Invisible Inc. Review (PC)
Invisible, Inc. is Klei’s latest stealth offering and is arguably a much more difficult and demanding experience than anything Klei has made thus far. You wouldn’t be wrong to call this game one of the most hardcore stealth experiences in recent years. Invisible, Inc. emphasizes weighted decision-making and an abundance of different mechanics that you need to learn and master just to get through this game. This high skill requirement results in some very rewarding and engaging gameplay however.
In Invisible, Inc. you play as the “Operator” an entity that guides the agents of Invisible, Inc., as well as their A.I. mainframe Incognita, as they infiltrate different corporations in search of different objectives. The story of Invisible, Inc. follows the titular agency after they are discovered and attacked by one of the many corporations that rule the world. The few remaining agents escape but without a reliable power source, Incognita only has 72 hours before she shuts down completely. In those 72 hours it’s up to you, the operator, to gather agents and gear by infiltrating the appropriate corporations and mount a counterattack against them before Incognita shuts down for good. There’s enough political intrigue in the short and compact campaign to fill a series of spy movies and the character interactions as well as dialogue throughout are all great. This is thanks to some top notch voice acting and well-written dialogue.
Klei’s very recognizable art style is in full force here. All of the thick black outlines and stylized characters as well as highly detailed environments make this game a treat to look at. Unfortunately though, for as detailed and pretty as the environments are they all use the same tileset except for the final level. The enemy designs do change as you progress through the game, but playing in the backdrop does make the gameplay feel more repetitive than it actually is. Repetition is the name of the game though, and as you progress through Invisible, Inc., it becomes pretty clear that this game is designed to be played multiple times.
Once you beat the tutorial, you’re allowed to choose which missions to take in whatever order you like. Every mission is displayed on a world map that details how many hours away the mission is, and when you only have 72 hours, this can be critical in your choice. Sometimes you’ll have to go for a closer location for the sake of time instead of a mission that might yield better rewards but is farther away. While the overall game is short, the individual missions can be lengthy in and of themselves.
Invisible, Inc. is a top-down, turn-based, stealth game that rewards patience and skill. Right from the get-go you’re introduced to multiple mechanics that you’ll have to manage and master. Every agent has a set amount of action points that dictates their actions, such movements and peeking through closed doors. This forces you to make choices as to which doors to take out of rooms, especially when you don’t know what lies ahead. You can use to Incognita to hack surveillance cameras to reveal hidden rooms, but you first have to get close enough to uncover them with your agents.
This encourages you to explore in every mission, especially since there are safes with different rewards peppering every mission. You aren’t free to explore as you wish, however, since there is an alarm counter that rises every turn. The higher the alarm level, the tighter security gets. For example, in alarm level two, more security cameras are turned on, and in level three, more guards patrol the area. You can hack the additional cameras with Incognita or use her different abilities to distract guards, but all of her abilities cost power. That’s a resource you need to keep your eye on, but you can replenish it by hacking computer consoles with your agents.
These are all things that you need to keep in mind at all times, in addition to staying hidden, while playing Invisible, Inc. so it’s easy to see how some players might get overwhelmed. That being said, it is incredibly satisfying to sneak through a level, loot a bunch of safes, get your objectives done and sneak out without being caught. Invisible, Inc. requires all of your attention and mental ability at all times, but rewards you handsomely for skillful play.
It might not be a game for players that aren’t looking to be challenged, but Invisible, Inc. is a great stealth experience despite a couple of minor setbacks. The odds are stacked against you at all times and every decision you make has weight to it, which would be the case if you were actually trying to infiltrate a high security operation. The great characters and art style do help wrap this game up in a nice package and the high replay value more than offsets the length of a single playthrough. The repetitive layouts and high barrier for entry, especially outside of the lowest difficulty, do hurt the game a bit. Invisible, Inc. is never unfair in its difficulty though, so it’s really a matter of if you’re willing to learn everything you need to in order to succeed in this game.
This review was completed with a download code of Invisible, Inc. provided by the publisher for PC.