Just a quick heads up that one of my current obsessions, Curve Digital’s Stealth Inc. ($4.99), has dropped its price for the first time and can be yours for just $1.99, down from its usual cost of $4.99. You may know Stealth Inc. by the name it originally released under on PC back in 2011, Stealth Bastard. At its core, Stealth Inc. is a punishing puzzle-platformer that’s built around stealth mechanics. You’ll need to utilize hiding in shadows to reach the end of each level, as well as figuring out whatever blocks need to be pushed or switches need to be flipped to even reveal where the exit is.
I didn’t play Stealth Inc. in any of its previous incarnations on other platforms, and even though the iOS version came out last November, I’ve only just recently dove in to really check it out. And let me tell you, I’m hooked. The level designs are downright genius, and there are many moments where you’ll finally figure out what you’re supposed to do to pass a level and can’t help but sit back and just admire how clever the solution was. It’s a very satisfying experience.
Here’s the rub, though. The virtual controls in Stealth Inc., while perfectly serviceable for a normal play through, tend to fall apart when trying to play for the highest rewards. Each level as a 3-star ranking system, a star each for beating the requirements for time, number of deaths, and number of times being spotted. Just figuring out how to solve a level is a joy in itself, but once you know what to do you’ll want to go back and try to “speed run" the level and nab the 3 stars. The time requirements mean you have to be practically perfect in your run through the level, and with that kind of pressure I’ve ended up dying many times due to a finger slipping off a virtual button or inadvertently pressing the wrong one.
It’s not that you can’t get 3 stars and the coveted “S" rank on every level using the virtual controls, in fact I’m playing in a way where I won’t move on to a new level until I’ve done just that, it’s just that you’ll die a whole bunch more than you probably would if you were playing with a physical controller. Hey, it is what it is, but I’ll also say that the extra virtual control struggles make it that much more satisfying when you do finally nail that perfect run.
Even if you forgo 3-starring every level, just playing through Stealth Inc. normally is a rewarding experience. With thousands of community-made levels able to be downloaded too, there’s plenty here to keep you busy for a good long while. Definitely check out Stealth Inc. while it’s on sale.