Game of the Month: June – Invisible, Inc.

Magazines have front covers, RPS has Game Of The Month. It’s our attempt at whittling down the thick backlog of videogames growing around you into a single, manageable game. The one game you should play if you’ve only time to play one game in the month of June. The one game you must play, even if you have no time to play games at all, because otherwise your peers will laugh at you, your romantic interests will sneer at you, and your trousers will fall down at an inopportune moment like in a bad BBC One comedy.

This month: Invisible, Inc. [official site].

Invisible, Inc. is a procedural stealth game made by Klei Entertainment, they of Don’t Starve and Mark of the Ninja. It pairs XCOM-style turn-based squad management with Spelunky-style world generation, item system and risk/reward mechanics. It is superb, for reasons we’ll explain in greater detail when our RPS Verdict goes up later tonight. In the meantime, why not read Quintin’s Invisible, Inc. review for us or his COGWATCH examining why its level generation is so good.

Still have questions about this whole Game of the Month thing?

Why is June’s game a game that was released in May?

We want to be able to play the games we choose as Game of the Month, not speculatively guess at what might be worth your time. That means that the games we choose will already be out, and in some cases may have been released years ago if they have suddenly become relevant again.

Have you guys done this before?

Twice, last month. The first game was Cities: Skylines and you can see all of its Game of the Month coverage here, the second was Grand Theft Auto V and you can read that block here.

*cough*Witcher 3*cough*

We’re all of us enjoying The Witcher 3 a great deal – and our reviewer Richard Cobbett adored it – but Invisible, Inc. is floating our personal boats more and seems at greater risk of being overlooked by a press and public already entranced by Geralt’s luscious beard. We’ll continue to cover both games throughout the month, of course.

98 Comments

  1. Trillby says:

    Whaaaaaat about Pillars of Eternity?

    • blastaz says:

      The witcher 3 happened to pillars of eternity. I’ve only got time for one awesome rpg in my life at once

      that and the elven city where I sort of paused.

      Must return to finish it because it is special, it’s just that Geralt has got his trophy hook into me bad.

    • wwarnick says:

      This: “Invisible, Inc. is floating our personal boats more and seems at greater risk of being overlooked…”

  2. Henas says:

    Why didn’t you pick Pillars OR The Witcher 3, you blaggards?!

    Invisible Inc is a great game, deserving GotM winner in any month that didn’t have TW3 released therein.

    Actually I’m excited for more II articles. Best stealth game since Mark of the Ninja, which was the best since Thief II.

    • sub-program 32 says:

      Also, considering that this very article said that games are eligible for GoTM long after ‘their’ month, both PoE and Witcher 3 have plenty of time to gain a spot, should they remain relevent. That should not be hard considering both are epic RPG’s.

    • LexxieJ says:

      Weird how not everyone in the entire world has exactly the same opinion eh?

      :rolleyes:

      Personally, I have all three games mentioned and this one has given me by far the most fun/hour- a very worthy GoTM.

    • wwarnick says:

      Yeah, Mark of the Ninja was awesome as well. Loved that game. I started the first Thief, but didn’t get too far. Too many annoying zombies. Should I just skip to Thief 2 or should I push through?

      • Unclepauly says:

        Push through, the zombies are only their for a short amount of time.

    • KenTWOu says:

      Best stealth game since Mark of the Ninja, which was the best since Thief II.

      Does not compute. MotN stealth is too shallow to be the best one since Thief II.

  3. Blackseraph says:

    Your argument of choosing this over witcher would have been fine if you would have chosen pillars of eternity over gta as well for similar reasons. Yet since you didn’t this just seems odd.

    • jerf says:

      This. Comes to me as a slight lack of integrity.

      • Llewyn says:

        Is there a specific way in which you’re suggesting this lacks integrity or are you just throwing around insults because you don’t like their preferences?

        • pepperfez says:

          I thought “integrity” had always meant “agreement with me”?

        • jerf says:

          Yes, there is a specific way. It was explained by Blackseraph above. That’s why I said “This.”, you know.

          If they would simply say that they liked Invisible more or that they just chose it for their own undisclosed reasons, fair enough, I wouldn’t have a problem with that. But they went on explaining that one of their major reasons was that it “seems at greater risk of being overlooked by a press”. Then it’s not clear why this didn’t apply to PoE over GTA5. Thus, the supposed slight (!) lack of integrity.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            I’d probably choose the word consistency rather than integrity in that case.

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            Graham Smith says:

            Actually, we chose Cities: Skylines over Pillars of Eternity. GTA5 was the following month – although, yes, we could have also picked Pillars of Eternity that month. Or this month. Or next month. Or next year. Really, all Game of the Month’s from here on are just opportunities to not pick Pillars of Eternity.

            Basically: we choose these games collectively; everyone votes their preference but presumably has their own criteria driving that preference; “I like X more Y” is the top criteria; but “I want this to get more attention than its currently getting” probably plays into it a bit, and it certainly does with me.

            So… Is that a lack of integrity? I think it’s just the complexities of the human heart multiplied by six people with different tastes.

            <3

          • jerf says:

            @Graham Smith

            Sorry, it’s my fault then (and, I guess, Blackseraph’s as well). I take my words back with an apology.

            And yes, I should have used the word “consistency”, not “integrity”.

            Thanks for chiming in.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Accusing people of a “slight lack of integrity” for expressing an opinion. Did you think that one through?
        My game of the month is Neo Scavenger for the second time in six months, it isn’t even new so how that’s possible we will never know.

        • BloatedGuppy says:

          Hey, how is Neo Scavenger now? I haven’t touched it in about a year.

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            Compared to about a year ago I’d say post release its more of everything, more equipment, faction stuff and events but it’s not radically different as a game.
            The beginning is a lot harder, I had some problems surviving beyond the first two days as the starting area is one of the most dangerous now so get away from the cryo facility as fast as possible.
            I’ll add that the wiki site isn’t up to date on everything either.

        • jerf says:

          Not for expressing an opinion. See my reply to Llewyn above.

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          Graham Smith says:

          Game Of All My Months.

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        Godwhacker says:

        I think they’ve quite clearly explained that they can pick whichever game they like. Hence, lots of this “integrity” word that people are suddenly throwing about.

        If they just let readers vote for their editorial decisions they might as well replace the list of top-selling games on Steam. Or just become IGN.

    • Dawngreeter says:

      Imagine if all these picks were choices made by people instead of results of an algorythm attuned to your specific sensibilities. Now imagine these people have opinions which are complex, rarely uniform and, in the end, have to be sorted in such a way so as to produce a single pick each month. If you imagined all this, you might not necessarily be surprised that there is slight variation between a perceived ideal case and actual real-world results. Right?

      Now realize that you don’t have to imagine anything, this is how things actually are.

      Also, Invisible is easily better than Pillars which is why I’d guess it won over this month’s high budget blockbuster when Pillars didn’t.

      • LexxieJ says:

        Well said sir/madam/alien thing.

      • Pau says:

        I like the part where you say people have different tastes then declare a good game is superior than another good game. Hypocrisy much

        • Dawngreeter says:

          As a general rule, I like to rely on people using their brains to discern when I state an opinion. I apologize if that does not include you, I’d hate to do wrong by someone explicitly parsing my post for reasons to insult me.

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        Graham Smith says:

        This response says it better than my response.

  4. Banks says:

    Well deserved, best tactics game ever made.

    • Dorga says:

      You, sir, obviously never played Tactics Ogre on psp, or telepath tactics on pc.
      Also GTA V yes GRUMBLE GRUMBLE but no Witcher 3 GRUMBLE GRUMBLE

      • Kitsunin says:

        Man, wish I could get Tactics Ogre emulating properly on my tablet. Dunno what happened but I was in the middle of playing it when PPSSPP got an update which made it get massive slowdown. Seemed like it was basically FF Tactics but better, in many ways.

    • inf says:

      What a joke. Nobody here ever played Jagged Alliance 2, the original XCOM games, or indeed Xenonauts? What about Silent Storm?

      • wwarnick says:

        Ever played Invisible Inc?

        • inf says:

          I’ve put 20 hours into it, so yes, i have played it a decent amount of time. It’s a good game, and i will certainly play it a lot more, but it isn’t by any means the best TRPG ever.

          This sounds a lot like when a lot of people played a decent tactical combat game for the first time with the XCOM remake a couple years ago. It was also good, but in the end was only a mechanically watered down version of the original. Younger people have grown so used to shallow combat, that every time something new comes along that has a whiff of depth from the old TRPG standard, they consider it the best thing ever.

          • DiePingu says:

            Sigh

            Speaking as someone who has been playing games like this since Rebel Star Raiders I find these kind of comments depressing. X-Com Enemy Unknown was a great game – I find comments about ‘watered down’ mechanics sad. Sometimes simplicity is good, particularly when they might be..you know..trying to restart the entire genre again…plus the fact that X-Com EU did well is a good thing, so we will get more.

            mechanics in Invis Inc are fine – story could have been longer though.

          • inf says:

            I’m sad that you’re depressed by reading someones opinion, but it’s something you should get used to.

            Some of us just like the depth and complexity of the old games, and find enjoyment and reward in the challenge they bring. Invisible INC is by no means an easy game, and it’s great that it’s difficulty is highly customizable. For me it just lacks “ways to do things” and general depth to it’s combat. Again though, as i said, i think it’s a good game, and i’m not taking away from people claiming that it is. I’m just not that keen on the “best tactics game ever made” hyperbole. Certainly not when compared to the games i mentioned.

  5. Horg says:

    Great game, only complaint is travel times between missions need to be reduced so you can roll the dice on more loot / agents before the final mission. As the main campaign is only about a dozen missions long, you can easily clear every level and not find the gear you need to combat the guards on the last mission. Endless infiltration mode is OK but it’s no substitute for the feeling you are working towards an end point.

    • mouton says:

      You can make the campaign last 120 hours.

      I like how scarce everything is, though, I have to really risk thorough runs to have decent stuff. This actually killed me in the first mission long after I was experienced, lol, even the basic guards can murder your whole team easily if you are not careful.

    • Kitsunin says:

      My experience with the final mission, having only one weapon capable of piercing armor (Shalem’s starting rifle, lol) but a complete roster of four agents and no idea what to expect, was that it’s still totally possible with almost no gear. You just need to take serious advantage of using distractions to keep the guards chasing the less vital agents. It felt cheesy and was ridiculously close, but somehow it worked for me.

      • wwarnick says:

        Same here. I’m usually one that prefers things a little easier because I don’t particularly enjoy losing “all the time”, but this game is an exception because almost every time you’re cornered, if you sit and think for long enough, you can usually find some narrow escape, and it feels awesome. Winning by a landslide, I’ve found, is less satisfying than barely winning against all odds with the world falling apart around you. This game does that amazingly.

      • Horg says:

        The first time I got to the final level, it generated a map that had a guard entrance next to the first objective, with two guards already patrolling the tiny room you had to pass through. Due to the rest of the level layout, the alarm was already up at 3 before I got there. Basically impossible to move through without talking down at least a couple of guards and pinning them out of sight. Just bad luck for me I guess, that’s roguelikes after all, but i’d still prefer a few more missions per campaign so there’s less chance of being left in a no win scenario.

        • Kitsunin says:

          My alarm was still quite low once I got to that objective, but the guard entrance was only one room away for me, too, which was quite nasty. After botching things completely once and using my sole rewind, I managed to use an agent as bullet-fodder and make another agent sprint around unnecessarily, and so convinced the many guards who were alerted to the objective’s location to follow her instead. In the end one guard went into the room anyway, and the key guy happened to have one shot on him. After that, I was able to lure most of the guards to the other end of the complex and the rest was tricky, but not so awful.

          There were tens of things, at least, which happened and could have led to a complete failure (on my part, at one point I used my only med-syringe on a non-key agent, yikes!), if I made even the slightest additional error it would have been over; I’m sure it’s possible to get there and be even less prepared, then you might be screwed from the start, but there wouldn’t be a big difference between that and what I had.

  6. emotionengine says:

    *coughs vehemently*

  7. Dawngreeter says:

    Never a more deserving pick. Invisible’s awesomeness can’t be overstated.

  8. mashkeyboardgetusername says:

    I very much approve of this. Cracking game.

    Something about it that I don’t think was mentioned in the wot i think (may have misremembered though) is the vast campaign options menu. Specifically you can set guards that you’ve tazered to be knocked out for effectively the rest of the level, and the steadily-increasing alarm can be turned off. (You can also make the game harder if you want.) Sorry, just thought I’d take the opportunity to get that out there as I know some people were put off by the stun for three turns/stunning has a three turn recharge thing, and being pushed to move faster. You can play the game how you want, which is bloody brilliant and I can’t praise enough.

    • Horg says:

      It’s a bit annoying that you can’t reduce the travel time between missions at all, about the only option they didn’t include in the difficulty settings. But yeah, more games should be doing this instead of just increasing the oppositions health and calling it hard mode.

    • Kitsunin says:

      And the rewind system is brilliant. The fact that one is standard is very smart — it’s often just enough to prevent you from frequently dying due to frustrating circumstances, be it brain farts, very bad luck, or misunderstanding of mechanics (took me a lot of oopsies to understand exactly what causes a guard to shoot, for instance). And of course cranking it up to three means you make other things really hard if you’d like (for example, to ease yourself into the no sight area for unseen enemies mode)…again, huge customization in the difficulty settings.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Another great move by Klei. They did the same thing with Don’t Starve.

      Let players tune the experience to fit themselves. Beyond even ordinary difficulty levels. Their vision as developers is still there, but they don’t insist on it in the details. Letting players alter individual elements shows a profound respect for their players and their experiences. And they build this functionality right into the game, instead of just leaving it to modding.

  9. edwardh says:

    I also agree with this choice.
    Although I have to say that having spent a little time with it, I still hope Klei will make a sequel to Mark of the Ninja at some point. It was possibly their least appreciated game and yet I loved it the most. So much that I may play through it a third time before continuing with Invisible, Inc…

    • Monggerel says:

      If Mark of the Ninja had 0 dialogue and no cutscenes in it, any story the developers want to include told purely through what happens on screen, it might just be the greatest motor vehicle ever introduced to the greater public of South-East Bavaria.

  10. ButterflyRogers says:

    Sell Outs!!!!

  11. BTAxis says:

    As the only person in the world who doesn’t like Pillars of Eternity, I feel grimly justified.

    • BTAxis says:

      That was in reply to Trillby up top, I swear this comment system randomly decides not to work properly.

    • aircool says:

      I’ve put off getting PoE because there are some annoying bugs (apparently), and I prefer turn based combat in my RPG’s.

      • BTAxis says:

        Same boat, basically.

      • Not Marvelous says:

        Sadly Pillars of Eternity is another CRPG supposed to be played in spite of its mechanics (and I count BG2 among those too) but it is a real narrative achievement. To create a world, and a story both personal and global in that world, and to subvert it, all in one game – I call that a smashing success. Even if the story rests on one minor lore dump and the characters, including your own, do happen to take a back seat from time to time.

        One important bit about the whole thing: Pillars is more science fiction than fantasy, only that the scientific and social themes are placed in a world of magic and elves and dragons. The main themes of the story are the limits of scientific knowledge and the meaning, and use, of religion. The common fantasy themes – the personal and the cosmic intertwined, reestablishing the balance of nature, and the like, are mostly absent.

  12. Dale Winton says:

    Witcher 3 for
    Best game I’ve played in years

  13. BloatedGuppy says:

    Not picking Witcher 3 is straight bonkers to me, but kind of hard to argue with opinions. And I say this as one of the greatest lovers of turn based tactics alive.

    Also, picking a game “because it’s at risk of being overlooked” seems rather at odds with the stated purpose of “this is the ONE game you MUST play this month”, but hey, what do I know. Probably the same reasoning that went into the GTA V pick, that one really flew under the radar.

    • LexxieJ says:

      Did you miss this little snippet perhaps?

      “but Invisible, Inc. is floating our personal boats more”

      That means they prefer it to TW3, regardless of whether this is likely to be overlooked or not.

      And I agree with them- even though the Witcher is an incredible achievement & a great game, I’ve had much more fun with this.

      • BloatedGuppy says:

        Did it appear that I “missed” that snippet? I already acknowledged it was a question of opinion. Opinions are not free from question or criticism, you are aware? Someone might tell me that they prefer the Monkees to the Beatles, that the former just “floats their boat more”. I reserve the right to say “Really? The Monkees? Okay then.”

    • Not Marvelous says:

      I think you really managed to glean the corrupt, seedy underbelly of RPS there. They are literally breaking oaths just so they could pick a game other than the Witcher.

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        Aerothorn says:

        Do you make a habit of erecting strawmen in comments sections, or are you just trying it out?

        • Not Marvelous says:

          It’s not a strawman when the comment was obviously hyperbole and meant to be understood as such. It was considerably more snarky than intended, though, and needlessly at that.

          • Darth Gangrel says:

            Nothing is ever “obviously hyperbole”, because people of the internet are weird or trolls or weird trolls. I sometimes write a comment which I think is obviously hyperbole in Gamespot articles (a bigger, more contentious crowd there and thus easier to get replied to) and there’s always someone who thinks I’m being dead serious and therefore damn stupid. Sadly, you have to explain that you’re writing hyperbole or someone will inevitably take you serious and rant about you being a moron.

        • aircool says:

          Strawman:- An admission of reluctant acceptance of your opponents argument (which they’ve had to dumb down to your level by way of an easily understandable example) in which the only way you can continue denying the soundness of their argument against yours, is by declaring that their argument is a ‘strawman’ and retreating into self denial.

    • aircool says:

      Witcher 3 is the Emperor’s New Clothes. No-one seems prepared to admit that it’s merely a good game, not an exceptional one. The only thing that Witcher 3 does well is the way that your decisions affect the storyline, the rest of it is a messy ARPG that moves like a drunken slug, has a ridiculous amount of crap in the inventory, has a dumb as hell AI and uninspiring character progression.

      • zentropy says:

        That sums up my feels about it as well.

        The hair is awful pretty though.

    • Kitsunin says:

      I’d say there are a couple good reasons to pick Invis. Inc. over Witcher 3. For one, Witcher 3 being a game that takes like a hundred hours to have an entirely complete perspective over, it’s probably too soon for everyone’s opinions to have fully formed.

      Another good reason is that Witcher 3 has already been getting lots of posts recently, including DLC news and such, and there might still be more to cover, so it’s nice to have a wider variety of games getting posted about.

      In the end, Invis. was already a shoe-in for gotm, it’s just a matter of which month, Witcher 3 is the same I’m sure.

  14. Retne says:

    Another fine game that I will have to miss because DISSERTATION.
    In the mean time, can you tweak the tag for this post as it’s untagged, and recursive tags are fun.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It plays well in small chunks, if you find time during breaks from your work. Plus being turn-based it’s simple to step away from at any point.

  15. Retne says:

    Crappy crap crap. No edit. How about edits for supports?
    Anyway, not untagged, but the filter tag you link to doesn’t include this story.

    See, that almost makes sense.
    It’s quite liberating to just type quickly with no thought for making it make perfect sense. This is like a really bad comment game – can you get the achievement “Understand what the hell Retne is going on about”?

  16. Foosnark says:

    I will have to give this another go. I tried an early build when it was “Incognita” and it was fairly incomprehensible and not very fun. I tried it again just after its name change to “Invisible, Inc” and thought it had potential but still wasn’t something I could see spending a lot of time with. Maybe it’s greatly improved since then or maybe it’s just a matter of taste.

  17. Not Marvelous says:

    Yes RPS and other gaming websites, you need to apologize every time you pick something not-Witcher as the best anything! Also apologize for writing about any other game.

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    gritz says:

    Good on you guys for not going with the obvious choice for once. TW3 may be my favorite game of all time (we’ll see), but I can read about it anywhere.

    Obscure gems are the heart of PC gaming, and good journalism about them is rare and necessary.

  19. slerbal says:

    Invisible, Inc is great. I should go play it some more :)

  20. ironman Tetsuo says:

    Couldn’t agree more! Invisible.Inc is a superb game

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    Aerothorn says:

    Did I miss the “runners-up” post from last month? Are you not doing that anymore?

  22. aircool says:

    Witcher 3 is good fun and all, but has too many faults for it to win a game of the month.

    Flabby controls, boring combat, a migraine inducing camera and the simple fact that the game, outside of the storyline, just isn’t as clever as it thinks it is.

    I haven’t played much Invisinble Inc because after a few levels, I felt like playing XCOM again.

  23. jonahcutter says:

    It would have to be a genuinely great game to beat out the Witcher 3. And it is.

  24. Laurentius says:

    I played one mission, it was ok. Then Witcher 3 came out and unfrtunately I don’t know when I will get back to it. Still got a couple of missions of GTA5 and a few ending quests of Pillars of Eternity. Whew, what a year…

  25. Geebs says:

    It’s kind of a shame to make it a competition between two completely different games with two completely different audiences, which always ends up in two sides forming, insulting each other and then patronisingly telling each other that “opinions are subjective”. Bleh.

    On the other hand, I would like to commend RPS for their coverage of Invisible, Inc. By giving the clearest description of the game I have read anywhere, you were able to show me that it’s an excellent game, but one which is absolutely not right for me. Thanks, RPS.

  26. TallTippedT says:

    Hmm… That’s funny this is probably the best game I’ve played this year (so far). I’m not surprised at all… clearly others feel different.

  27. rexx.sabotage says:

    Whoa-ho-ho!

    That’s three consecutive months this piece has been going!

    eek out one more and you can color me impressed. Although, it would probably be the last one :P

  28. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    But I’ve already bought and enjoyed Invisible Inc very much!

    Oh, you know I only beat it on the easiest difficulty and the final mission scares me? Yes, good point I should have another go at it.

    You don’t have to tell me twice, this is the best time since XCOM.

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    zigguratvertigo says:

    I haven’t tried Invisible Inc yet but definitely will now. Also I do hope you at least consider The Witcher in future months; it is a big game and has been out for only a fortnight or so, so you would have to be keen indeed to have seen it all.

  30. Kaine says:

    How good this game is, is irrelevant, because it was against a game that has become a milestone in RPG gaming. But you didn’t want poor Invisible, Inc. to be overlooked. Great reasoning to convince a 15 year old.

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      FhnuZoag says:

      In exactly one more mile there’s gonna be another milestone in RPG gaming. Invisible Inc is the only procedurally generated turn based stealth game ever.

      • Kaine says:

        That one more mile might be in 10 years. A game’s uniqueness equals neither quality nor impact.

        • Yglorba says:

          In the long run, it really does, though. If you look back ten years, people remember the big unique games a lot more than the ones that mildly improved on what was already there.

          If someone had highlighted Planescape: Torment as game of the month when it came out, people like you would have scoffed and asked why they cared so much about its ‘uniqueness’ when it was up against Quake III; in the long run, though, PS:T’s uniqueness has given it more impact than Quake III had. (And while quality is mostly subjective, I would argue that PS:T’s creativity and innovation make it higher-quality than Quake III, too.)

          That’s beside the fact that their Game of the Month is literally just defined as “games we’re telling you we think you should play”; it doesn’t necessarily mean that the game will have the highest impact, or that everyone will agree on its subjective quality; it just means it’s something the editors at RPS think everyone ought to play.

          • Kaine says:

            What you’re describing doesn’t happen 100% of the time. I clearly stated that one doesn’t necessarily mean the other, not that it never happens (for a unique game to have quality or impact). You know nothing for people “like me” because when PS:T came out, it directly became one of my favorite games of all time and has stayed there (on my list) until today. This is supposed to be about “Game of the Month” and not “Game that might be important because people may remember it, and it might turn out important for future game development as well because it has something unique”. Besides, The Witcher 3 is already important about future game development. I’m pretty sure that Invisible Inc. is a great game. I haven’t played it, but I adore Mark of the Ninja, and I’m pretty sure that Klei delivered. It’s just that the Witcher is greater. Subjectively, objectively, and in whatever other way. As for uniqueness, I could argue that the Witcher has also done things that haven’t been done before. But I won’t, because I start to sound like I’m a fanboy, which I’m not. So, cheers, and happy gaming.