Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones is a charming platform puzzler from Independent British developer Curve Digital. You play as a nameless and rather cute clone, as he (or she) attempts to outsmart Malcolm Aldershot’s attempts to end your existence and become the top employee of the month. While the cutscenes are enjoyable and sinister in humour, the story is rather weak. This poor helpless clone, who I affectionately named Steve, will die, die, and die again – with the amount of deaths involved, Malcolm wouldn’t just be employee of the month, but the year – and so undermines the point of the story. Instead, the story serves as background noise to the true reason for Steve’s existence –so that you can work out a solution to pass through each test chamber unscaved.
The biggest strength of Stealth Inc. 2 is the gadgets. A new one is introduced during each of the sections that make up the hub world and serve as a great dynamic in mixing up the puzzles, meaning you’ll need to change your thinking in order to adapt to and solve new puzzles that are thrown your way. Once you’ve completed all the test chambers in a section, that gadget is then available to you in the hub world, you can then use them to access areas that were previously unreachable. Testing… chambers… doesn’t this all sound rather familiar? Yes, Stealth Inc. 2 does have a slight Portal vibe to it!
Light has an important role too. You can use shadows to hide from cameras and sentries – your visibility is represented by the colour of Steve’s goggles — although I wonder why Curve Digital also decided to flash up words at the bottom of the screen that tell you how visible you are. Light also plays an important role in unveiling each test chamber, light pours over the screen painting in new areas. It can give a great sense of urgency and pace especially if a spinning blade is chasing you!
Some chambers use light as the core of the puzzle, eventually you will get a lantern as your gadget, and in this section the gameplay was easily my favourite of the game – it made for some wonderful puzzles that gave me a real buzz when playing and trying to work out the logic of how and what light did when it was positioned in certain points.
Steve is one cute chap and the game’s graphics are beautiful cartoon visuals, and I quiet enjoyed the soundtrack too, which never grated, but don’t let any of its cuteness fool you; Stealth Inc. 2 is quite the devious little bastard. Traps, jumps, robots and spikey things are all out to get you, but it never becomes too much of a frustration. Even when I got stuck, I couldn’t call it a night until I had solved the problem at hand. Often, the solution was so obvious that sometimes I had to remind myself not to over think the problem.
As you attempt to escape, you can also rescue your fellow clones although some will end up as casualties of your trial and error escape methods, and some will simply need to give up their existence for the greater good. It also wouldn’t be a test if your escapes weren’t timed. Completion time, deaths and times that you’re spotted all go to an overall completion rank and a higher position on the leaderboard — gaining an S rank in all test chambers is by no means an easy feat as is the earning of achievement points.
Over the years, I’ve grown quite fond of achievements and while there is the standard 1,000G up for grabs, there’s only 12 individual ones to aim for, so don’t expect Stealth Inc. 2 to dish them out easily — you will actually need to earn your achievements in this game!
I thoroughly enjoyed Stealth Inc. 2 – it’s a great platform puzzler that hooked me into “just one more level”. While the chambers are tricky rather than puzzling, the way you’re led through the game with new gadgets keeping each section fresh, it kept me wanting to push forward and I was genuinely gutted when the levels came to an end. Thankfully, there’s a good level editor that you can use to create and share your own test chambers – download, play and rate levels until your heart’s content.
If puzzles and platforms are your thing, then do yourself a favour and download Stealth Inc. 2: A Game of Clones today.
Thanks to Curve Digital for supplying TiX with a download code
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