Platforms: Xbox One, PC, PS4 (version reviewed), PS3, PSVita, WiiU
When Stealth Inc released in 2013, it was at the beginning of the indie game revolution for home consoles. At the time, it was one of a host of digital only titles which signified the direction the industry would find itself today. Now we find ourselves inundated with small and quirky 2-D platformers, released almost weekly. So is Stealth Inc. 2 – A Game Of Clones just another run of the mill release?
The cheeky subtitle should fill you in on what this game is all about. You play as one of a host of clones who are trying to escape a cloning facility. The plot is quite loose and from the offset you’re given very little clue as to what the motivation is for such large scale industrial cloning. Story segments are visualized via very basic and non voice acted imagery, I found myself pretty much ignoring the story at first. As it unfolds and takes quite a dark turn, it slowly started to grow on me and I found motivation in wanting to help our clone hero escape. Another surprising motivation came in the form of the simply stunning synth soundtrack. From the first few hectic moments the soundtracks booms and is just a taste of what’s to come.
To aid this escape you must master pretty simple platforming controls, if you played the original you will feel right at home from the start. Grabbing ledges, ducking under shafts and pressing switches are on show here and it never really does anything new in that respect. What is slightly unique to the title are the clones themselves. As the aim is for them all to escape, you will find clones dotted around the facility, a few will aid your escape (with some sacrifices needed…), a few you will need to save and some will downright leave you to your doom. I counted up to 8 clones on-screen one time and at times it can get quite hectic with the puzzle elements thrown in.
Each room you move into is pretty much a puzzle within itself and conquering a new location is your progression. As first it’s all about simple platforming, but later it becomes far more complex with a host a features and variables. Stealth is an important aspect (it’s in the title after all), you will find yourself utilizing shadows, sneaking and using smoke to help bamboozle the host of security systems you need to avoid. The security systems start of as easy to fool camera systems and machines, but as you progress these turn far more menacing and unsettling, the feeling of being hunted is one you’ll become used to in later sections. Death and failure is a big part of this game, so if you don’t enjoy constant trial and error, look elsewhere.
Thankfully Steath Inc 2 does throw in a few distractions to stop you getting tired of the premise. A leaderboard system for the host of puzzle rooms and a pretty deep and a robust level creation and sharing system are on hand. The collectables system was what I found myself diving into the most. These are in the form of brief cases that hold a ton of hats and outfits to literally have your clone stand out from the crowd.
Alas the game is not perfect however, with my biggest problem being its similarity to the original. It doesn’t really deviate at all and even with the clone system, I still didn’t feel like I was doing anything new. Another annoyance came in the form of the Dualshock 4 lightbar. Your clones specs change from green to red with each jump and in turn your lightbar does to. As some areas have a ton of jump sections, I found this flashing quite distracting, with no option to turn it off. Of course that would only occur in the PS4 version however.
Overall Stealth Inc 2 is a very solid sequel which is just as strong as the original but unfortunately doesn’t really surpass it. You will find a lot to do in this title and the platforming/sneaking sections really can be fun and slightly ingenious at times. The thumping soundtrack (which gives Hotline Miami a run for its money) played a key part to me enjoying the title, it’s been sometime that I’ve left a game running, simply to listen to a track or two (have a listen here). Overall this isn’t just another indie platforming clone, but it sadly doesn’t do quite enough to set itself apart from the plethora of similar titles out there.
+ Stellar Soundtrack
+ Tough yet rewarding gameplay
+ Deep level creation system