How many of you have heard of and played Stealth Inc, aka Stealth Bastard? This was a gem of a game where staying hidden played a huge role with solving environmental puzzles. You played as a goggle wearing clone who had to stay in the shadows in order to make his way through a testing facility. One wrong move would mean your death. It was a rather fun game with influences from both Metal Gear and Super Meat Boy. Well, there is a followup to that game now in the form of Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones and Curve Digital has done a heck of a job with it. Everything from the story to the graphics have been improved, but the underlying gameplay remains the same. Use death as a learning tool and find a way to escape.
Stealth Inc 2 differs from the original game in a variety of ways. For starters, there seems to be an underlying story now where as the original just basically put you straight into testing levels. This one seems to point out that there is a plot going on at the PTI toy testing facility that is being orchestrated by some disgruntled worker. There are also little bits of commentary that appear while playing each of the test chambers which kind of egg you on, jokingly mocking you as if someone were watching you.
Another difference in the game is the way test chambers are set up. Instead of being just fed to you one after another, you actually have to find them now. Your clone gets to actually explore the entire testing facility, unlocking portions of it as your find and complete test chambers. This is actually a big deal as it really makes the game that much larger than the first with the exploration of the facility being another huge environmental puzzle in itself. There are over 60 varied levels linked together by this new sprawling and detailed overworld.
Graphically, Stealth Inc 2 is also an improvement. Though this one and the original share a similar style and look, Stealth Inc 2 just looks so much better. The art is so much sharper and the animations seem more fluid. It’s not as pixelated as the original either. The environments also look a bit better overall. The game also now runs at 60fps.
With the gameplay, this will be familiar territory for those who played the first one. The premise is to get from the start of the test chamber to the exit door at the end. You do this by activating computers or buttons or any other item that gets you to the door. Early levels are easy where as the later ones require you to avoid or destroy enemies. There’s also the whole thing with avoiding detection where being spotted by cameras could activate traps or weapons fire that can kill you instantly. It’s all laid out as an environmental puzzle that you’ll have to solve to exit. Like the original, there is also a scoring system in place that judges you on how quickly you can finish as well as whether or not you die in the process. You can play each over and over again to improve your score and time.
New to the game are gadgets. These add new elements allowing the devs to expand on the environmental puzzles. For example, there is now a new Inflate-A-Mate gadget you can find. These can be used for a variety of purposes such as a temporary weight for switches, platforms to stand on to get to higher ledges, and also spring boards to jump really high. It’s quite a versatile gadget that gets you to places you couldn’t otherwise get to without it. You can even move it around while it’s activated. The gadgets add something quite new to the puzzle solving element and it’s something that helps keep the game fresh and new.
- Break free from the linear levels of the original game in a fully explorable Metroidvania style overworld, rescuing your fellow clones through a diabolical testing centre with five distinct areas and 60 individual levels of traps, puzzles robots and lasers.
- Test out the latest in hi-tech gadgets from the friendly, smiling face of the Inflate-A-Mate™ to homicidal cloning tools like the Me Too™, equipment and gadgets are part of the game like never before. You’ll use your gadgets to not only solve puzzles but also open up new paths and discover the games many secret and hidden area.
- Enjoy HD graphics running at 60 frames-per-second, animated cut scenes and a synth-heavy industrial soundtrack. Feast your eyes the many varied environments of the facility, including outdoor levels for the first time in the series.
- Test yourself both as a player through the online leaderboards and raking system, and as a designer with a fully functioning level editor that allows you to create and share complex levels with friends, enemies and parents.
Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones is an amazing followup to an already great game. I love that the game still feels like the original, but adds so much more. The exploration aspect of the game adds a Metroidvania feel to it which I love, while the introduction of gadgets really makes the gameplay in the test chambers that much more grand. It really adds variety to the puzzle aspect so it doesn’t just feel like the same old game.
Like the original, you can play the test chambers over and over again to improve your scoring and you can do it right from the menu without having to backtrack through the facility. If you get bored with that, you can also try your hand at creating your own levels. This is something I haven’t tried yet, mainly because I’m still having so much fun with the main game and I completely suck at making levels.
Stealth Inc 2 is a game that I really think anyone who has a PS Vita should have and if not, play it on your PS4. It’s an experience that needs to be had and it’s one of the better indie games out there where gameplay is the main focus. If you’ve been waiting for a stealth oriented game, this is a really good one to have.
Review code provided to us by the publisher/developer.
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