Review of Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark from Curve Studios

Review of Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark from Curve Studios

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On first appearance Stealth Inc. looks like a rather cutesy take on a stealth espionage game like Splinter Cell. Your fun little character donning a set of night vision goggles that are now inseparable from Sam Fisher. And then very soon you will find your character minced or carved up or horrifically killed by traps in some way.

Luckily it turns out that your character is a nameless clone that are definitely not in short supply. Your purpose is to test and defeat the traps set out before you using your wits and cunning. Darkness is your friend and lighting plays a large part in the puzzles that Stealth Inc. presents you with. As does learning through mistakes.

Rather than tell or suggest to you what to do when a new type of puzzle shows up, Stealth Inc. will just make you get it wrong until you learn. Usually there’s an incredibly sarcastic comment written in shadow on a wall behind you. I don’t know how it is that when you get cruelly destroyed yet again trying to figure out how to progress that you laugh when the game taunts you. The comments add a much needed sense of comedy to what would otherwise be a potentially frustrating experience.

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The puzzles are very well designed and on more than one occasion have had me stumped for a good while until I finally figured out how to move on. There are enough elements to the puzzles that they stay fresh and creative throughout the game. Although for the most part the controls are fine on occasion failures can occur because you are unable to perform the actions you need to. Usually this is a timing issue as some of the puzzles rely on ludicrously specific timings. It’s unnecessary that clever puzzles also require such accurate platforming when accurate platforming is awkward to achieve. At times this can get a little annoying especially considering Stealth Inc. is perfectly capable of relying on the strength of its puzzles alone.

Everything is styled and themed with a sterile industrial feel that feels right at home for you and your clone. Stealth Inc. certainly looks good, especially the lighting. Despite its 2D platforming style the lighting in Stealth Inc. is surprisingly advanced. To move through your environment and avoid the devious traps laid before you, you will often rely on darkness. In the darkness you are (almost) entirely safe. Moving a block will see it cast an accurate shadow relevant to the source of light.

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Amongst the shadows and light, scuttling robotic turrets and smoothly panning cameras litter the environment. Everything still has a strangely cute and humorous look to it despite the unbelievable violence that inevitably awaits your nameless clone around every corner. It’s a strange contrast but it keeps the feel of Stealth Inc. light hearted.

Music also adds a lot to Stealth Inc’s undoubted style and charm. Pounding baselines accompany you throughout most of your journey and the music is surprisingly memorable for a platformer. The sound effects of the roaming robots and alarms are largely to be expected but they’re good quality and complement the environments nicely.

With challenging and fresh puzzle design and huge amounts of style, Stealth Inc. makes a great puzzler/platformer that’s difficult not to enjoy. Strangely cute clones combined with puzzles that are at times pure evil is apparently a winning combination. Stealth Inc. is a great puzzler that at times forgets how clever it is and asks for overly accurate reactions and timing. Despite this, a vast majority of Stealth Inc. is clever and challenging and is definitely a game well worth your time.

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