Klei Entertainment has quickly become a powerhouse in the indie industry over the past decade. Churning out carefully crafted hit after hit including N+, Shank, and Don’t Starve, the team has now set their sights on a turn-based tactics game that places heavy emphasis on stealth. Appropriately named Invisible Inc., this next venture for the team is a departure from the titles that have come before in terms of genre, but the experience has a familiar polish to it. (Can you tell I may have enjoyed one or two Klei titles? #NoBias)
Taking a team of two agents – with room for a third hired mercenary per stage – the game tasks players with infiltrating the buildings of shady businesses in hopes of making it to the top floor to square off against a boss in hopes of shutting down their operation, or otherwise gathering intel. Each “building” serves as a world of sorts, made up of several stages that must be completed in a certain order, as players ascend the tower. Tactics come into focus as gameplay progresses via turn-based commands, with each “turn” allotting players a finite number of action points with which they can move about the map, interact with an object, or engage in combat (which is not recommended, as the game focuses on stealth.) Stage progression often goes as follows: Players hack terminals to gain CPU points which can then be used to manipulate the environment in a number of ways, ranging from hacking safes in exchange for gear and key cards to disabling barriers and traps. Before entering a new room, players are encouraged to use the agent’s abilities to scout the area, looking out for security cameras and other environmental hazards in addition to guards on patrol.
Hacking is facilitated by something called “Mainframe mode”, a feature which can be toggled on the fly that shows players where enemies are and what objects are hackable on the current floor, based on what they’ve discovered on the map thus far. Anytime CPU points must be spent to hack or manipulate the environment, Mainframe mode is where the action happens. There is no time limit or cooldown for this mode, it is simply a way of showing the player which parts of the environment are interactable or noteworthy. While planning and executing a successful strategy for dodging guards, Mainframe mode will be where most of the player’s time is spent.
If players do happen to get spotted, two things will happen: 1) Guards will attempt to engage the agents in combat and 2) The business’s security level will increase, which will make progressing more difficult by adding level effects such as an increased CPU cost for hacking, or alerting additional guards to the player’s location. Combat, like everything else, is turn based. While the agents rely on tranquilizer darts and tasers, hired allies – who remain with the party for a recurring cost on each floor of the building – can sometimes get up close and personal with guards for melee attacks. Limited health and even less ammo make combat a situation that should be avoided at all costs. If it comes down to it, and the exit is in sight, players can choose to progress to a higher floor and leave behind other agents or their hired help in order to survive the mission.
Successful hacks and battle encounters net experience points and, after leveling up, agents can increase their hacking and movement abilities, allowing them to hack for less CPU points or move further per turn. While the main mission is often simply to reach the end goal as quietly as possible, the team is considering adding secondary objectives that go beyond looting every safe for better gear and equipment.
Invisible Inc. is currently in public Beta, with continuous updates being pumped out every month and a half or so. The game is targeting a release on PC first, but has not ruled out additional platforms as well. To track the game’s progress, simply follow along with Klei Entertainment on Twitter and Facebook, or head over to the official website.