I absolutely love stealth games or any game that allows me to become one with my surroundings and disappear. The trouble is, there aren't as many games in the genre that I would like, and sometimes I get bored of the same old sneaking, shooting and stabbing patterns that one might see in these games. Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark has arrived for the PlayStation Vita, looking to shake things up for the genre. Is this title worth your time in the shadows? Or should you just pretend it's not there and let it sneak past you?

Stealth Inc. is a stealth-puzzler with platforming aspects. If that doesn't sound like your cup of tea, then I'd get out now, especially if you're expecting a Sam Fisheresque or Mark of the Ninja-like adventure in sneaking, complete with brutal takedowns and instant kills.

Well, to be fair, the game is full of instant deaths and all sorts of incredibly-brutal weapons. The only difference is that you are the target of all of these dangerous devices and machinery.

You take on the role of a clone. You're given a pair of high-tech goggles that turn green when you're hiding in the shadows and are Not Visible, or orange to show that you are Partially Visible thanks to some light, or red when you're Fully Visible and possibly about to get gunned down by a turret.

It is your job as a clone to run through a series of test rooms as quickly and as efficiently as possible, all while evading cameras, turrets and all sorts of other pieces of tech that seek to destroy or otherwise impede your expendable little butt. This requires you to navigate your way safely to the terminal that opens the level's exit, hack into it and then run out of the door. Sounds simple, right? Yeah, it's really not.

You'll be able to run, jump and duck in order to find yourself hidden away in the darkness. In order to remain undetected, you always have to be cloaked in shadows. Sometimes this means moving large, rectangular blocks (who always look very happy to see you!), so that you can block out a light source. In later levels, you can even drop these blocks on cameras and turrets. It's nice to know that sometimes gravity is on your side.

Now, it might take a bit of time for you to complete levels in a speedy manner during your first few runs. This is perfectly fine. You should compare your lengthy completion time with the blazing-fast times of the top players on the global leaderboard since it takes multiple playthroughs to really get great times. And why is that?

Equipment. You'll be able to unlock suits and gadgets that will help you clear levels a whole lot faster. For example, the Camo Suit lets you blend in with your backgrounds and remain undetected by cameras. In the first level, this means that you can just dash straight across the room to the terminal and exit rather than having to jump up, around and down a bunch of shafts and corridors.

An example of a cool gadget would be the Holographic Decoy Projector, a device that lets you set or throw a holographic version of your character. This is especially handy when you want to divert the attention of a turret or a clone-hating robot.

You'll have 80 levels to complete and master, so there's plenty of replay value here. It can get pretty addictive, solving these stealth puzzles and figuring out the fastest way to complete them. You won't get bored any time soon, especially when you're bobbing your head to Stealth Inc.'s ridiculously catchy techno soundtrack.

This is a must-have for any fan of stealth, platformer or puzzle games. It might turn off some players because of how insanely long it is, and how you have to replay levels in order to get faster clear times, but it's a very fun distraction with a lot of content and costs only a little bit more than a premium mobile game. Sneak on over to the PlayStation Store and grab this excellent title already!

This review is based on a digital copy of Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark for PlayStation Vita that was purchased for review.


9.0 out of 10 arcade sushi rating