It's amazing that it took this long for a developer to combine the stealth and puzzle genres together. It's a logical amalgam; after all, at its core, a stealth game is really just a puzzle game with an action-oriented twist. With Stealth Inc. Ultimate Edition, developer Curve Studios boldly goes where no indie developer has gone before and attempts this fusion of stealth and puzzler and brings to life a game that is more than the sum of its parts.
Not Just Puzzle-Based Stealth
At its core, Stealth Inc. Ultimate Edition is about the fusion between the puzzle and stealth genres but the overall game ends up being much more than that.
The premise of Stealth Inc. is sticking to the shadows while simultaneously devising how to navigate through a particular level. For example, you may need to push a block to create a shadow that lets you hack the security panel, away from the prying eyes of a security camera. In another scenario, you may need to navigate through a laser grid to reach the other side of a room. Knowing the correct path through a level is only half the battle, with the other half having the reflexes and skills to make it through in one place. Death comes quickly in Stealth Inc. as your character can only take one hit before dying.
Finishing a level isn't the end but likely only the beginning, as each level has a hidden Helix piece to find and also a time limit that must be beat to achieve the highest ranking. Your first try through a level will be just to finish it, with subsequent attempts revolving around these optional goals.
Your character in Stealth Inc. has no abilities outside of hiding in the shadows and a wicked wall jump; however, there are unlockable suits you can use to balance the odds in your favor. For example, these suits may let you trigger instant camouflage or set up a decoy. They come with a price, however, as the highest time rank cannot be achieved when using one of these special suits. However, you can still use the suits to find the hidden Helix piece, and you'll likely need each and every last suit.
Stealth Inc. offers 80 levels in the base campaign, with the difficulty curve sharply increasing after the first set of levels. This isn't an easy game and only the best stealth experts are going to make it to the top. The included DLC adds another 40 levels to the game, bringing the total to 120 levels, and the DLC levels present an almost insurmountable challenge. Good luck.
Even when (or if) you beat the game's 120 levels, the included level editor will provide you with many more. If there is one thing you can say about Stealth Inc. Ultimate Edition, it's that you definitely get your money's worth in terms of included content. There is more content here than in most $60 retail games!
Stealth Inc. is best described as the combination of the following genres and games:
- Stealth, due to needing to avoid security cameras and the necessity of sticking to the dark.
- Puzzle, due to needing to figure out how to properly manipulate the environment to reach the end.
- Trials Fusion, because of the time-based scoreboard elements
- Super Meat Boy, thanks to the hard-as-nails platforming
Unfortunately, Stealth Inc. Ultimate Edition doesn't include multiplayer of any sort: This is a strictly single player affair.
The PlayStation 4 Advantage
Stealth Inc. Ultimate Edition on the PS4 is hands down the best looking version of the game. The graphics are crisp, clean and detailed with no slowdown or visual glitches present in the many gameplay hours sunk into it. In addition, the game includes all of the DLC in one purchase, making it the most cost-effective version of the game. Unfortunately, the game is not Cross-Buy compatible.
The game takes advantage of the DualShock 4's unique architecture by using the light bar to display whether you're visible or hidden. It does this by changing colors depending on your level of visibility; however, this creates a problem, mostly due to the strength of the light bar. Since you're frequently in and out of visibility in this game, the light bar will rapidly flicker through the three warning colors, which can be distracting when playing in a dark environment. Unfortunately, there is no way to disable this feature and while it's a nice attempt at making the game feel unique on the PS4, it's more distracting than anything.
The Final Verdict
Stealth Inc. Ultimate Edition is the total package. If you've never played the game on a previous system, now is the time to pick it up thanks to the included DLC. This isn't a game you'll blow through in an afternoon and certainly not with all the top rankings. If you've a fan of Trials Fusion, Super Meat Boy or stealth games in general, this is a must buy.
However, if you're already played the game previously and own the DLC, there is nothing here to warrant an additional pick up. It's just a shame that the recently announced Stealth Inc. 2 is Wii U exclusive, at least for now.
Final Score: 8/10
A copy of Stealth Inc. Ultimate Edition was provided to PS4 Experts from Curve Studios for review purposes.
Article by - Joshua Phillips