Stealth games on mobile can be a bit of a mixed bunch. On the one hand you've got the super-deep games that punish you for spending a second too long in the light, and then you've got the more casual experiences that pretty much let you scream your lungs out in a group of guards and get through unscathed.
Sneak Ops fits somewhere in the middle of those two poles. It strips back the stealth experience into a pretty interesting midcore shape, leaving the bare bones but keeping plenty of the tension.
It's taut, but it's also got the friendliness of an arcade score-chaser. Imagine a Nitrome take on creeping through a futuristic warehouse and you're pretty close to what you get here.Hide me
The game is split into little sections of scurrying around. To move you just tap on a square on the slightly-gridded levels and your sneaky hero will scuttle there as quickly as their little legs allow.
There are guards and cameras keeping an eye out for you though, their vision represented by a yellow cone that sweeps around as they move. Get spotted and the alarm sounds, and you've only got a few seconds to get to safety.
You can punch some guards to knock them out, but they don't stay down for long. Cameras have blind-spots you can cower under while they move, then dart out of when they're pointing in the right direction.
It's a clever system, and new ideas are dropped into it regularly. There are flashing laser gates that will set off the alarm if you pass through them when they're closed, guards you can't punch out, and sections that are filled with poisonous gas that you need to get through quickly.
And it's all delivered in super-short, bite-sized chunks. Every few levels you'll come across a checkpoint, which you can unlock either by watching a video, or spending some of the floppy disks you've picked up on your travel.
You never have too far to track back when you're spotted, and that means you're always pushing on to get a little bit farther into the complex.
Everything comes together to make a slick, enjoyable, and slightly different experience. Sneak Ops might not have the narrative depth of other hide-here-then-move-there games, but it does manage to ratchet up the tension with its short-bursts of play.
This is the perfect game for any stealth fan looking for something to fill those phone-sized gaming breaks that life offers up.
And even if you're not a fan of hiding in the shadows, the arcade beat of the play means you're going to find something to enjoy here.