Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones

Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones

PC, PS3, PS4, XBOX ONE, WII U, PS VITA | Dev & Pub by Curve

Rating: 4/5

Stealth Inc 2 is a sequel to Stealth Bastard Deluxe, a stealth-based 2D platformer. You play a clone who is attempting to escape his cloning facility and, in the process, discover the reason the clones exist. Cut scenes show a human working overtime monitoring the clones attempting to get to the top of the leaderboard.

At its core, this is a puzzle game. While it’s a side-scroller-type game, you have to make use of pre-existing portals and many other level mechanics and tools to make your way through deadly “tests” set up by the facility. All the while, text appears on the screen berating you as you play — every time you fail to manoeuvre your way around lasers, guards, explosives and sometimes even large spiky balls that chase you, the text pops up, essentially calling you an idiot. Even when you do manage to pass a test, you’re still treated patronisingly. However, the text serves more purpose than to antagonise you — it also (however rudely!) gives hints and instructions for how you can make your way through the level. Because of the antagonistic text, I was reminded a lot of Portal and Glados’ instructions. The platforming style is similar to that of Super Meat Boy, while the stealth mechanics are reminiscent of the Metal Gear Solid series.

Each level is fairly short — so it’s not tedious, and if you die, you don’t go all the way back to the start, just back to a little bit before you died. This is a nice mechanic because you are going to die a lot in your attempts to solve the level. In saying this, its design is very intuitive and easy to pick up. You’re introduced to each mechanic individually and quickly learn the rules of the world. In some rooms, you have to move quickly to solve the puzzle and get out alive. Other rooms take a little longer to solve, and there’s no immediate threat (unless you mess up), so you can take your time to make your way through the level. Stealth Inc. 2 is very impressive in the way it manages your learning curve, feeding you new mechanics and challenging you as you progress, deftly walking the line between frustrating and hand-holding.

Replay value is pretty high, as you can come back to older levels and find different ways to get through them, as well as beating time scores for how quickly you made it through. There are some parts of levels you can’t get to the first time you play through, but when you revisit them either in the narrative, or once you have access to different tools, you can get access to these different aspects.

The music is also a lot of fun, somehow managing to be both bouncy and upbeat, but also dark and creepy, and not at all distracting. Thematically, it ties in very well to the game itself, offering a sneaky, espionage vibe to your mission. But be aware, it can get a little repetitive in long sessions and, coupled with a difficult level, might make you want to throw your controller at something.

I really enjoyed this game — but I am definitely into puzzle and logic games generally. If you have the patience and enjoy solving puzzles, then you’ll probably enjoy Stealth Inc 2. But if you prefer the kind of game where you run through guns blazing, you won’t enjoy it. This game takes a bit of patience and logic to get through, but the cute clones, amusing story and rewarding gameplay are totally worth it.

This article first appeared in Issue 20, 2015.
Posted 1:59pm Sunday 16th August 2015 by Anonymous Bird.