$4.99 Buy Now

Originally released as Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole for PC, but changed to a more family friendly name, especially for family use devices such as iPads, Stealth Inc.: A Clone in the Dark [$4.99] has a fresh home in Apple’s ecosystem, and it’s made the transition very well. It’s a cute, clever and fairly original stealth puzzler.

You play as unnamed clone, built by an unnamed company whose purpose is to kill these clones, repeatedly, in varying manners. You’ll make your way through tests at some nondescript facility, proving your sneaking skills against a variety of challenges. Lasers, falls, cameras, sentries, blades. At its core, the game is a puzzle platformer, giving you the task of getting from one end of a room to the other. You’ll need to hide in the dark to avoid a panning camera, to jump to the roof above it, where you’ll find a box you can drop to unlock the door which you then have to sneak to. The first chunk of levels will be easy, but then the difficulty ramps up greatly, almost as if there were no “medium” mode; it’s just out of the frying pan and boiling into an agonizing death in the fire.

Controlling your clone is fairly easy with the touch screen system, though if you've played the PC version, it may take some getting used to. You maneuver with a virtual stick on the left side while jumping and crouching with little arrow buttons on the right. When you need to activate something, such as a console, a contextual button pops up; this leaves the playing screen fairly neat and tidy.

StealthInc3

You will die. A lot. You will be burned by lasers. You will be crushed. You will be zapped. And you will not like it. However, you will like that while death is frequent, so is the checkpoint system, and you won’t be far off from where your corpse once laid. In addition, restarting after a death is immediate; there is no backing out to a menu, or having to hit restart or retry.

There are eight sectors (read: worlds), each consisting of ten chambers. Aside from having a (p)unny name, each chamber has individual leaderboards that show your personal stats (best time, deaths, times spotted) as well as the best times in the world.

Stealth Inc. is teeming with humor, in the form of comical messages that show up in certain chambers. Seeing “that’s not how it’s done” when you die, while cruel, can’t help but make you chuckle a little.

StealthInc2

Graphically, Stealth Inc. is a simple, 2D affair, with some pretty amazing lighting and shadow effects. But, you probably knew that, considering a game based on stealth requires both lighting and shadows. Clone #477 (or whichever one you’re up to, be honest, you’ve killed a lot) explodes in a pool of red giblets when he’s vaporized by a laser, or gets crushed. The music that plays over the game fits the atmosphere; it doesn’t draw you out of the game, nor does it get needlessly loud or convoluted. It sounds like something you would hear in the Mission: Impossible television show.

Sadly, two of the big features missing in the game are equipment and a level editor. In the original, you could equip different camo sets, which came with their own specific leaderboard, which arguably added some longevity to the game. Who wants to be number one in the world for the default suit, when you can be number one for everything?

Aside from continually trying to improve upon your best, you can partake in hundreds upon hundreds of community created chambers, but sadly, as mentioned above, you cannot create your own. In order to play the community levels, you’ll need to unlock it, which is, naturally, an IAP.

If you enjoy difficult puzzle games, and haven’t yet tried this game, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot. The controls carry over well, it’s fun, and it’ll take you a while to get through all the chambers. The lack of a level editor, equipment, and additional IAP for what is already a $4.99 game seems like an odd omission, but the challenge and, dare I say, cuteness outweigh the downsides.

TouchArcade Rating

StarStarStarStarNone
  • mr_bez

    Not sure if quote tags work in comments but this is from the dev on the forum: [QUOTE=onebitbeyond;3031229]The Community Levels are an IAP because of the direct server cost of serving (now) 1900 levels to each device. If we made it free, it would actually cost us money per install, meaning we'd probably have to increase the price to cover that cost. Since not everyone uses the Community Levels, we thought it fairest to have it as a optional paid feature.[/QUOTE]

    Also, even once you include the IAP, $6.98 is less than this costs on any other platform.

    • Taclys

      I was about to complain about IAP in a $5, but this makes perfect sense. Thanks for the comment.

  • koryc

    Great review James

  • MonkeyChunks

    Stealth Bastard!

  • somedumbgamer

    Great game! Kinda reminds me of LOE but much gorier and crisper graphics.

  • PSquared

    Another poor review, and inaccurate rating, by James.

    First off this port of the magnificent PC game released well over a month ago and the reviewer is just now getting around to it? Shame.

    Second the reviewers main gripes seem to be the lack of a level editor and lack of costumes. While certainly any extra features are wonderful in any game the lack of these functions do not harm or change the games core mechanics or ability to be enjoyed. I can see how it decreases replayability but the game has over 2,000 levels now... Not the 'mere' hundreds that the reviewer suggests. It's almost as if the reviewer didn't even read the forum thread right here on the TA forums where the game's dev is active in both conversing with the fans but actually improving the game based on the fans feedback.

    The controls are tight and responsive, the platforming is solid, the originality and humor should receive high marks both for enjoyment and ingenuity. The stealth action and puzzles are on par with any iOS title. Simply a fantastic game.

    It seems like James is comparing this game to the PC title in which case I can see why he would downgrade his rating based on that comparison. That's a pretty amateur move though as opposed to rating the iOS game based on its own merits and compared to equivalent games on the same OS.

    I respect James' opinion but this EXTREMELY late , and somewhat inaccurate review really shows the difference between a professional reviewer and someone who is merely 'trying hard'.

    • otawong

      I'm inclined to disagree that comparing this port to its PC original is an "amateurish" move. Ports shouldn't be reviewed in a bubble where we just forget that other versions exist. The original Sonic 2 iOS port is a good example of where a game was probably an acceptable iOS game, but not a good game compared to the original version.

      This is a really good port, of a really good game and at a price point that everyone even remotely interested should download it. That being said, it's nice for people who are a familiar with other versions of the game to know what is and is not the same. If this reviewer thinks that some discrepancy in features is worth knocking a star off, we're free to disagree. However, I don't think calling the reviewer amateurish or being a try hard is really a fair complaint for comparing this to the PC version. (Or the also very enjoyable PS3/Vita version)

    • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

      I'm not sure you can "respect" someone's opinion and call them a "try hard" in the same sentence, but, hey, internet comments.

      • SumoSplash

        Internet Muscles.

  • ShervinCannibal

    I've played it on my psvita i got it for 10$ i think . The game it self is awesome but sometimes you just keep dying to finnaly figure out what to do ! I will buy it in here too :)

Stealth Inc. Reviewed by James Paterson on . Rating: 3.5