Invisible Inc released last year on Steam to much acclaim, the developers have been hard at work getting this title ported over to PS4 and it recently crept it’s way onto the Playstation Store waiting to be discovered. Will the game transition well or is it more Quantum of Solace than Spectre? Read on and then immediately burn the tape.
If you hadn’t guessed from the introduction Invisible Inc is based on espionage! Your company has been a major pain in the side for several corporations for quite a while and an assault on your base has left you mobile with them closing in on you. You are given 72 hours to resupply and prepare yourself for the mission that will change everything, putting you into a power position and the hunters running away in fear.
Visually the game heavily plays on somewhat of a Cyberpunk aesthetic with cel shaded graphics, the lighting is very dark with splashes of neon and really helps set the tone of the game. The characters are all wonderfully animated and the voice acting is top notch. The music is mainly just background noise and very typical of what you’d expect from a game based on espionage, the only major knock against all of this is the levels all look very similar which is actually brought up within the game, this may annoy some players as they are all very generic looking lab style levels.
The game play is tactical with roguelike elements, you’ll jet between similar looking labs & buildings which have been randomly generated trying to steal and hack your way to riches, equipment and victory. The game controls much like X Com did on consoles and for the most part works well though there are instances where you accidentally press the wrong on screen prompt and waste some energy. Navigating levels is made easy using the famous grid system and the map can be moved around to help you get to where you want to be. Every action you do in Invisible Inc requires Action Points, this means you have to have a clear idea of what you want to do each turn and make sure you use those points to get the upper hand, the points don’t stack and more often than not are the difference maker between Mission Complete or FUBAR.
As you are an espionage unit the idea behind the game is stealth, planning moves way ahead so you can stay out of site and in the money. Naturally because you’re a spy than means you get some cool gadgets such as Incognito, which is basically your one stop shop for hacking. Each turn you’ll gain some energy for Incognito which allows you to disable locks, turn off cameras and access safes, you can find terminals within the levels for additional energy to help Incognito do more to make your life easier & the enemies harder. To help push the pacing of the level each turn you do increases the security alert, this helps levels move faster and gives you more incentive to be in and out as quick as possible, failure to do so may result in more enemies appearing, security being heightened and the mission becoming a lot harder than originally thought. To top all of that off each enemy also comes equipped with a heartbeat monitor so if they are killed all enemies are alerted within the level to your position, the key is to knock them out and either stay on the body to keep them immobilized or get away from that area as soon as you can!.
To help combat the enemies you’ll be given/buy & steal all kinds of equipment from Stun Guns, to sniper rifles and even top of the range Drones, it’s up to you if you chose to equip and use these items or stock pile them for the final mission. You also have Peek and Ambush in your arsenal, Peek allows you to see the full layout of a room and the enemies security pattern so you can plan ahead, Ambush allows you to lay in wait to get the jump on any unsuspecting enemies. As you can imagine putting all of this into motion creates something akin to a Cat & Mouse game which stealth and strategy fans will lap up by the bucket full.
As previously mentioned you have 72 in which to equip for the final mission, this means spanning the world map & hitting as many beneficial companies as you can, it’s all about time management, you can spend say 12 hours going to Canada to steal 1 gun where as hit 2 closer companies for credits and buy the same gun from the shady arms dealer. The more you hit certain companies the higher the security and ultimately the risk. You’ll come across additional agents on your travels you can enlist and hire as well as get the chance to save any that got caught in previous missions, this gives you even more to think about in regards to who gets sent out on missions, do you pick the speedy agent who’s quick but can’t hold as much or go for the bulkier one who’ll carry all the gear but not make the hastiest of exits?. Chances are the first time you come to the final mission you’ll be ill-equipped and overwhelmed which will result in failure, no worries the game restarts at the beginning of the 72 hours and you’ll have a much better idea of what you need to do to succeed.
The previous statement is what really sells Invisible Inc to me, despite getting demolished on my first attempt I jumped straight back in with more knowledge and tricks of the trade and it felt totally natural, not like Game Over but more similar to the Dark Souls “You Have Died” where you dust yourself off and head straight back for more. Invisible Inc is brilliant at sinking it’s hooks into you and making you want to do better, do more with your time and try new techniques until you finish that final mission in which once that’s done you turn that difficulty up and try again. In the easier difficulties you are given rewinds which help you undo bad turns and turn it back into your favor, higher difficulties remove this and also have it so any of your agents die it’s straight back at the beginning for you, it all naturally progresses and you’ll just lap up the challenge of taking on the higher modes & time trials.
I found Invisible Inc to not only be enjoyable but highly addictive and generally engaging, the game challenges you at every level and the rewards for pulling off the perfect heist aren’t half as great as you feel!. I keep finding new things and techniques with each playthrough and ways to help smooth out that pesky final mission. I’d highly suggest any strategy fans pick this game up as soon as they can and watch it engulf your free time, it gives back to you what you put into it so if you sit down with the game and expect you may not make it the first time around and learn everything there is you’ll find every new run just as exciting and absorbing as the last.
Invisible INC - 9/10
Who should buy this
- Fans of strategy
- Lovers of espionage
- IF Cyberpunk is your bag baby
Who should avoid this
- Wanting to run and gun
- If time management hurts your brain
- Roguelike elements are a turn off
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