Things start off tough in Invisible, Inc. and then just get tougher. You join the action just as your anti-establishment agency is attacked and almost destroyed by the evil corporations that you’ve been rebelling against and your main asset – a powerful AI program named Incognita – is rapidly running out of power. With just 72 hours to muster some additional resources and mount a final counter-attack against your enemies it seems an daunting challenge.
With all the odds stacked against you it isn’t too surprising to hear that failure can happen fairly often, but that doesn’t matter too much. The 72 hours of game time only equates to about seven or eight missions and you’ll have completed the campaign (or failed) within a few real-life hours. There’s plenty of incentive to replay the campaign in order to improve on your previous attempts and continue earning XP to unlock additional features, and the randomly generated levels ensure each playthrough is unique – it’s a fairly textbook example of a roguelike game.
The bulk of the game takes place in the missions themselves, with only brief interludes in between to upgrade your agents and spend your ill-gotten gains on extra equipment. Levels are small and viewed from an isometric perspective, with turn-based gameplay as you bid to complete your primary objective before assembling at the evacuation point. Unlike more action-orientated games like XCOM the focus is heavily on stealth and it’s crucial to curb your instincts to take out all guards unless absolutely necessary – with no reloads and only a limited number of ‘rewinds’ to undo rash moves you do have to be extremely careful.
Despite the emphasis on stealth and the turn-based gameplay there is a also fair amount of urgency and underlying tension throughout your operations. As well as your 72 hour time limit to finish your campaign it’s imperative that you get through the missions as quickly as possible as well before security begins to detect your presence with dormant security cameras becoming active, more guards joining the patrols and firewalls becoming stronger. Balancing risks against potential rewards becomes a common occurrence as you assess whether it’s worth trying to complete secondary objectives such as breaking into safes, and even whether it’s worth splitting up your agents to cover more ground at the expense of being able to back each other up.
Although only two agents are available on your initial playthrough, you soon unlock others for your repeat attempts although you can always start with two (you will occasionally be able to have three or four available if you manage to complete rescue missions). While they are all unique and have interesting backstories it’s a shame you never get to hear them speak, the most personality you get out of them is a written quip at the start of each mission. In fact the only characters you do get to hear talk are your agency director, black market dealer Monster and your AI Incognita – they are all well acted (although it can get tiresome hearing the same conversations on subsequent campaigns) but it would have been so much more immersive to hear the rest of them interact.
Similarly the graphics are functional enough and have a distinctive, angular style that suits the tone of the game, but the only cutscenes appear at the very start and end of the game – admittedly they are pretty cool but they really left me wanting more.
The same can’t quite be said of the game itself though, as even after finishing I instantly wanted to play again to experience more of it what is has to offer. With escalating difficulty levels, numerous customisable settings and the aforementioned randomly generated levels ensuring fresh experiences each time there’s plenty of longevity here. For fans of turn-based strategy it’s a pretty essential experience, and all but the most hyperactive of gamers will glean a great amount of enjoyment from it.
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