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Invisible Inc

iOS Steam PC Mac Linux Turn based strategy Stealth

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#1 MrToad

MrToad

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Posted 09 December 2016 - 12:27 PM

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Techno-noir. Espionage. Role playing. Turn based strategy. Rogue-like. Stealth. These are all words that feature strongly on my personal list of Things That Make Me Happy™. Invisible Inc takes all these things (and more) and wraps them up in a stylish package, so it pretty much had me at "Greetings, Operator..." It promises a lot, and thankfully it delivers. In spades.

Corporations have superceded governments and now run the world. Your espionage agency has been rumbled by the corps, and you have 72 hours to run a series of infiltration missions against them to prepare for a final showdown.

Now here's the thing: This is not an action game. It might be dressed as an action game, but underneath the veneer lies a deep and complex puzzle where strategy and tactics are key. The phrase "Your every decision counts" has been used a lot over the years, but never more accurately than here. And there are a lot of decisions to be made :)

Even choosing a mission has subtle ramifications. You have 72 hours to get your team kitted out for the final mission. Each potential mission will take between 4-12 hours depending on how far away it is, so you can stay close and squeeze in more missions (and thus more rewards) before the big finale or travel further for a high priority reward.

You start with a team of 2 agents chosen from a selection of 10, and can potentially rescue a couple more along the way. Each agent has their own unique combination of abilities, augmentations and starting equipment. You also have to choose 2 programs for Incognita, your friendly AI.

Missions involve sneaking through an office in turn based style, carefully positioning your agents to avoid patrolling guards and other hazards.

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The offices are filled with a variety of electronic devices including cameras, sound bugs, patrolling drones, shops and more, all of which can be controlled by your AI for your benefit. But of course hacking devices requires power, so careful management of your power supply is crucial.

Stealth and subtlety are the order of the day here. You can go all-action and take down guards, but that tends to work against you in the long run as KO'd guards eventually wake up and come looking for you. Killing is usually worse, as that will advance the alert level and bring in more challenges.

If/when a guard catches you, it's not insta-death; you have a chance to respond. The agent in focus can take one action before the guard guns them down, so they can dive for cover or take out the guard if possible. However, other agents can use their full turn to help, so there's often a mad scramble to work out how to save the "rabbit in the headlights". Even when you fail, all is not lost. A downed agent can be instantly revived by an injection of med-gel or dragged to the exit and teleported to safety. Should you really mess up, you can at any point use a rewind to go back to the beginning of your previous turn and try doing things differently.

So how is all this "rogue-like"? For a start, everything is procedurally generated so no two runs will be the same. In fact the whole game is heavily designed towards repeated replayability. The array of options both in starting setup and upgrades caters for a wide variety of play styles. When creating a new game you can choose from a selection of standards (beginner, experienced, etc) or completely customise your own from a myriad of settings.

It's also brutally difficult and punishing. Death comes suddenly to the unwary, but with every failure comes learning. Every time I've come out of it blaming myself and considering alternatives rather than feeling unfairly treated. But with great difficulty comes great reward. The tension can be incredible, as every decision can be make-or-break, but so is the sense of accomplishment when it all works and you somehow scramble out of a complete mess of a mission by the skin of your teeth.

There's a whole lot more I haven't even touched on yet, including the awesome art style, the tense soundtrack and sense of attachment to your team. But in case you hadn't already guessed, I love this game. It might not be for everyone, but it pushes all my nerdy happy buttons in just the right ways.

Invisible Inc is on Steam for PC, Mac and Linux, and there's an iPad version (N.B. only iPad, not other mobiles to my knowledge).





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: iOS, Steam, PC, Mac, Linux, Turn based strategy, Stealth

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