Welcome back to another 5&1 Review. This time, I’ll be taking a look at a fun stealth title on the Vita Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark.
Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark
What is the game: Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark, better known as Stealth Bastard on PC and mobile platforms, is a stealth platforming game where you control a clone trying to get through a variety of levels. Along the way, a variety of traps and robots will try to impede the clone from hacking machines to progress forward, requiring more skill and cunning as levels get harder.
How does it work: The game will test your mental abilities as you jump from ledges and hide in the shadows to avoid enemies. Each level has a puzzle element where you have to focus on how to get around an enemy or a light while figuring out the next button to press or how to make an enemy fall to a different area.
Stealth Inc., developed by Curve Studios, has a lot of similarities with Portal. You are constantly running through trials being set up by a nameless observer with plenty of sarcastic commentary to project on the walls. In addition, death waits around every turn if you mess up. At the end, the true purpose of the clone is finally explained, but you’ll have a good challenge on the way making it to that point.
The game is definitely one of the tough as nails titles that have become more popular in recent years. One misstep can quickly lead to a downfall and a checkpoint restart. However, checkpoints are used fairly often, meaning you don’t have to waste huge amounts of time getting back to where you failed.
Another element the game does well is adding new features in. The beginning starts with the basic shadow mechanic and block moving. However, by the end you’ll have encountered new barriers, warp pads and more to figure out how to use to your advantage.
While light plays a big part of the game, the title does give a few mechanics to help determine if you’re invisible to an enemy or not. The clone’s goggles show three different colors depending if you can be detected or not. In addition, the game also gives a little text showing if you’re detected, partially invisible or invisible. This is a great help in areas because I sometimes wasn’t sure if I was able to be seen or not in some spots.
Overall, the game features 64 regular levels, along with 16 that unlock by finding items in the levels and getting a high rank. Helping to achieve high ranks are five gadgets that unlock along the way.
Besides the story mode, the game also features a great level editor. While it could use a better tutorial, it really can let you see what the clone can fully do in levels by making worlds even harder than the developers did. Unfortunately, one of the biggest downfalls of the title actually is the inability to share levels with others, a sorely missed feature to see what other people have made.
Why should you care: Because both the stealth and platforming aspects have been greatly refined. Like other hard platformers like Super Meat Boy, the game is so well polished that deaths are never the games fault, but yours for messing up. In addition, the sarcastic text that pops up and eggs you along is also interesting to see throughout.
Who should buy it: People that love platformers that will give a good challenge. Later in the game, it does get a bit unforgiving and forces you to plan steps to avoid enemies and make it to the end. Those looking for a light platformer like Mario may want to look elsewhere.
When should you get it: When you need a break between bigger titles. The levels can normally be beaten in a few minutes, which are great chunks of time for a game that can be played on the go.
Where is it available: On the PlayStation Network or the PC version is available on Steam.