Stealth Inc 2: A game of clones is the follow up to 2013s PSP and PS3 title, Stealth Inc: A clone in the dark. Developed by British based Curve studios. Stealth Inc 2 is, as the name suggests a stealth game. This time stealth sneaks onto Wii U exclusively. You play as a clone who is trying to escape a test factory, while trying to be extinguished at every turn by meddling employee, Malcolm Alderman. The game is a platform puzzler at heart, while giving you a sense of adventure.
Unlike its predecessor, which placed the player in different test chambers to complete the challenge and then move on placing them in another test chamber. Stealth Inc 2 has players travel to each different test chamber, dealing with mini puzzles along the way. This is a welcome addition, as it adds to the titles play time and allows for the story to play out much better than it would have without the segments. The way the game has been developed also means that you don’t have to have played the original to understand what’s going on in the sequel. It is a completely separate story.
The story plays out with short cut scenes every once in a while. These show Alderman getting increasingly frustrated with the fact he can’t kill this pesky clone. If he kills you then he will top the high score list at the factory, and be the golden boy, so it’s imperative that he succeeds. The rest of the story is told through text that appears on the walls while you’re navigating the facility. The text is very smart and witty. This is easily one of the best elements of this very good game in itself. It has had me chuckling and pondering about what he is going on about. in both cases, the text is executed very well.
Like any platformer, you control your character using analogue or the d-pad and face buttons. Your clone wears a pair of goggles that change colour when you can or cannot be seen. Green you’re invisible, red you’re pretty much dead… Traps, enemies and puzzles have to be negotiated as you make your way from chamber to chamber. Along the way you acquire gadgets that will come in handy. For example, an inflatable platform that can elevate you higher, enabling you to reach places that you couldn’t fathom getting to without it. There are more, but this is a spoiler free review… As you collect these gadgets, you will find yourself retreading old ground to use them in places you couldn’t get to previously. Similar to the Metroid world. Using these items in old surroundings will help you progress in the game.
The game feels like it has many inspirations. The aforementioned Metroid being one. I can see a little portal in there too, and some Abe’s Oddysee. Adding these flavours does not make the game feel stale, or a rip off. It’s like a huge interactive Neapolitan ice cream, with a lot of its own flavour and flair too. Miiverse integration features throughout. You will see the Miiverse symbol where a player has left a note during gameplay. Sometimes helpful if you’re stuck. The design of the test chambers, is some of the best puzzling on the Wii U. As you progress using the gadgets in the tougher rooms is all the more satisfying. Especially those that require the gamepad.
Speaking of the gamepad, while you’re making your way around the facility, it will display a map overview. There is tabs along the top that make it quick to access the costume editor and menu. The costume editor fills up as you collect new items for it that can then be changed on the fly. The gamepad is the only controller that can be used with this game in single player, but as you progress you will send that there is good reason for that.
At the start of every test chamber you are greeted with an online Leaderboard to show you the very best people in the world. Joining them is very hard. They are all based on time, so be nimble to be noticed. At the end of each test chamber, you will be shown your performance rank. This is based on speed, the number of deaths and times spotted. Getting the top rank consistently, is as hard as you’d expect.
The single player campaign is a very engaging and addictive affair and is the games shining star. With the difficulty accelerating after a very short amount of time. The co-op however is also very good in its own right and unique too. Adding a second player to play alongside you in single player campaign. Curve Studios decided to really make it a unique experience and make the second player use the gamepad. This changes the game and adds new, exciting elements. The co-op is unlocked after completing a short stint of the single player campaign. If the game had a tutorial, or ease you in stage, that would be it. I suggest both players take turns using the gamepad and the pro controller, as there is a different experience to be had with both controllers.
On the whole, Stealth Inc 2: A game of clones, is one of the best eShop games to release on the Wii U. With challenging test chambers, excellent storytelling and an actual sense of progression, the game is very rewarding. There are some tough, clunky parts that may get a little frustrating from time to time, but there is far more good here than there is bad. The unique co-op will make you replay the game with a friend and the online leaderboards and gradings will have you coming back time after time to beat scores. You can tell that the game has been made exclusively for the Wii U with the Miiverse integration and the gamepads features. I hope more developers follow suit. If you own a Wii U, then give Curve Studios latest title a try. You will not be disappointed.
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