Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark is a side scrolling stealth platform puzzle game available for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS Vita and PS3. Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark throws you into a world were one false move will see your character suffer instant death, while mixing danger with the requirement of speed and strategy.
The game begins with the lead character being ejected from a plexiglass incubator where it was being held. You quickly come to find that it is a PTi Industries Clone that must sneak through a deadly facility that is holding the clones against their own will. As instant death is a certainty if you are seen by any of the security cameras or various roaming enemies; the only positive thing that you have in your favour is being equipped with a pair of stealth goggles that glow green when you are out of sight and safe, but also glow orange to indicate that you are partially in sight of any surrounding enemies and if they glow red, then retreat back into the shadows very quickly or death will imminently follow.
The level design really brings the game alive with puzzles that will no doubt test your brain matter with some puzzles that will leave you scratching your head and really having to take in the entire area to create a plan of action before proceeding after an initially failed attempt. It must be said that it is a testament to the level design that the game never becomes boring and always keeps you on your toes as you attempt to mentally keep one step ahead of the enemies and hazards that surround you, despite there being a total of eighty levels. Each of the eighty levels feels fresh and they all have an organised structure with eight chapters broken down into eight levels with unlockable ninth and tenth levels for each chapter by achieving an S rank for all eight of the levels and finding the Helix pick-up contained within each level. Perhaps the consistent freshness of the gameplay is due in part to the smaller scale of the levels with the approach that it may not necessarily be completed on your first few attempts, but that as you replay the level your completion time for each level will progressively improve.
The enemy design is pretty good as they are always capable of springing a trap and surprising you, especially the security cameras that scan their surrounding environment as they search for any intruders. If the security cameras find you in the light, then they will fire remote laser beams or shoot on sight from a fixed turret.
After having defeated the boss in the eighth level of any given chapter; you will begin unlocking new equipment that will help you to achieve faster times for each of the levels within that particular chapter. This is a great design choice to encourage further replayability of previously completed levels.
The level editor allows you to create your own levels and test yourself with levels that are as easy or as challenging as you want them to be. The level editor really adds a lot of further gameplay to the game and makes the creative possibilities limitless. The only thing that is lacking with the otherwise feature rich and comprehensive level editor is the ability to upload and share your levels online with other players from around the world, which is a shame as it would have taken the game in a user-created content direction that has only previously been ambitiously explored by games such as the Little Big Planet franchise. It has been stated that the option to share your created levels will be patched into the game at a later point in time, although only time will tell if that becomes a reality or not.
There are two downloadable content packs for Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark, respectively named The Teleporter Chambers and The Lost Clones that both continue the same great gameplay of the main game. They both follow the structured approach of the main game with both downloadable content packs containing twenty levels in each with two chapters broken down into eight levels with unlockable ninth and tenth levels for each chapter by achieving an S rank for all eight of the levels and finding the Helix pick-up contained within each level.
Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark supports cross-buy and cross-save between the Vita and PS3. Cross-buy presents a superb amount of value as it means that you will be purchasing both the Vita and PS3 versions of the game with just a single purchase. The cross-save functionality allows you to sync the progression of your save file from your Vita to your PS3 and vice versa, so you can start playing the game on your Vita on the way to and from work, sync your save game when you return home and then resume were you left off by loading the save game and continuing via the PS3 version. The cross-save feature is made possible by uploading your save file to the cloud on one console and downloading it from the other console.
The controls are intuitive and easy to learn as they are well mapped to their respective buttons. The control scheme consists of pressing X to jump; O or down on the d-pad to crouch; square or up on the d-pad to hack a terminal or activate a switch; triangle to pick up, drop or throw a gadget; R to use a gadget; left on the d-pad to move your character left; right on the d-pad to move your character right; changing the direction of the left analogue stick moves your character left or right; holding the left analogue stick to the left or right towards a movable object while your character is positioned next to the movable object to push it in the appropriate direction; select to restart the mission; and start to display the pause menu.
Graphically, the importance of light and shadow is highlighted in great detail and precision. The lead character; environments; enemies; objects and more besides are to the graphical quality that you would expect from a great side scrolling platformer.
The presentation of the game is solid with a great touch screen based user interface across various menus such as the level selection menu, level editor menus and options menu with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick or rear touch pad. The background of the menu screens consists of a backdrop from a level in the game with enemies moving around the area of the level.
The audio consists of sci-fi techno styled music, which certainly helps to set the scene of what is going on around you as security cameras scan the surrounding area, while you have to stay in the dark to stay alive. The sound effects are mainly based around your character’s movements, such as running, jumping, pushing objects, pressing switches and hacking terminals, alongside the movement of opening and closing doors and lifts, while there is also gun fire to be heard from turrets that are fixed to some of the security cameras and the firing of remote laser beams shortly after you have heard the sound the security cameras make when they have been alerted to your position.
The trophy list for the main game includes thirteen trophies with nine bronze trophies, three silver trophies and one gold trophy, while The Teleporter Chambers downloadable content includes four bronze trophies, one silver trophy and one gold trophy and The Lost Clones downloadable content also includes four bronze trophies, one silver trophy and one gold trophy. The trophy list for the main game mostly consists of completing each of the levels with exception to the two bonus levels for each of the eight sectors without any requirement for achieving a particular rank with seven bronze trophies and one silver trophy on offer. There are some harder trophies including trophies that may take varying lengths of time to complete depending upon how easily you adapt to the puzzles, such as the On the Fast-Track silver trophy for achieving an S rank on all ten levels of any chapter; the Attention to Detail silver trophy for finding all of the pick-ups in all ten levels of any chapter; the Working Overtime bronze trophy for unlocking all of the levels including the two bonus levels for all eight of the chapters, but you also have to complete each of the levels too, although there are no requirements on achieving a particular rank; the Equipped for Business bronze trophy for unlocking all of the equipment by beating the boss in the eight level of each chapter and then replaying levels; and the hardest of all would have to be the Consummate Professional gold trophy for S ranking all of the eighty levels.
The trophy list for The Teleporter Chambers downloadable content includes a couple of bronze trophies for naturally completing both chapters of the downloadable content without any requirement of achieving a particular rank with the hardest trophy definitely S We Can gold trophy for S ranking all twenty of the Teleporter Chambers levels. The trophy list for The Lost Clones downloadable content includes a couple of bronze trophies for naturally completing both chapters of the downloadable content without any requirement of achieving a particular rank with the hardest trophy definitely Ranks for the Memory gold trophy for S ranking all twenty of the Lost Clones levels. I would estimate depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips for some of the more difficult and challenging puzzles and levels that it would take between ten to twenty hours to 100% the trophy list of the main game, while it would take a further three to five hours to complete each of the downloadable content packs.
There are no difficulty levels, although the ranking system provides you with increasingly difficult challenges as you attempt to not be caught by the security cameras, not to die and to complete the level as quickly as possible for the best ranking and the highest amount of stars in the corresponding ten star rating system.
The online leaderboards focuses on the best times in the world and the best times with unlockable equipment with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); and best time with the positioning of each player based upon how quick they have completed that particular level.
The replayability of Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark stems from how the game rewards your effort to improve your performance in every level with the ten star rating and ranking systems, which really keeps you replaying the same level until you have successfully achieved an S rank and a ten star rating. The online leaderboards provides another major reason to return to completed levels as you vie for a place amongst the world’s elite for the fastest times set in each and every level. The ten star rating system, ranking system and online leaderboards all merge together to add to the depth of gameplay that will have you returning to Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark long after your initial investment in the game. Further additional layers of replayability are provided in the form of positive design choices, such as having two unlockable levels in every chapter that requires you to achieve an S ranking and to collect every Helix pick-up for all of the eight levels within that particular chapter in order to unlock them, alongside a level editor which allows you to create your own challenging levels to test yourself with limitless possibilities.
Overall, Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark is a very enjoyable game with plenty of replayability throughout the eighty levels the main game has to offer with the addition of forty levels split across two downloadable content packs and an exceptional level editor, ranking system and online leaderboards that will have you returning to the game for a significantly long time. The wealth of content on offer makes the £7.99 price tag for the game on the Vita and PS3 with The Teleporter Chambers downloadable content for £2.79 and The Lost Clones downloadable content for £2.99 all the more unmissable. Without hesitation, you must purchase Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark and all of the downloadable content for a unique fusion of a stealthy platforming adventure laced with puzzles that provides an experience unlike any other game in the platforming or stealth genres.
At A Glance
- Title: Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
- Publisher: Curve Studios
- System: PS Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: Yes
- Cross Play: Yes (Cross-Save)
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 213Mb (Version 1.01)