8.5
Our overall verdict "silver"

The game previously known as Stealth Bastard arrives on the Vita under the more wholesome moniker of Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark. Question is, is this your typical stealth game?

Is it hell. So you like stealth games where you can patiently wait in the shadows, taking your sweet time so you can sneak past blissfully unaware enemies do you? Well Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark wants you to take that idea of a stealth game and shove it where the sun don’t shine. This game is hard, aggressive and wants you to really earn your way to glory. The kicker is, it wants you to do it quickly too. Each sector appears to have 8 levels, but actually has 10. To unlock the 9th, you’ll need to gain an S rank. This is where the speed comes into it. It’s an unusual trait for a stealth platformer but it works brilliantly and makes this a high tension experience. It is really hard to gain an S rank at times. At one point I had the best time in the world and I still didn’t have an S Rank. The S Rank requires you to not die, not be seen and finish super quick. Each level has a hidden helix too. Find these and you will unlock the 10th level. Only then will you have completed the sector.

During the course of the 80 levels (not to mention the addition of the hefty Teleporter Chambers DLC), the game almost thrives on you going wrong. When you get spotted and burned from a sensor trap, the game will flash a quick message at you, from the funny (“Everybody does that”) to the downright mean (“Is this too hard for you?”). The game antagonises you to want to do better. That’s where Curve have got this right. It’s essentially tough love. The game spends the whole time poking the bear, but get something right and it will give you a little line of encouragement. It spurs you on and keeps you coming back to it. The Lost Clones DLC is also a fine addition. It’s very much more of the same

What also makes Stealth Inc. stand out is that it is essentially as much a puzzler as it is a stealth game. It’s extremely hard to figure out in places, but when you get that eureka moment by moving a block to hold shade over a computer you need to hack, it’s a great feeling. The game also slightly helps you out by your colour changing goggles. If they are green, you’re safe. If they’re red, you’re toast. The game looks brilliant on the Vita screen too. You’re set in an dingy factory setting but the neon lasers you need to avoid brighten things up hugely. As well as the aforementioned Teleporter Chambers DLC, another Stealth related item worth purchasing is the The Lost Clones DLC, which is an excellent addition. It’s very much more of the same, adding to an already brilliant experience. There are not any wildly different puzzles to decipher here, you have your 20 levels/boss fight etc. but it does have a slight twist.  Where the DLC differs is that it is actually even harder than the main game, which is quite a mean feat if you consider how tough the main game can be. That being said, it’s an essential purchase if you want the full Stealth Inc experience.

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With an awesome soundtrack and a lot of content (but sadly no Platinum :plat), Stealth Inc. is a triumph. It’s a mean triumph, but a triumph all the same. Curve Studios really are killing it at the moment and this is just another success to add to their fine list of curve-balls they’re throwing at us gamers. Step out of the shadows and go buy this game. You bastard.

 

Punk rating  8.5/10