I like to think that I can play strategy and turn-based games as well as the next person. The truth is though, I fumble my way around until something works, which often means I am replaying the same missions time and time again in what is nothing but trial and error. But I do like them, they tend to be well put together games that demand your time.
Invisible, Inc. is no exception either and being by Klei Entertainment, the makers of the wonderful Mark of the Ninja, means you know you are in for a quality product. Whether the game is any good or not, is another story, but you at least know it will be well made.
Luckily though, the gameplay is sublime, mixing turn-based mechanics with stealth, as you take your agents through various levels to complete the quests bequeathed unto them. That may well be recovering some information or something a bit darker.
What really impressed me from the very start is how many options are open to you, but how intuitive everything is, so you can concentrate on sneaking and advancing. There are various shortcut keys, but all actions can also be performed with button presses and going through menus; essentially choosing a way to play that best suits you and for me, it was using a mix of both shortcuts and mouse clicks, but it really does feel like second nature once you get going.
The opening mission was an interesting one, it was easy when looking back, but it did test considering it was an introduction to the game. Each agent has limited moves per turn and every action will use up your action points, so you find yourself really trying to plan ahead (as far as you can see anyway), planning enemy moves so you can sneak by, or lure them into position so you can take them down. All the while trying to uncover secrets, complete your mission and escape.
It’s not just you though, you have Incognita, an AI system that can hack systems to create diversions, provide information, trap enemies and so on, but she isn’t an all powerful entity, as she has a limited amount of power, with each action using up that power, so you’ll need to hack terminals to provide power to Incognita over the course of a level so she remains useful.
Secrets and money you earn can be used to upgrade your agents, making them much more useful in the field, such as seeing further, having more Action Points per move, etc. This provides a wealth of options as you go further into the game and keeps the balance pretty much spot on.
One thing I found is that it is a pretty tough game and despite being well balanced you will be on your toes at all times, with failure quite often an outcome. But that really doesn’t matter, because another thing that hit home, was that this is a giant game of cat and mouse for the most part and it’s an absolute joy to play and feels great when you beat a level.
The ‘story’ is pretty interesting too, but is full of secrets and unanswered questions, which leaves me hoping we will see some future content that will answer some of those questions. At the very least there is Steam Workshop support which has me very excited to see what the community can come up with.
I came into Invisible, Inc. expecting a game I could say was very nice and well put together, but one I struggled with, instead I continue playing knowing I am having a wonderful time and enjoying every second I am a super spy.