. In terms of the leader Vek, avoid the spider, robot or blob to begin with, as they require too much upfront damage to be able to beat. As for the psilon… all are pretty trashy wherever you go, but the regen or armoured ones tend be worth avoiding where your damage is too paltry to be able to sink anything in one go. If you can, Detritus is also a decent island to start at, as you can tend to capitalise upon the pools of ACID to deal meaningful damage.
Of course, you’re unlikely to get all of these in one go so, at worst, aim for a workable boss/psilon combo. The first island will almost always be sucky, so don’t fret over losing buildings and just focus on getting reputation down so that you can acquire the all-important cores. Once you’re able to boost your team’s damage, they will quickly become surprisingly formidable. So the sooner you can core up, the better! Don’t faff about with HP, movement or new weapons either. Get the damage on the board first and foremost!
What to aim for:
- + Damage
The general order of upgrades to aim for is:
- – Hornet Upgrade I
- – Beetle Upgrade I and II
- – Hornet Upgrade II
Honestly, I wouldn’t worry too much about getting new kit online. The energy penalty makes all of them a pain to get live… so I’d only worry about them in longer games when you have the base weaponry of your entire team maxed out (and even then… boost movement instead)
Nice as it is to smash into foes head-first without hurting yourself, the paltry damage definitely sucks. The damage boost is 3 cores away though, so you’re in for a long wait.
It lacks the mobility of your Hornet, so give it the easy hits. Thankfully, unlike the Vek-versions, you’re not hindered by water so don’t panic if it’s in your line of charge. Though its charge lets it cover plenty of ground, try and keep it close to the action so that it’s easier to flank if you need to.
Whilst the smoke upgrade seems a bit naff, it’s actually quite important for the 2nd island and beyond. Try as you might, you’re eventually going to run into Vek that you just can’t get rid of easily. The smoke is your ace-in-the-hole to stall them long enough. It can also buy you breathing room if you’re in the fortunate position to smoke one and smash into another. Pick those moments where possible, as that will take off a lot of pressure from the others. Luckily, where you’ll be in the thick of it often, this should present itself more frequently.
This one can very quickly become your star player. Its flight and movement make it quite versatile right off the bat, but each weapon upgrade boosts both the damage and number of affected tiles too. In other words, at full level you can smash up to 3 tiles for 3 damage… and still shove whatever is in the last one! To say this is obscene is somewhat of an understatement. It’s a beefy 5 total to get though, so you’re better off getting the first upgrade early and then boosting your Techno-Beetle’s damage before coming back to this one. The last thing you want is a single mech carrying all of the damage and the other 2 just kicking gravel around.
Its flight makes it very easy to use, thankfully.
Despite its tactical strength, this one is better to leave at the back digging you out of sticky situations whilst you let the Techno-Beetle and Hornet get all the sweet kills and juicy upgrades.
Why? Its upgrade path is unusual. The first boost has it hitting two tiles (much like the crab’s attack) which certainly enables it to hit and move more foes about… but also makes it much harder to avoid friendly fire and collateral damage. To be really honest, you’re better off saving your cores to try and boost the weapon to max in one go. Only when you’re smashing the ground for 3 damage does the trade-off with multiple tiles work more favourably for you. Besides, against a single foe this attack can only deal 3 damage or move them, not both. So you tend to get more mileage out of the other Mechs. So whilst its ability to move far-distant foes will save you more than once, you tend to be better off leaving this one until last.
On the field:
Curiously, the playstyle will begin in a very similar fashion to the Rift Walkers. The trade-off for damage is that your Hornet can at least fly… But it does mean that you’re going to have a hard time clearing the board until you can level up properly.
Lead with your Beetle. Let it smash into the easy targets and leave the fiddly work to your Hornet and Scarab. Unless you’re duking it out with leapers, the first turn or 2 is predominantly going to be bruising Vek. Once their health is shaky after a few turns, see if you can actually start taking them down.
Once your damage is decent, then things actually get considerably easier. It just predominantly comes down to clustering up enemies where possible. Contrary to most loadouts, you have a number of multiple-tile damaging moves, so plan your moves carefully to make the most of it. Use one cyborg to damage and shove a Vek into its friends… then use another to shred the lot of them!