Review: Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones
At least once a month I end up reviewing another puzzle platformer. With the heavy oversaturation of that market, games really need that special something to stand out in the crowd. Whether it be a certain style of graphics, an interesting story, or just amazing gameplay, everyone needs to differentiate in some way shape or form. Stealth Inc. 2 was able to capture my attention and is a pretty good game in the end.
Stealth Inc. has had an interesting life. Starting out as a flash game known under the name of Stealth Bastard, it made its way onto PC and PlayStation platforms under the name of Stealth Inc as a remastered version. After a long while, Stealth Inc. 2 was announced, but only on the Wii U. Six months later, the game has arrived on PlayStation platforms.
Stealth Inc. 2’s story was much better than I was expecting for a game like this. An evil group of unethical scientists are making clones to run through tests with points being earned for each death. You play as a single clone trying to escape one evil scientists traps. The story is told through a series of cutscenes that play and writing on the walls as you progress through the levels. While not being too in-your-face, the story managed to grab me and entice me as to what was coming next. It created an ominous feel in the laboratory complimented by the graphics in the game. The aesthetic is neat and outstanding for a game of its kind.
The game’s levels are played in sort of a Super Mario Bros. format. Levels are divided into 8’s and there are 8 sections to play. They’re called test chambers and to get to each one you have to travel through an over world to get to them. This means that to get to every level you must traverse through a metroid-vania style map and solve puzzles on your way. I don’t feel the idea is entirely necessary though. It was more of an annoyance than an interesting addition as I just wanted to get to the levels. I preferred the more arcadey style of just going from one level to the next instead of having to get to each one myself. The puzzles in the overworld were often more frustrating then fun and can be deterring for someone who just wants to get to the chambers.
But the reward for that pain is excellent. The test chambers are a puzzling delight. You might have heard this if you’ve read some of my previous reviews, but most of the time I despise puzzle games. I don’t like having to figure out those kinds of things because frankly I think most puzzle games are too hard. Stealth Inc. 2 hits the sweet spot. The game has an excellent difficulty where the puzzles are still difficult, but not so hard to make you want to stop playing. It feels immensely rewarding to finish one of these puzzles after experimenting with enemy patterns and timing of cameras.
And how could I leave out talking about the stealth mechanics in a game titled Stealth Inc. Both enemies and cameras are positioned in the levels to try to kill you. Both of these have cones of vision almost like the characters in Metal Gear Solid. Throughout the game you learn enemies patterns and even have to use them for your advantage in each puzzle. All of the enemies are incredibly refined and the cameras are ingeniously placed. The stealth aspect to these puzzles make them even more fun and adds a layer of difficulty that’s once again more fun than frustrating.
While going from test chamber to test chamber you will unlock different objects to help you solve puzzles. After you get these tools levels are designed to make use of them. The first one you get is called the Inflate-A-Mate; a cube you can throw and have expand into a large block. Puzzles, for example, will have you position the cube to press a button or even launch you up to higher platforms using strategic timing. Each item you get is well thought out and easy to use which is definitely another thing this game has going for it.
After beating the 8 level section, there is a boss fight. These are against sentinels; giant robots with a massive filed of view. These are some of the most fun puzzles in the game. I really liked having to dodge the sentinel while completing the puzzle, and the quick parts where I had to try to run away were even better. Like the whole game, and like most of the other things in this review I’ve talked about, these boss fights are very polished and a blast to play.
Stealth Inc. 2 also comes with a level editor so you can build your own levels and share them with the community. I messed around in it for a while, and my results were far less than fruitful. Personally, I found it very confusing and hard to use especially with the UI looking the way it does. The whole menu is a neon yellow mess and everything is just hard to sort through. However, other people seem to have found their way around it, because there is already a plethora of community levels already in the game for you to play. I’m happy that the community levels are going to give this game a much longer life, but the level editor is definitely not the best.
Stealth Inc. 2 is an excellent experience. I really enjoyed almost everything about it from the story to the gameplay. I just wish the overworld you have to travel and the level editor were a little bit better. All in all, puzzle game fans owe it to themselves to try out Stealth Inc. 2, you won’t regret it.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Perfect difficulty
- Stealth and item mechanics
- Boss levels
- Foreboding mood
- High replayabilitiy due to community
What I Dislike:
- Overworld to get to test chambers
- Level editor is clunky