I think it’s safe to say that Klei Entertainment is one of the most prestigious indie developers in the industry today. Instead of indulging in the comfort of their success and regurgitating the same concepts like many of their AAA counterparts, they tackle each project with renewed ambition and a willingness to take risks. What do Mark of the Ninja, Shank, Don’t Starve and their latest Invisible, Inc. have in common? Aside from being superb games, very little. Each one of Klei’s titles differs drastically, both in presentation and gameplay.
Their latest title, Invisible, Inc., is yet another phenomenal entry. It’s a spectacular turn-based tactical espionage adventure that combines the best bits of XCOM, Laser Squad Nemesis and Syndicate, while introducing new creative gameplay elements and some of the most impressive randomly generated level designs I’ve seen in a long time. Invisible, Inc. is not only one of Klei’s finest titles to date, but it’s arguably one of the best indie games to come out in years.
"Invisible, Inc. is not only one of Klei’s finest titles to date, but it’s arguably one of the best indie games to come out in years."
In Invisible, Inc. you control a team of special operatives by infiltrating some of the world’s most dangerous corporations. The game lasts 72 in-game hours in which you have to complete all objectives, or your trusted AI system Incognita shuts down and your organization becomes vulnerable to attacks. Missions are accessed via an XCOM style world map where you can choose available objectives in any desired order. Objectives range from rescue missions to intel acquisitions, and playing stealthily and defensively is the only way to survive. The game is hard. Forget about rushing through levels and taking risks. Carefully calculated strategy is a must, and even then, the enemy tends to do everything in their power to stop you.
Levels are presented via an isometric view, allowing free camera movement in and around the environments. Movement and actions are turn-based, and your trusted AI companion, Incognita, can be utilized to hack distant cameras and similar devices. During earlier missions, it’s very easy to spam Incognita’s abilities to shut off surrounding tech, but as the levels grow, so does the need for a more conservative approach. If Incognita is used too often, the alarm level continues rising until all available enemy forces are on the lookout. If you aren’t near the end of a level by alarm stage 5, it’s pretty much impossible to veer through the ruthless enemy defenses.
"Much like Shank and Mark of the Ninja, Klei Entertainment has a knack for setting a unique tone and aesthetic. "
There are numerous ways to overcome enemy guards. Sneaking by is the most rewarding, but also the most challenging, option. Once guards get too nosy, you can use your diverse gadget arsenal to either temporarily disable them, or use deadly force. If a guard is knocked down, they awaken within a few turns and start searching for you. Closing doors and escaping the area quickly is imperative if you want to avoid raising the alarm any further. When standing next to a door, your agents can use a “peak” command to analyze the next room. Sometimes it’s best to lure a guard near the door entrance, and ready your agent for a sneak attack. The possibilities are literally endless.
"Klei Entertainment has done it again. They’ve created another gem that every PC gamer must add to their collection."
Invisible, Inc. is a visually gorgeous game. Technically, the game isn’t very demanding and performs beautifully on even the slowest computers, but it’s the superb art style that steals the show. Much like Shank and Mark of the Ninja, Klei Entertainment has a knack for setting a unique tone and aesthetic. The levels are vibrant, and the animations fluid. The only downside is the overall lack of visual diversity between the interiors. Almost all levels share similar assets, and the lack of exteriors does come off a tad claustrophobic. Nevertheless, the randomization works wonderfully, and you never feel like you’re venturing through the same area.
Klei Entertainment has done it again. They’ve created another gem that every PC gamer must add to their collection. Invisible, Inc. is an absurdly fun strategy title from a team that continues to impress with every new release. Klei has recently announced that they’ll be porting Invisible, Inc. to Playstation 4, so console gamers have something to look forward to as well. If you’re in the mood for stealth and tactical gaming, Invisible, Inc. has got you covered.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: PC