Have You Played… Invisible, Inc?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every weekday of the year, perhaps for all time.

Invisible, Inc. [official site] is one of the best games released this year. It was the game you should have been playing all through June. It’s a near-flawless mixture of turn-based tactics and stealth mechanics, which takes the ambiguities of the latter and fixes them in place with the streamlined, well-communicated grace of the former.

Stealth games are often more interesting than their guns-blazing counterparts because they deal in shades of grey; not the binary of fighting or not, but the spaces between. They mine tension from the moment where you’re partly spotted and now a guard is searching for you, or where you’re backed into a corner and your only apparent choice is to reveal yourself or engage an enemy you’d wanted to avoid.

What makes Invisible, Inc. superb however is that the consequences of your decisions within those grey areas are never unclear. You know perfectly well that bursting through that door without peeking first will put you at risk; you know perfectly well that rounding that corner will put you at gunpoint with an enemy guard; you know perfectly well that hacking that security device will raise the security alert for the entire level.

Invisible, Inc. pushes you to make hard, interesting decisions at every turn, and the heists that spill from those decisions are as exciting as anything else in stealth gaming.

28 Comments

  1. jasta85 says:

    played it, beat it, enjoyed it. The cool thing about Klei is that all their games are so different (side scrolling beat-em-up, top down real time survival, turn based stealth) and each one is well made and fun.

    Wonder what they’ll be doing next

    • Thurgret says:

      A Dynasty Warriors knock-off?

    • unraveler says:

      You forgot to mention the only video game were you are playing An Actual NINJA!

      • biff says:

        Just watched that link… where you have a self-proclaimed “expert” on ninjas who totally misses that ninjas are Chinese in origin. Even Mortal Kombat knows this (e.g. Sub zero, Cyrax, et cetera are all members of the Lin Kuei).

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          Angstsmurf says:

          That’s interesting, but it’s not what Wikipedia says. What is your source for this?

          • biff says:

            Well, Wikipedia isn’t always the best source of information. I think the information on Wikipedia tends to be biased towards English speaking countries or those allied with English speaking countries. That being said it was a *long* time ago that I read about it. I figured I’d do a brief internet search for you. It was quick and not exhaustive at all, but I did find this:
            link to answers.com
            link to asianhistory.about.com
            link to worldwidedojo.com

            The third link *seems* like it is more reliable, but this was just a quick search after all. I am sorry I could not be more helpful. By the way, the word ‘Ninja’ is actually a Chinese word *and* pronunciation of said word.

            Still, it makes a lot of sense. Most things I see that are associated with Japan don’t actually have a Japanese origin.

            Examples:
            ‘Kanji’ – 100% the same as Chinese characters
            ‘umami’ – Chinese concept of xianwei
            ‘banzai’ – penzai/penjing
            ‘Zen gardens’ – known as Chinese dry gardens
            ‘matcha powder green tea’ – china origin
            ‘sushi’- SE Asia

          • Cens says:

            Ninjas are Japanese. Practitioners of Ninjutsu. China also had spy warriors (allegedly before Japan) called Jiān

  2. ChairmanYang says:

    I loved Invisible, Inc. the first few times I played through it. After that, it got really boring and repetitive; the roguelike/random elements didn’t feel varied and didn’t fundamentally change my strategies much.

  3. Radiant says:

    I liked it a lot.
    The only flaw is that I wish the characters were more distinct from each other.

    Right now regardless of which characters you pick they still have you playing the same game just weighted more one way or the other between each skill.

    I was hoping when I picked a char it would change the mechanics a little and had more of an impact in how I played the game.

    It’s still a great game but if they’d gone ham with the characters playing through it again would have been a real thrill.

    • DrollRemark says:

      Yeah, in some ways the ability to customise so much about the characters through their levels robbed them of their uniqueness. All each one had to distinguish them was an item (transferrable), and a single skill point. Not much at all.

  4. carewolf says:

    Good game, but not recommended. It is a very short simplistic game trying to sell at full game price. It would be much easier to recommend if it was at normal small-indie game price.

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Small-indie game price, like, oh, $19.99? Which is, you know, its current price on Steam? (As well as games like Darkest Dungeon, ARK, etc.)

      “full game price” is closer to $59.99 for something like Fallout 4 or GTA V.

      • carewolf says:

        Yes $60 is fair for 60-100 hours of AAA gameplay. For a game with well under 10 hours of gameplay, I expect to pay $10 or less

        • carewolf says:

          Anyway as PC gamer I don’t consider $60 a normal price. It is price for extra long games or games for console users. In the PC world games are normed at 30-40

        • Mario_N says:

          The game as plenty of content, the point of a roguelike is to play it at high difficulty.You can easly get 30-40 hour.

    • cpt_freakout says:

      I think you’ve been buying bundles for far too long now, my friend.

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      teije says:

      This kind of attitude pisses me off. $20 is more than fair for a game of this scope. If we want small devs to be able to make games, they have to be able to make a living on them.

      • MisterFurious says:

        The game is four goddamn hours long! If you think $20 is a fair price for four hours, then bully for you, but a lot of people don’t.

        • ChrisGWaine says:

          I enjoyed it a lot for well over 40 hours.

        • Mario_N says:

          If you play only 4 hour you’ve missed the whole point of replay it at high difficulty

  5. TheAngriestHobo says:

    I did, and it didn’t work for me. I felt like the systems that drove the game were too obvious – I only ever felt like a guy playing a computer game about spies, not a spy myself. If they had tried to simulate the tools of the trade (or their possible future equivalents) rather than simply handwaving away the immersion issues with cybermagic, I might have found it more engaging. As it is, it felt like just another roguelike.

  6. Mi-24 says:

    The mechanic of automatically increasing the alarm level every turn was a clever idea, it prevents the approach of just systematically taking down every guard in the entire building. Personally I think the game is at it’s best when you have been seen and have to think very carefully about how to get out without being killed; exiting a level whilst dragging one of your unconscious agents out is horribly tense. In terms of flaws I feel that more augs, tools and level variations could have been added, but it kept me long enough for a few (ultimately failed) harder runthroughs

  7. aoanla says:

    I did, although only completed the Easy/Beginner campaign, due to lack of time so far.

    It’s also my first Klei game, so I’m assuming that the really rather excellent setting design and evocation are just Klei things. Obviously, it leans on the existing cyperpunk and noir setting archetypes to do this, but that’s also the secret to spare but effective storytelling.

    Mechanically, I have little to complain about, other than that, while I understand the need for a “hunger” clock in a directed roguelike like this, the Alarm system does make me rather nervous – I did have to take some time to get used to it before realising that its bark (on Easy, at least) is rather worse than its bite. (I suspect that my next playthrough, on a harder difficulty, might actually force me to engage in the compromises that the design clearly wants me to make, but the starter difficulty can’t enforce.)

  8. rodan32 says:

    Excellent game. It’s astonishing to me (and it shouldn’t be, since I’m one of those obnoxious guys who still raves about original X-COM) how often this turn-based game made me jump out of my seat. It’s as tense a game as I’ve played in forever. Very well balanced, great style, and restrictive in the right ways.

  9. Gordon Shock says:

    Sorry, can’t buy into this proceduraly generated non sense, I want to play something that was designed and not artificially stitched together by an algorithm.

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      john_silence says:

      And wait till the generator throws you a map without an exit teleporter… The game pulled that on me 2/3 into my best campaign yet. While it was fun evading the baddies for literally hours (dozens and dozens of turn going from one end of the map to the other!), I still erased the game and won’t be coming back.

  10. aircool says:

    Got bored doing the same thing over and over. Fun at first…

  11. Raoul Duke says:

    Have they added controller support yet? This seems like a perfect fit for big picture mode.