Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Curve Studios
This is going to sound like insane hyperbole, but I swear it isn’t: Stealth Inc. 2 might just be my most anticipated game of the Fall. Seriously. The only thing that maybe comes close is Sunset Overdrive (which, admittedly, I bought an Xbox One for), but it should say a lot about the quality of last year’s original — which was easily one of my favourite games of 2013 — that some sadistic little indie game is, at least in my mind, up there with one of the biggest AAA releases of the year.
The crazy thing, though? This sadistic little indie game completely and entirely lives up to my expectations. Considering I was going in hoping for a strong GOTY contender, that’s saying a lot.
It helps, of course, that Curve didn’t change things around too much. Everything that worked so well last time is back in full force here, too. Challenging puzzles? Check. Dark, Portal-esque sense of humour? Check again. And…uh…well, puzzles and a sense of humour are pretty much the extent of it. But when they’re done as well as they are here, that’s really all you need.
I mean, take the humour as an example. Stealth Inc. 2 isn’t just a game that wants you to fail, it’s a game that makes no attempt to hide that fact. Like the first time around, it lives up to its PC title of “Stealth Bastard” by rooting for your failure loudly and actively. While I’m not going to tell you whether the game features the same kind of hilarious gut-punch ending that the first game had, I can confirm that Stealth Inc. 2 also takes every opportunity it can to let you know that it thinks you’re going to fail — and, moreover, when you do, it doesn’t hesitate to gloat about your misfortune.
And make no mistake, you’re going to fail a lot. That’s simply the nature of the game, and unlike the first outing, there are no PC walkthroughs to help you through the tough parts. You’re going to have to die lots and lots of times to feel your way through Stealth Inc. 2, and there’s not any easy way around that. It’s all about trial and error…and error, and error.
It’s never unfair, though, and that’s what makes Stealth Inc. 2 so amazingly addictive. The answers are always there, tantalizingly just out of reach, and the game knows how to spur you towards them using negative (albeit hilariously negative) reinforcement. I’m not saying you should go out and buy a Wii U just to play it — though considering it’s only available on that console at present, it might not be a bad idea.