Kicking off the PSN PLAY 2013 promotion is Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark, a port of a PC game, originally titled Stealth Bastard. Stealth Bastard is definitely a more appropriate name as you’ll be swearing more than once during the course of your time with SI:ACitD; just not in a bad way.
How Much Is It?
$9.99/£7.99, complete with Cross Buy.
What’s the Story?
Ha! What story? You boot the game and just start playing levels, then get a few hints that this is sort of like Portal with clones.
What Do You Do?
The entire goal of Stealth Inc is to unlock the gate in each of the 80 levels (many of them need to be unlocked). This may sound easy, but there are tons of hazards spread about the game, forcing you to use pinpoint platforming prowess and the shadows to your advantage.
How Does It Look?
If you stare closely at the game (easiest to do on PlayStation Vita), it doesn’t look as smooth as it should, though overall I don’t have any complaints when it comes to the visuals of Stealth Inc as they get the job done.
How Long Is It?
The fact that there’s 80 levels may sound like you’ll beat this pretty quickly. With each of those levels taking around 2 minutes each, and countless minutes spent in them by restarting following one of my hundreds of deaths, I was surprised by how many hours it actually took just to beat the final level. Then, there’s the unlockable levels, online leaderboards, and S-Ranks to get you to come back for many more hours of stealthy fun.
Even though it may have confused me to end, forcing me to give up rather quickly, there is a full-fledged level editor included with the game. As of right now, you can’t share your creations, though a patch will enable that very shortly.
Is It Hard?
As Stealth Inc is a puzzle game, I always want my puzzle games to be smarter than I am, but not so difficult that I can’t figure out what to do and eventually give up out of frustration. This is where Stealth Inc excels because it strikes the perfect balance of being tough, yet not so much that you’ll be unable to clear a level.
Oddly though, the challenge seemed to peak around the 7th world of levels. Up to that point, new hazards, enemies, and more were being introduced that made the game better after each level. Once the 8th world rolled around, though, it seemed to get overly easy, with those final levels getting cleared rather quickly by me.
I still enjoyed going through them and reaching the finale, it was just disappointing to have the tail end be a cake walk when compared to previous worlds.
Is It Fun?
Since my previous comment pretty much answered this question (it’s lots of fun), I’ll use this space to voice a couple things that held back Stealth Inc from being even more fun. Through my many hours of playtime, I did notice several instances where I wound up in ‘no-progression scenarios’. While Stealth Inc has a great checkpoint system 90+% of the time, sometimes it will save you in a situation where you will die in a split second and no way to defend yourself, forcing you to restart the level.
From just regular play, I also came across times when I would do something to get myself stuck in a level, with no way to progress further, forcing a restart once again. On top of this, some levels go on for overly long periods of time, while others require pinpoint platforming accuracy to avoid certain death.
None of the negatives I just listed happen so much that Stealth Inc veers away from being enjoyable, they just hurt the overall fun factor a little bit.
To finish this answer on a happy note, I have to call attention the music that is simply awesome, and the text-based humor that makes you feel like you’re being followed by a silent GlaDOS.
Is It Worth the Money and Should You Buy It?
For $10 you get the PS3 and PS Vita versions, 80 enjoyable levels that will take hours to beat, and, when the patch goes live, the ability to play levels created by others. This game is definitely worth the money, and if you’re looking for a really good puzzle game, or just a really good game in general that will test your mind, Stealth Inc is something you should buy.
Review copy provided by the developers.