Play
Please use a flash video capable browser to watch videos.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Review

Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark Review

  • First Released
  • Reviewed:
  • PS3

Chock full of twisted puzzles, Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark is a satisfying puzzle adventure.

Why would anyone mourn the death of a clone? Replicated humans are as disposable as toilet paper, after all, and only slightly more sanitary. No one would weep if a clone were to be executed by robotic sentries or crushed between moving walls. Heck, you wouldn't even be able to tell which clone met its untimely end; they all look alike. But if you had the same DNA as everyone you knew and found yourself trapped in a sadistic obstacle course, you sure would care about your own life. Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark follows an individual searching for freedom, and delivers an unnerving 2D puzzle-platforming adventure.

Not everyone that wears a red mask is evil.

Names are for real protagonists. In Stealth Inc, you're just a mirror image of a bunch of other unknown people, so you don't have the pleasure of a title. But you can jump, crawl, and flip switches, skills that prove invaluable if you're going to make it out of this nightmarish warehouse in one piece. It's that "one piece" bit that's so tricky. As a mere human, you don't have the toughest skin, so one false step in front of a turret means your body could be torn into a million gooey droplets. Your lone companion is anonymous text that appears on the wall to either help you proceed or mock your failures. "I can't fault your persistence," the sentient being writes. "Just your ability."

If you step in front of one of those deadly turrets while hidden in the shadows, you can keep your delicate body whole. Color-changing goggles shift between a safe green hue and a dire red warning depending on how much light shines upon your body, and that visual shift is enough to quickly communicate your vulnerability. Boxes can be moved into opportune positions to shield you from the dastardly glow of a nearby bulb, so you learn to scan the environment for any object that can extend your life for a little longer. No matter how much you tell yourself that gloomy corners make you invisible, there's the moment when a patrolling robot edges terrifyingly nearby and you hold your breath so as not to alert it to your presence.

Avoidance is the only way to survive--there's no combat here--but don't mistake this downloadable adventure for a typical stealth game. Rather, darkness is just one solution to the myriad puzzles you're presented with. Levels are populated with boxes, switches, and computer terminals, and you have to figure out how to move smartly through the labyrinth without meeting an untimely end. Should you trigger an unexpected laser blast, you die in half a heartbeat, but you respawn just as quickly. It's a punitive system that rewards exploration. Secure in the knowledge that a mistake doesn't eliminate your progress, you push the bounds of interactivity to find a weak link in the fence that's holding you in.

Wrong step, clone.

Artfully crafted levels do an excellent job of nudging you toward the solution while remaining consistently challenging. Because there is often only one path open, the difficulty comes from figuring out how to continue forth rather than scratching your head over which direction you should take. And once the exit is apparent, you have to fit the pieces together to make the picture complete. Use a block as a stepping stool to reach higher ground, slink in the shadows so the oscillating camera doesn't spot you, and then jump toward a nearby switch when there's a brief opening. The cunning situations reward careful planning, and it's empowering to see your hard work pay off.

Stealth Inc does stumble when it places dexterity above mental acumen. Your humble clone isn't blessed with impressive locomotion, so sprinting through a series of death traps at top speed can be a dispiriting endeavor. Thankfully, moments such as these are rare. The majority of your time is spent puzzling out how to proceed, so you're not often forced to rely on acrobatic maneuvering.

Eight worlds stand between you and freedom, each containing a new twist to the robotic terrors. You may scoff when a blind, motionless turret is introduced, only to curse your fate when the flooring has been transformed into a loud keyboard. Another world makes you question your nature. To complete these levels, you must work in tandem with another clone, and pulling switches and pushing blocks to help your friend adds a feeling of camaraderie that was previously lacking. But what happens when only one of you can proceed? Stealth Inc shows how quickly alliances can be forged and broken, seamlessly combining a moral lesson with tricky challenges.

Just a fool like one of us.

The high points of this crafty adventure are the bosses at the end of each world. The various strategies you accumulate over the course of a world must all be applied within one deadly room, and it takes smarts and determination to make it out alive. The rotating, gun-toting turret in the center of the room quickly spins and eradicates you whenever even a hint of your skin catches the light, so you have to plan your moves in advance or pay the consequences. You may die dozens of times in one confrontation before opening the door to freedom, and yet frustration never takes root. With immediate respawns, bountiful checkpoints, and the knowledge that every death is preventable, you push forward until you finally come out on top.

Though punishment is but a slap on the wrist initially, trying to achieve the highest rank is far from easy. Strict limits on time, deaths, and alerts mean you have to move perfectly to come out on top. Crafting and executing on a plan is incredibly satisfying, and there are unlockables to strive for as well. New equipment lets you complete levels by using a hologram or other such gadgets, changing how you experience this game, and you can even create your own levels in the extensive editor. The extras are just a nice bonus, though. Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark is a tightly crafted and incredibly rewarding adventure through a dark dystopia.

The Good
Smart puzzles with lots of variety
High difficulty without ever feeling cheap
Tricky boss fights
Achieving high scores is fun and rewarding
The Bad
Can be clumsy when speed is imperative
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Discussion

134 comments
dipdish
dipdish

It's tough to play through. A bad-ass game that is.

swedensior
swedensior

Is this the same version as Stealth Bastard Deluxe on steam? Or should I play it on my vita?

tjsmoke63
tjsmoke63

Got this today, played a bit of it, and am enjoying it so far. Worth checking out.

Diablo-B
Diablo-B

Looks like a really good game. It took a while but the Vita is finally building a strong collection of games. Imma have to put this at the back of the queue for now.

acelogan1989
acelogan1989

so many smart people , comparing this to TLoU

beanz777
beanz777

Bought this and I find it really fun. Really enjoyable on the vita

StonerDemon
StonerDemon

How much for this game? I'll shop today and since I won't pay until September, I think I can afford a few good games. What do you think of this list?

-Guilty Gear Accent Core Plus X
-D&D: Chronicles Of Mystara
-Walking Dead: 400 days
-Crysis 1
-Rayman 3

If this game's price is below $15, I think I'll get it.


Pre_ordered_PS4
Pre_ordered_PS4

Well Last of Us is a game of the year contender, so I take it this will give it some good competition then

Zero_Echo
Zero_Echo

HI MY NAME IS NEW GUY AND I HAVE NO IDEA HOW REVIEWS WORK!!

Instead of constructive dialogue about the game/game's review; we are blasted with nonsensical blathering comparing a numerical value! 

Honestly, I understand it is the internet and I shouldn't have such high hopes of a debate that works nicely, especially on a game reviewing site; but I also want to believe in evolution and every time I read the comments section on ANY review despite its score, I weep for the species.

Great review Tom, as usual! Do the writers at GS ever question their purpose, if the LOUDEST percentage of users seem to troll every review?

kenpachi212
kenpachi212

Please ban TLOU cry babies from GS!!!! It´s like copy/paste comments with them, get a brain you morons!!!

advocacy
advocacy

No fucking way this game is as good as the Last of Us.  May a thousand gnats feast upon your genitals for all eternity, Tom McShea.

solar-panelz
solar-panelz

I think the ratings are given compared to other games in that same genre. obviously he didn't compare this to the last of us to see if it's innovative, but rather other "puzzle" games. 

RS13
RS13

"Who would morn the death of a clone?  Replicated humans are as disposable as toilet paper, after all, and only slightly more sanitary."  Or is just as prevalent?  Or maybe just a metaphor that's trying too hard?  Also, last I checked clones weren't particularly unsanitary (although toilet paper is pretty much the opposite of unsanitary; just imagine the world without it).  Nor are they particularly prevalent.  Last I checked, there's exactly zero.

nait2k4
nait2k4

Looks like a pretty interesting game, a little similar in setup to Gunpoint. Thanks for the review Tom, any reason why you didn't mention the music? It sounds godawful :( I am assuming you can turn it off.

mruizinho
mruizinho

8? So this game is like Last of Us? GOTY material thnx Tom

ForceSkin
ForceSkin

I came here for the comparisons to The Last Of Us. I was not disappoint

MMAMiller666
MMAMiller666

Tom Mcshit give this an 8 and The Last of Us also gets an 8... come on now..

Pawfalcon
Pawfalcon

Pretty much my fav. game from the Android Humble Bundle (Stealth Bastard deluxe), and he's right about the tough but satisfying bit. Just wish the touch screen controls were better on my phone. With the controller thats probably not a problem but is it different enough to be worth purchasing? Especially since I can just play SBD on Steam with a controller.

aiat_gamer
aiat_gamer

How different is this from Stealth Bastard delux? anyone know? I want to get this but I want get the best version! 

RacoonEater
RacoonEater

I'm too dumb to play this type of complicated puzzles but It would be a pleasure to pay at least $5 Dollars to not see ads. Specially the Tanks ad...

Bgrngod
Bgrngod

Yet another game going into the Vita library that I can't manage to keep up with.

Sigh.

I suppose that's better than having no games at all.

I hope Sony keeps doing as much Cross-Buy/Cross-Play as possible.  If they keep their promise to do this with the PS4, then it may end up being my system of choice the next-gen after over a decade of Xbox being my main.

kohle36
kohle36

It really couldn't hurt to include platforms in the review, or at least somewhere on the page. Is this PSN only, or is it a PC port?

Reuwsaat
Reuwsaat

Fuck the Last of Us score, get a move on people, seriously, it's getting worse than Mass Effect 3 (never)ending bitching. Both are completely different games, it's not a comparision between which scored the highest, it's simply what it was worth. Your teacher didn't grade your tests according to the student who scored the highest, he graded what you got and that's the end of it. Grow the fuck up.

R4gn4r0k
R4gn4r0k

@swedensior It's the same as Stealth Bastard Deluxe, just looked it up. I was wondering that as well :P

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@Pre_ordered_PS4 Seems likely. It's closest comparison for me is Closure, which was one of the best game released last year.

Zero_Echo
Zero_Echo

@advocacy You are in need of some serious perspective on how reviews work.

kuda001
kuda001

@advocacy Why are you comparing two completely different games in different genres. If you enjoyed TLOU that should be enough.

Zero_Echo
Zero_Echo

@mruizinho With that line of thinking, all of these games are like Last of Us too! Thanks for shedding some light on this! Finally!

Sesame Street: Once upon a Monster - Driver: San Francisco  - Dragon's Dogma - Pro Evolution Soccer 2013. 

I love learning about internets!!!

TomMcShea
TomMcShea

@ChiefFreeman Only $8 if you have PlayStation Plus, $10 if you don't. And you get it on both PS3 and Vita.

jmaybury
jmaybury moderator

@kohle36 The review is posted in the PlayStation 3 tab. The video review has lower thirds that state it as a PS3 title, and the game space page information also list the "Also on." the VITA.

Saketume
Saketume

@Reuwsaat I agree with most of what you say but we actually did have a retarded grading system where they only handed out a certain percentage of the top scores and then it didn't matter if my grade should have been the same because they'd simply run out of that grade and handed the rest of the students lower scores no matter what. :P

kohle36
kohle36

@jmaybury It's also posted on the front page, and cross-platform reviews on GS in the past have arbitrarily selected a tab to publish under. I only read the review, didn't watch the video. And that's nice that it's also on Vita, but that hardly answers my question.

Yes, I figured out for myself that it's a psn title (and only just found out about cross-buy - I think? - from Tom's reply above), but since you guys are the actual journalists here, I thought maybe you could actually mention it so we didn't have to play 'assemble the clues' just to arrive at an incomplete picture. At the end of the day, none of that information addresses my actual question, which is if this was ported to the psn from an earlier pc release.


Not trying to be a prick here, but how hard would it have been to give just a little more information?

Zero_Echo
Zero_Echo

@kohle36 @lorider25 @jmaybury I thought it was pretty obvious from the clicky tabs on the side. PC, XBox, etc were missing. I deduced that I will not be able to play them on those. I get a star!

flammable_zeus
flammable_zeus

@kohle36 @lorider25 @jmaybury It's posted on the PS3 page and it says on the left of the page that it's also on Vita. The information is literally right in front of you. They even colour-code the background of the pages to make it so simple that a young child could easily grasp it.

kohle36
kohle36

@lorider25  @jmaybury  Because it's so spoiled of us to ask a games journalism site to include basic information on, you know, games. 

Saketume
Saketume

@lorider25 

eh?

The whole point of a review is to assemble information about a specific game and give opinions on it.

Listing what platforms the game is on and telling us about the name change seems like an obvious thing to include.

Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark More Info

  • First Released
    • iPhone/iPod
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 2 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • PlayStation Vita
    Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark is a fast-paced stealth platformer featuring brutal hazards, ruthless enemies, fiendish puzzles, and red pixels galore.
    6.9
    Average User RatingOut of 44 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Stealth Inc: A Clone in the Dark
    Developed by:
    Curve Studios
    Published by:
    Curve Digital Games, Curve Studios, Square Enix
    Genres:
    Platformer, 2D, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Blood, Violence