The PS Vita continues its mission to house "all of the indie games ever" with the release of Stealth Bastard - prudishly renamed to Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark for the PlayStation audience.
Just in case you haven't had enough puzzle-platformers recently, Stealth Inc provides physics-based puzzles that are as devious as they are full of life.
The more elaborate puzzles later into the game feel a bit too much like a slog than actual fun, but this is still an experience that's well worth having on your Vita.
You play as a series of clones who are shoved into deadly rooms filled with lasers, robots, and more, and told to reach the exit by any means possible.
This involves hunting down terminals, hacking them all, and forging a way past tricks and traps. Much of the game involves hiding in the shadows to sneak past the prying eyes of cameras and stalking robots.
Stealth Inc has its personality meter set way up to the max. The faces of the robots give you an indication of what they're thinking, while giant block capitals adorn the walls to laugh at your pitiful attempts to survive.
There's plenty of clever level design to be found throughout Stealth Inc, with numerous solutions that will make you say "ah ha!" It's especially great that each new zone brings completely new concepts and enemies along with it.
And the game comes with tons of reasons to play again and again, including hidden objects to discover, secret levels to unlock, and online leaderboards based around how quickly you snuck through each level.
What a b*stard
I really enjoyed my time with Stealth Inc, but I just wish that some of the later levels weren't so elaborate and drawn out.
The game is at its best when the action is quick, packed tightly together, and doesn't sprawl all over the place like a corn maze from hell. Unfortunately, plenty of the levels in the latter half of the game are like this.
It can make the experience feel rather daunting, and I eventually began skipping levels because I wasn't having much fun.
What also often happens with these longer levels is that you can see what the solution is, but actually getting to that solution can be easier said that done owing to some fiddly twitch-control sections and a lot of waiting around for robots and the like to shift into the appropriate positions.
It can be even more of a drudge when you die, thanks to erratic save points that variously dump you back into the thick of the action, force you to skip whole sections, or ask you to repeat banal steps again and again.
Stealth Inc is another great indie platformer for the PS Vita, despite the niggly second half. It's at its best when the formula is condensed down, and you'll find some of the best puzzles available on the Vita in the game's tighter moments.
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