Look at many of the tabletop RPGs out there, beginning with Dungeons & Dragons, and their influences will be pretty obvious and, for the most part, Western. We’re talking Terry Brooks, Robert E. Howard, Ursula K. Le Guin, George R.R. Martin, Michael Moorcock, Jack Vance, and of course, J.R.R. Tolkien — to name a few. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it does sometimes feel like many fantasy RPGs are just recycling a lot of the same tropes and clichés. Which is why Break!! has caught my eye to the extent that it has.
One look at its cover art, and it’s immediately obvious that Break!!‘s primary influences come from the realm of anime, manga, and Japanese RPGs including Berserk, Nausicaä, Record of Lodoss War, Final Fantasy, and Secret of Mana. There are plenty of “traditional” fantasy tropes (e.g., elves, dwarves, goblins, wizards) but so much more that feels distinctly anime-esque.
For example, two of the possible classes (or “Callings,” in the game’s parlance) are “Battle Princess” and “Murder Princess.” Which are perfect if you ever dreamed of playing a “Magical girl” type. And if you’re a fan of “Isekai,” then you can play as a “Dimensional Stray.” As for the game’s setting, characters travel throughout the Outer World, a “post-apocalyptic fantasy setting full of derelict mega structures, shambling war machines, and nature warped by magical pollution.”
Break!!‘s Kickstarter campaign — which concludes on May 17 — has already blown past its initial goal, raising over $122,000 as of right now. And honestly, backing the campaign seems worth it just to own the rulebook, which looks absolutely gorgeous thanks to the artwork of one Grey Wizard and is filled with nearly 500 pages of delightful details. It’s clear that Break!! is very much a passion project, especially given that the game’s developers have been working on it for a decade.
It’s been really cool to see how the RPG space has exploded in recent years, with indie publishers moving out from under the shadow of Dungeons & Dragons to create new titles and fantastical worlds. There’s a wealth of material and inspiration to draw from out there, so I’m excited to see games like Break!! and Icon tap into sources beyond the usual fantasy fare.