Title: Invisible Inc.
Developer: Klei Entertainment
Publisher: Klei Entertainment
Release date: Out Now
Price: £14.99 / $19.99
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Welcome to Invisible Inc from Team Klei, a turn-based strategy game that ultimately turns into a lesson of greed management. Of risk and reward. And let me say right now, it’s one of the most fun games I’ve played in recent times. Taking it’s cues from the latest incarnations of X-COM, Invisible Inc sees you play as an operator for a near crippled spy organisation named Invisible Inc. In the game you’ll control agents clearing out procedurally generated office floors to rescue agents, steal money from the evil corporations and gain new tech all in a bid to save Incognitia, your AI and best weapon.
Like any great strategy game you’re overwhelmed with choices and like a lot of modern games, your first attempt at the game will most likely see failure, but will unlock tech and rescued agents to use in your next endeavour. Maybe these new unlocked options fit your playstyle a bit better, maybe not, but you’ll keep going until you succeed. Until you realise that was just the easy version completed and it dawns on you the breadth of difficulty you can endure until you need to pause. Trust me though, easy is no slouch.
Art is always subjective, but to me, this game provides you with absolute beauty. The opening cutscene gorgeously reflects the experience that awaits you. A lot of the way the story is told is simply voice over and while it gets the job done, it’s disappointing not to see more visually from the game. However, despite this, the level of polish throughout is of an incredibly high standard usually reserved for much bigger studios.
Let me go into more detail about the alarm system used through the levels because it’s one of the best features of the game. You see, the alarm isn’t a binary mechanic as used in most games; on makes everything more scary, and off allows you a moment’s respite. No, in Invisible Inc the alarm is turned on as soon as you enter the level and it advances at the end of every turn. Being seen, walking through a laser beam or killing a guard will also increase the alarm along which will prove costly. When an alarm level rises hacking becomes more difficult, or another guard enters the level OR – for the unlucky ones – both happen. This means you’re constantly going through the level at pace and while the game is turn based you’ll feel propelled to continue because until you reach the teleporters you’re under threat of being found.
Stealth plays a big part of this game for two reasons. The first, the risk of increasing the alarm and causing you extra trouble, but – more importantly – if you’re found you’re presented with a life or death moment. At this point the game allows you one chance to survive. A life or death moment to hide or stop the attacker. If you try to escape the guard won’t hesitate. If they see you and you can’t stop them or hide they will shoot you. That doesn’t have to be the end of your agent though, if you’ve got med-gel then you can get them back on their feet quick sharpest but the way the levels usually end up, your partner is a long way away. Thanks to the ever creeping alarm there’s no need for bleed out times, simply having to get back across the level to heal will be a burden and of course when you get there, the same guard will most likely be hanging about still.
Combat in the game is very interesting, there’s a lot of non-lethal ways to incapacitate the guards but that’s just a temporary move giving you some space to explore but with the threat of them coming to find you again. Along with that, all of the weapons have a cooldown stopping any all-out brawling and overly aggressive play. On top of that, you can only attack once even if you have two weapons so while this might seem restrictive it adds to the tension when you’ve got incoming enemies. This forces you to plan carefully and immediately throws you in the deep end when it goes horribly wrong.
Hacking. I’ve not even mentioned hacking! Combat isn’t your only defense, no, the powerful Incognitia will help you get past all the electronic foes in your path. Whilst in a level, tapping the space bar will open Incognitia view, transforming the level into a wireframe visual with the only focus being the interactive devices. Fitting out Incognitia with different programs will allow you to hack your way into whatever you need, but at the expense of power.
In easier campaigns you’ll have a healthy amount to play with, which as long as you’re not wasteful will see you through. In harder campaigns however you’ll want to spend wisely. This hacking game adds a whole new layer to the game and increases in difficulty in line with the rest of the game. The power resource will also come into your calculations in hunting for more goodies. If you make it to that next door, will you have enough power? Will the guard catch you if you stay around here too long? Is the risk worth it? The game asks a lot of questions and it’s so amazingly fun because of it.
So why go on missions and explore heavy resisted floors? Well you’ve only got 72 hours to save your AI, who’s living on reserve power and the corporations have got what you want, money, tech and resources. The 72 hours culminates in the ‘Final Mission’ and you can only survive it with being greedy in the previous missions, gathering what you can and gearing up. The gear, the characters, the programs, the augments, they all contribute to you being successful and there’s plenty of all of them that no one playthrough will see you get it all. The game is meant to be played several times and the joy finding something new that’ll help boost your agents is incredibly rewarding. The cast of agents in the game are incredibly well rounded and each offer something a bit different. There’s ten characters in total and I’m sure you’ll get yours after one playthrough.
The amount of campaign options seems overwhelming if you dare to expand it before the game begins, everything ranging from how many rewinds you get in a level (allowing you to retake your turn and not, say, walk right into two guards) to starting credits or if you can knockout a guard when he’s holding a gun to your head. This, along with an endless mode, will keep the enjoyment going for a long time.
This game is simply a delight for all turn-based fans; the art style, the tension, the greed – it all culminates into a gripping experience that’ll gift you with stories of that one time an agent outwitted camera, drones and guards alike to the distant but painful memories of when it all went wrong. Invisible Inc is worthy of your time and provides quite the large rabbit hole to escape into.
What Rocks! :)
- The ever advancing alarm rate creating tension and tempo
- A long list of brilliant characters
- Amazing art style
What Sucks :(
- Levels can occasionally be too busy and misclicks will ruin not just a level but a campaign.
There’s no adult rating for Invisible Inc. because it’s fairly tame, there’s no swearing or much gore aside from a splatter of red when you kill a guard. The later, more difficult part of the game might be too taxing for the young ‘uns though.