Early Access Impressions: Invisible, Inc., from Klei Entertainment
Klei Entertainment, Inc., already has a pretty impressive track record. In case you are unfamiliar, Klei is the developer behind n+, Shank, Eets, Mark of the Ninja and Don’t Starve. I, personally, got a lot of enjoyment out of Mark of the Ninja, in particular. Now they have released the Early Access build for their next game: Invisible, Inc. I was pretty excited when I heard that Klei was doing a turn-based strategy game and, having bought Invisible, Inc., on Steam Early Access (for $15.99, 20% off its full price of $19.99), I’m now pretty excited to have it in my hands. Well, in a manner of speaking. Since it’s digital. So it’s not literally in my hands.
In any case, after downloading the game I decided to go ahead and give the tutorial a try. I will note that this is, obviously, an early access build so everything I talk about here is thoroughly subject to change, so this may not be indicative of the final product or even the next build. On the Early Access page, Klei notes that the final game will have “more playable agents, more mission locations, a final boss mission, more upgrades, another corporation, and more enemies for you to die by” with the core content in place by early 2015.
All of that said, this still looks like a pretty polished package, at least through the tutorial. A couple of minor bothers (the ‘Warning’ sound it plays when you are out of Action Points was a little off-putting for me), but I found the voiceovers in place to be good and the graphics are pretty sharp. The tutorial puts you in control of Deckard, one of the four currently-playable agents, who needs to get out of a building. From there, you are introduced to some of the game’s mechanics, like peeking through a door to see where the enemies are, getting power from accessing computers, using said power to disable cameras, and taking out guards in a hopefully-stealthy manner. It’s a little bit stealth-game-by-way-of-XCOM, including the option to have your agent overwatch for any enemies that wander into range. I also saw an option to spend an AP to predict a guard’s movement, although it was grayed out, which I thought sounded like a pretty neat option. In any case, the tutorial is pretty short, although it does a good job of showing some of what the game has to offer. Access a couple of computers, override a couple of cameras, take out a few guards, peek through and then open some doors. Like I said, it seems pretty solid.
I also loaded up the story campaign and the XCOM vibe is even stronger there, with a world map that lets you accept jobs from various corporations (there are three in the game right now) as you spend 72 hours to try to prepare for the final mission. You can also unlock an Endless Mode although I am not there yet, having just started the story. Apparently there is also permadeath in this world of procedural stealth, so you do need to be especially careful where your agents step. I’m definitely excited to see this game grow and see how it develops into next year. I’m hoping that the addition of extra content and the procedural generation will help Invisible, Inc., have some legs. In the meantime, I’m going to check out the current story mode before long to see if I can get a better feel for what Invisible, Inc., has to offer.