Graphics:
7.8
Gameplay:
7.5
Sound:
8.0
Control:
7.3
Replay Value:
7.9
Overall Rating:
7.6
Online Gameplay:
Not Rated
Publisher:
Curve Digital Games
Developer:
Curve Digital Games
Number Of Players:
1-2
Genre:
Platformer
Release Date:
April 7, 2015


Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark was one of the most innovative and entertaining games of the year. The intoxicating blend of platforming and stealth elements, set within a dark tongue-in-cheek atmosphere that reminds one of Oddworld , was a necessary tonic. For me, it represented a step back from the inundation of AAA productions in which I’d been immersed, and reminded me that at its core, interactive entertainment doesn’t require next-level technical proficiency. However, the sequel, while still fun and wonderfully designed, comes across as less refined and more…annoying.

Even though the visual display is a little better than the original title, I actually think the overall presentation isn’t quite as good. This one just seems darker, drabber, and less inspired. While the puzzles are excellently conceived and implemented, the actual environment just isn’t all that involving. Too many of the areas just blend together and as a result, you feel removed from the experience. All you really want to do is tackle and conquer the next puzzle; I had less interest in actually exploring and learning more about my surroundings. But anyway, the animations are great and the effects are subtle yet slick, so those are bonuses.

As one might anticipate, much of Stealth Inc 2: A Game of Clones is played in relative silence. You’re trying to escape a dastardly laboratory of sorts and as such, there’s this continual sense of urgency. However, we don’t require a kickin’ soundtrack to enhance that urgency, as the tension comes by way of our situation. We know we’re as fragile as can be, and we know the odds are stacked heavily against us. And again, the effects are subtle yet effective; the sudden snap of a laser beam will make you jump, especially because it’s such a stark contrast to the general quiet. Otherwise, there isn’t much to talk about from a technical perspective.

The original game was a great mix of innovation and an homage to the olden days of puzzle/platformers. In the sequel, you play as the only clone that didn’t get ground into a sub-par meat product, and you have the opportunity to escape. Standing in your way is a barrage of deadly obstacles, including attack robots, traps, and a variety of nasty things that can end your life very quickly. As such, expect to die many, many times. That’s just part of the experience, really. The story is relatively straightforward, although more prominent than in the first title; the idea is simple: A scientist will nail down Employee of the Month if he succeeds in ending your pitiful life. So, the farther you get, the more irritated he gets and consequently, the tougher the puzzles get.

You really have to think on your toes. You won’t always have time to analyze and compute; sometimes you just have to react and hope for the best. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of this sequel is that it assumes you’ve played the original, and are therefore familiar with the game’s controls and steep difficulty. This will undoubtedly annoy first-timers who simply find the concept intriguing. The game starts off hard and remains hard throughout and while the puzzle purists will likely find it enticing, I’m afraid a lot of gamers will simply toss the controller away. The other problem is that your rewards – outside of a sense of a satisfaction – or sorta nonexistent.