Now Playing: Stealth Inc.: A Clone In The Dark

Posted: July 29, 2013 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Awakening from my container I found myself looking for a way out. However, I realized that I wasn’t alone. There were others. Surprisingly, they all looked just like me. Slightly pudgy body with big green Sam Fisher style goggles that all of a sudden turned red when I was in the light. At this point I began to wonder if I was me, or if I was just another fabricated clone. Well I can’t think too much about that now, because I need to find a way out of the madness. Is there an exit, or is this just another test? Will there be…cake?

Featuring 80 levels of brain melting puzzle madness that tested both my mind, and my patience, Stealth Inc.: A Clone In The Dark, from Curve Studios, charged me with the mission to find a way out. What really jumped into my mind was that while I was playing Stealth Inc. I couldn’t help but compare the game’s similarities to another puzzle masterpiece simply known as Portal.  Let’s do a quick head count shall we. Unknown protagonist, companion cube like moveable blocks, turrets, portal style teleporter pads, and a silent AI antagonist similar to the evil sarcastic style of GLaDOS. Yes, Stealth Inc. has a lot in common with Valve’s juggernaut. However, before I call this game a 2-D Portal clone there is something that separates this indie gem from the mega-hit retail game. Stealth.

Not to be confused with the likes of the Metal Gear Solid and Splinter Cell series, Stealth Inc. had me working in the shadows of darkness to achieve my goals. Each stage is well lit up, but also features items where I could create shadows so that the cameras couldn’t see me while I was hacking consoles to keep progressing through the levels. The key to safety and success depended all on the color of my goggles. While the goggles are green I was somewhat safe. Once they turned red it became run and hide, because death was imminent especially if there’s a camera around. Getting spotted by these would activate various death traps including lasers or closing walls which would leave me as nothing more than a blood stain on the wall.

Stealth Inc. basically boils down to the type of game where trial and error plays a huge role upon success. Death is a commonality as I found my blood splattered everywhere. While death sucks, and doing it multiple times can lead to frustration, the good news is that I get unlimited lives (hence the term clones) along with a checkpoint with each terminal I hack in to. Death no longer becomes a moment of rage. Instead it becomes a learning experience which will also help in future levels so that I don’t get vaporized by a laser or torn to shreds from a buzzsaw. Along with my successes came unlocked equipment allowing me to retackle levels with a bit of an added advantage including enabling a limited camouflage when I was in the light to summoning extra clones to cause a distraction while achieving my goals.

While Stealth Inc. kept me busy with it’s challenging puzzles, I did eventually stumble upon another unique feature. A level creator. Yes, now I can create my own frustrating puzzles to really challenge my brain as well as my reflexes. Every tool that was in the game is also at my fingertips as I worked my own cleverness and devious mischief into making levels all with the goal of frustrating others. Sadly, I then found out that I can’t share my evil genius with the online community. What the fuck! Are you kidding me? Why did the developers not consider this when games like Little Big Planet and Trials Evolution allow players to share their custom levels with the world? Might I suggest a future patch to make this happen.

Challenging gameplay, mind bending puzzles, and a fun level creator. Stealth Inc. has it all. Replay value is high with stars and ranks to obtain, unlockables to earn, and leaderboards to show skill and superiority. Sure the trial and error style gameplay will have some players throwing their controllers and yelling tons of obscenities at their television screens, but there is still fun to be had as well as the eventual sigh of relief when making it through a tough level. Remember that key word “fun” while constantly dying yet still learning at the same time, because that’s what games are really all about.

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Developer: Curve Studios
Platform: PlayStation 3, PSN
Players: 1
Price: $9.99

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