ReviewsReview: Broken Lines

Review: Broken Lines


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War is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. However brutal this latest conflict is, we mustn’t forget the lessons of the past. Specifically, I’m referring to the atrocities of WWII. This dark blip in mankind’s existence must never be forgotten. Consequently, when game developers produce fresh material to tackle this issue, I applaud them. Broken Lines tries to bridge the gap between reality and artistic licence. Consequently, it has a massive job on its hands and risks being distasteful and vulgar.

Developed by Portaplay and published by Blowfish Studios, this is a WWII strategy game. What’s more, it has a hearty story, captivating characters, and plenty of depth. Furthermore, you must balance morality with success as you inspire your people to fight for you. However, this is easier said than done as you tackle heartless enemies in a cruel war.

Hide your squad in long grass and use hills to your advantage.
Use the environment to your advantage.

Broken Lines tells a chilling story. 

You control a band of soldiers who are stuck deep behind enemy lines. Their planes were shot down and they have no idea of their mission. Unfortunately, this top-secret endeavour was entrusted only to their commander. More unfortunately, still, he is MIA and his subordinates are left in the dark. However, their training kicks in as they work together to get back to Blighty. 

The story itself doesn’t sound that original. But trust me, the unusual twist on a classic idea was fascinating. Your enemies aren’t your run-of-the-mill Nazi soldiers. Instead, you are presented with faceless monsters in Nazi uniforms. This horrific twist adds a sinister edge to an already nasty period of history. Furthermore, the fantasy ideas help the game avoid a distasteful approach. 

A strange turn-based mechanic. 

Unlike many of its peers, Broken Lines blends real-time strategy with its unique turn-based mechanic. As such, there are no action points to be spent, nor do you instantly react to your opponent’s plan. Instead, you have a 9-second window to hide, explore, or fight. Consequently, you must use this time wisely and react accordingly. If you move and enemies are spotted, you must see out your original ideas before changing your tactics. 

This strange approach was tough to get used to. However, once you understood its limitations, it created a fulfilling and rewarding experience. Furthermore, it made you think several steps ahead as you sought cover, studied your surroundings, and planned for every eventuality. Yet, not everything could be accounted for, and occasionally, a stroke of luck was your best friend. 

An encampment glowing at night.
What secrets does it hold?

Bartering and morality.

The aforementioned turn-based combat was intriguing, but I preferred the squad element more. Much of Broken Lines focuses on morality, supplies, and relationships with one another and the locals. Moreover, minor spats and disagreements impact how your team interacts and how much the locals respect you. Consequently, if you are heartless and unkind, you won’t get the supplies you need to survive your ordeal. Furthermore, if the team falls out, this impacts your ability to succeed.

I adored this ingenious mechanic as it made the gameplay much more rounded. What’s more, it enhanced the depth of the story while increasing the tactical elements. Alongside this, you were free to improve your weapons, equipment, and supplies. If you do this, you can improve your chances of survival. Yet, this is reliant on you having money and a great relationship with the locals. Subsequently, you may have to beg, steal, and borrow to find some cash. Alternatively, will you help the locals by controlling your men and preventing crimes? Whichever path you choose, it has deep-seated ramifications for that playthrough.

Broken Lines has a grim and earthy appeal. 

Like every great WWII game, Broken Lines has chosen a grim and earthy aesthetic. As such, this colour palette enhances the sinister and ominous atmosphere. What’s more, the excellent cartoon stills look fantastic while helping to progress the story. Alongside this, the isometric viewpoint and free-moving camera make the game easy to play. This element was important, as you must plan every moment if you wish to succeed. Accordingly, the developers got their visuals spot on and the game performs admirably because of it. 

The excellent visuals were complemented by the rich and varied audio. With sombre songs, crashing sound effects, and some fascinating acting, it feels era-specific. Furthermore, you’ll adore the cast of characters thanks to their cutting one-liners, background stories, and ever-changing relationships.

The squad are surrounded by an army of strange soldiers.
That’s a challenging battle to overcome.

It’s surprisingly easy to play.

Once you get your head around the 9-second rule, Broken Lines is surprisingly easy to play. Thanks to the fantastic tutorial and brilliant UI, you’ll easily navigate each action and perform each task. Understandably, though, this would perform better with a mouse and keyboard. However, the controller is responsive and accurate enough to do a great job as well. 

With multiple storylines and several variations on each mission, there is plenty of longevity and replay value. Furthermore, the relationship and morality elements keep the action fresh on multiple playthroughs.

Broken Lines depicts war in a tasteful but cruel way. 

I thoroughly enjoyed Broken Lines’ tactical elements. Moreover, I enjoyed the 9-second rule and the usual run and gun and cover mechanics. On top of this, the bartering system was interesting and challenging to balance. However, I cherished the excellent story, the morality elements, and the wonderful characters. Furthermore, it depicts war in a tasteful but cruel war. Accordingly, I adored it and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you defeat the mysterious army and return home? Work together, plan ahead, and remember that your choices matter. 


Broken Lines is a solemn depiction of war that hits the right notes. With a sombre audio and a fascinating roster of characters, you'll be drawn into this alternative version of WWII.

+ The isometric viewpoint and free-flowing camera work wonderfully.
+ An earthy colour palette.
+ Atmospheric audio.
+ Fascinating plot.
+ Interesting core mechanics.
+ Simple controls.
+ Loads of replay value.

- History buffs may not like the alternative story.
- Each decision can undermine your approach and tactics.

(Rating: PEGI 18 Extreme Violence Release date: 14/12/2022 Price: £15.99)

(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)

Daniel Waite
Daniel Waite
My gaming career started on an Amiga and spans many consoles! Currently, I game using an MSI laptop and Xbox Series X. A fan of every genre, I love to give anything a go. Former editor and reviewer for, I'm loving my new home here at Movies Games and Tech. I can be contacted for gaming reviews on the following email:

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<p class="has-text-align-justify" style="font-size:14px"><em>Broken Lines</em> is a solemn depiction of war that hits the right notes. With a sombre audio and a fascinating roster of characters, you'll be drawn into this alternative version of WWII.</p><br/> + The isometric viewpoint and free-flowing camera work wonderfully.<br/> + An earthy colour palette.<br/> + Atmospheric audio.<br/> + Fascinating plot.<br/> + Interesting core mechanics.<br/> + Simple controls.<br/> + Loads of replay value.<br/> <br/> - History buffs may not like the alternative story.<br/> - Each decision can undermine your approach and tactics.<br/> <br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(<b>Rating:</b> PEGI 18 Extreme Violence <b>Release date:</b> 14/12/2022 <b>Price:</b> £15.99)</p><br/> <p class="has-text-align-center" style="font-size:10px">(Reviewed on the Xbox Series X. Also available on Xbox One, PC (Steam), Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5)</p><br/>Review: Broken Lines