Previously released on Wii U in October of 2014, Stealth Inc 2 is the follow up to the 2011 indie hit Stealth Bastard (later renamed Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark for consoles) and now it is coming to PC/PS4/XB1.
I very much enjoyed the original game, it was a great call back to the Amiga days of puzzle platformers I adored as a child, the sequel also harks back to those days in that when a game found mild success a sequel was soon to follow but somehow managed to be both better and worse. You know how Lemmings was a huge breakout success, then with Lemmings 2 they added to the formula and presentation that made the game better on first impression but over time you’d realise that nope, the original is the best one, well that seems to be the case here too.
Where once you accessed chambers (levels) through a menu, now you get the facility hub that require light puzzles (often using new gadgets unlocked in previous zones) to access new chambers. It brings a touch of the Metroid formula to the series. Another new addition are cut scenes, they are rather nicely animated however it makes the game feel overly dramatic, the lack of this story element didn’t hurt the original and frankly I don’t feel it works all too well here.
Where this game expands on the original outside of the core levels, it falls over in the core levels, there are a large number of cheap deaths as well as some precise object throwing that is just a bit too niggly for it’s own good; and then you have timing issues, you’ll work out what needs to be done only to find that getting the timing right takes super precise platforming. Saying this, some of the puzzles are just absolutely fantastic and brutal, once you start to get into the swing of things you’ll constantly be restarting a level to improve your score/time. The checkpoints for each chamber are well placed and that makes starting over a breeze.
As previously mentioned, there are gadgets that can help you in the facility hub, it’s a great feeling to get a new gadget and then realise you can use that gadget to open up out of reach areas. Where the chambers keep things very directed, the facility allows you to get creative and have fun exploring.
There is a lot of game here, about 10 hours for those willing to persevere, however I can see a large number of gamers never giving this game that long to really pull them in.
If you have a PS4/Vita combo it’s a great game to play passively via remote play whilst you watch TV or are in bed, luckily there is also a native Vita version which in all honesty is probably my choice of platform for this style of game.
The game does so much right it makes what it does wrong as frustrating as some of the deaths found here. Stealth Bastard was a great throwback as stated and since then a large number of excellent puzzle platformers have appeared and in some cases they do things better (Fez and Mark of The Ninja spring to mind), however if you are craving a game that will challenge, frustrate and reward you then there is a lot to like here.