Stealth is one genre that still isn’t oversaturated, at least in my own mind. While there have been plenty of stealth games as far back as the NES era, pretty much every title adds in their own signature spin to the formula. Sneaky Sneaky ($2.99) is no different, featuring a tiny little rogue with an adorable pet rat.
Starting off like The Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past, our hero is stuck in a jail cell after he was robbed of all of his riches. Not to worry though as the title character is pretty resourceful. The setup is immediately both adorable and eye-catching, as the bright hues work wonderfully with the general dark theme of the game. Even if it’s an arid desert or dank dungeon, Sneaky Sneaky is full of life.
Your endgame is to get your rubies back through a series of levels, which take place in a grid-like fashion with patrolling enemies at every turn. Think Metal Gear Solid, where stealth is the name of the game until you’re spotted, and then everything takes a turn for the worse. Of course, due to the grid mechanic tapping is a perfect control scheme.
All you have to do is direct your character around to any square you want, and you’re either jumping into a hidden object like a haystack, grabbing a piece of treasure, or taking down am unsuspecting guard. If you’re seen, the entire game changes into a turn-based affair, and you simply can’t sprint for the exit — you have to make your next few moves count. I love the dichotomy between the two action and strategy based styles, as it gives the game two distinct feels to it.
Stealth combat with both backstabbing and bow-use work wonderfully well, and the level designs all standout on their own without feeling like there were too many re-used assets or environments. Unique powerups like bait also help mix things up a bit so you aren’t doing the same two actions over and over. Heck, this game didn’t even need power-ups to stand out from the crowd, but they’re in there.
16 stages might be pretty light considering the length of other mobile games, but not once does it feel like the developer is milking the quest to sell you IAP — in other words, you’re getting a complete experience for a low-end price. The only big mechanical problem I found while playing is the pathfinding system — it’s not…the smartest knife in the drawer unless you deliberately tap short distances to ensure that you don’t walk right in front of a guard. The difficulty curve is manageable, but a bit uneven especially after the first spike.
If you’re sick of games that ask you for cash upfront after every level, you’ll want to check out Sneaky Sneaky as soon as possible. It has charm, style, and a great art style that screams franchise material.