Game review: Invisible, Inc. is a spy game with sleek, tech-noir visuals

Those pining for the sneaky games of yesteryear can find some satisfaction with this PS4 release, with its blend of time-sensitive strategy and classic stealth moves

PUBLISHED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 4:01am
UPDATED : Friday, 13 May, 2016, 1:34pm

Invisible, Inc.

Klei Entertainment

3.5/5 stars

You’ve got to get your stealth where you can these days. The once incredibly popular but now sidelined gaming genre has been passed over in recent times for massive open worlds, intense FPS experiences and smaller indie games. And you can’t blame them – it was definitely an of-its-time genre, with gaming dynamics that took advantage of then-limited hardware to deliver the best possible adventures.

But for all of us pining for the sneaky games of yesteryear, the best we can do is settle for a mishmash – action-infused hybrids like those that go by the Hitman and Splinter Cell labels these days, or a turn-based, X-Com-inspired release such as Invisible, Inc. The game was released about a year ago on PCs, but it’s finally making its console debut on PS4.

The blend of time-sensitive strategy and classic stealth works incredibly given the concept, as your group of rogue agents gears up to launch a counter-attack on the baddies who did them wrong. That involves slipping your way through heavily guarded areas, stealing precious information and then quickly escaping the scene.

But it’s never that easy, and along the way, you’ll have to finagle your way past security cameras, guards and other sources of danger, each cleverly balanced to the point that each turn becomes a measure of working where to move, which agent to use and how many credits to dish out.

It’s the latter idea that’s particularly innovative, allowing you to upgrade your team as well as purchase new gadgets and weapons, from melee to ranged. And when a mission goes wrong and one of your agents ends up captured or killed, there’s a heavy sense of permanent loss that takes over the proceedings – at least on the more challenging settings where turns can’t be backtracked.

All of that is amped up with the sleek, tech-noir visuals, the ideal look and feel for this kind of spy game, and while the audio cues are pretty standard, it nevertheless adds up to an impressive package that suits console play perfectly.

Invisible, Inc. is small but stimulating, the ideal stealth effort for our modern gaming world, where spies are sent on a Mission: Impossible-like adventure that’s determined more by skill and tactics than out-and-out violence. Don’t get me wrong: I love a classic stealth adventure where I hang from a ceiling and take out an entire army with nothing more than a wire, but in these trying times, this will definitely do.