Published on December 3rd, 2014 | by Muse Shake0
Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones for Wii U Review
Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones comes with a strong mantel to uphold after the acclaim of the original, and high expectations can easily go either way for a game. Luckily for myself, and perhaps for this review I came in blind, having never played its predecessor, nor really being aware what kind of game it was going to be. Sometimes there’s a simply beauty to approaching a game or a film with no previous knowledge, and I think it made me appreciate many of the finer aspects of Stealth Inc 2 with a degree I might not have otherwise.
The first thing I noticed about the game was the music. Even in the starting sequences the dark electro feel is strong, giving a sense of both the setting and the danger. You are instantly aware that this place is working against you, even before an initial cut scene you know that the environment will be your obstacle. I was quite impressed with the ability to convey so much so quickly, and it had me pretty excited for the rest of the game. Sadly this opening hint did not lead on to a grand story of intrigue, but it did prelude some great atmosphere, aesthetic and puzzles, and I think that’s what most of us are really here for.
If you are curious about the story and setting, it’s sort of an odd mix between Abe’s Oddworld and Portal. You’re a clone, one of many. A test subject with a minion-esque appearance and a penchant for defiance. Initially the game has you doing puzzles or ‘tests’ (you really love t test) for a business man who wants to usurp a rival, but relatively early on you clue in on the notion that perhaps you and your buddies are going to become hamburgers, and decide to use your test solving prowess to beat the system and save your friends. Initially I thought the clone story device was going to be used as a scapegoat for regens upon death, but instead you are an individual, an exception to the rule, and perhaps that’s why you have the potential to be their saviour.
Puzzle wize the game is very strong. I’m not even the biggest fan of puzzles and I could feel that they were good. Stealth Inc 2 starts you off nice an easy, with a good incremental slide. They manage to mix this with an appropriate sense of achievement so even though they puzzles aren’t hard in the beginning, you still feel awesome for doing them. It also introduces various mechanics throughout the game, starting you off with switches and platforming, and later adding more gadgets to your arsenal to avoid boredom and repetition. It also uses a sort of over-world as a level select screen which also contains puzzles, meaning you may have to earn the right to move on in the game. This combined with rankings for your speed and collectibles, means that even those with a desire for difficulty will find that this game can keep their attention.
As with many Wii U titles there is also a co-op mode offered, with the ability to couch buddy up and have a friend take the gamepad. I expected this to make missions easier, but often this was quite the contrary. Adding a player doesn’t give you another clone, instead it gives you a sort of helper, with the ability to use gadgets to assist you. This takes abilities that would normally be player one away from them to give player 2 something to do, adding communication to the to the list of obstacles. A co-op buddy also means that some enemies will be invisible unless highlighted on the gamepad to the main player, so in many ways an additional player can be seen to make the game a little harder. I found that as I went through more missions with a friend, there was a mix of what was easier and what was made more difficult by having a player 2, but overall while it’s definitely nice to have the option of co-operative play, it feels unnecessary and pushed onto the game.
The only other complaint I could feel justified in making is that while attractive, the overall appearance of the game can be quite samey as to the setting. I might not have even noticed this, but for the fact that I would often run into a problem where I was not sure if there was a wall or a gap I could pass through due to the darker aesthetics. This caused me some frustration more than once during my play-through, and caused me to feel stumped, searching for a solution when in fact it was just to walk on through.
I was truly pleasantly surprised by Stealth Inc 2. It feels like a lot of other games in lots of a little ways, so I can see it having trouble establishing a true identity to grab hold of. It’s got a case of the ‘like Oddworld/Rayman/Portal etc but’ and perhaps not enough unique to itself to entirely stand alone. This however does not make the game any less entertaining or ‘good’ just harder to say why without relying on siting other sources. If you like puzzles, it’s well worth a look, and even if you’re like me and you’re not the biggest fan it’s still a lot of fun. Even if you’re just looking at something a little bit different to play on your Wii U, I really do recommend giving Stealth Inc 2 a look, especially with the reasonably modest price tag.
Summary: A very decent and well made platformer puzzle game, with a lot of really great aspects to it. Lacking a little bit of individuality and innovation, but definitely fun and worth a look.