Early Impressions: Invisible, Inc.

Invisible, Inc. Logo

Invisible, Inc. is a turn-based stealth game where you are in control of a group of lethal, high tech spies capable of hacking anything. The game features randomly generated levels of all sizes, “permadeath,” turn-based strategy, and an active security system. You have 72 hours to build up your arsenal before your final mission. Can you bring your A-Team?

The A-Team via Hulu and IGN

The A-Team via Hulu and IGN

Klei Entertainment released Invisible, Inc. on PC as an early access game. Early access games are the new craze in the video game industry, which are early builds of the game where update after update comes out before the full release. Steam explains it best:

Get immediate access to games that are being developed with the community’s involvement.These are games that evolve as you play them, as you give feedback, and as the developers update and add content.

I am not a fan of early access games, but after watching one of my favorite YouTube channels, Northernlion, play the game, I decided to give Invisible, Inc. a try.

Pick Your Team

Before starting the first mission, you must choose your two-person team. Each character has the same set of skills, but some skills are more useful than others. The key differences between the characters are the items they carry, and their abilities. Choosing characters that work well together is the best way to complete your missions. The first two characters that are readily available are Deckard and Internationale.

Deckard and Internationale via Indie Game Insider

Deckard looks like your typical “cloak and dagger” detective (movie reference, not comic). He has a long face and wears a brown fedora and a dashing trench coat that makes it look as if he hovers off the ground when it moves around. He carries a taser and an invisible cloak. The taser is great for knocking out enemies for a limited number of turns, but it has to cool down after it is used. The invisible cloak is great to use when you are about to be caught, but you can only use it before an enemy sees you. Deckard has a stealth ability which gives him more movement points. Moving around in the level is important, but there are some more useful abilities from other agents, like Internationale’s “wireless interface” ability.

Internationale reminds me of a character from an old noir film, but with huge headphones over her ears. She is the hacking phenom in the game thus far. Like Deckard, she has a taser, but nothing else; her ability makes up for not having a second item. Internationale’s “wireless interface” ability allows her to interact with electronics from a distance, even through walls. This ability compliments Deckard’s enhanced movement, which makes the two of them a great starting team.

Based on my limited time playing Invisible, Inc., I found that there are two other unlockable characters to choose from. The first character unlocked is Shalem 11. This tall-looking, suit-wearing, hair-slicked-back professional is equipped with a rifle and larger inventory. He is also equipped with a taser, like most of the characters.

Shalem 11’s Complete Arsenal via Klei Forum

Banks is the other unlockable character in Invisible, Inc. She looks very similar to Deckard, sans-fedora. Not many people who play the Early Access unlock her since she is the last character to unlock and the game can be cruel at times (the difficulty was turned down in the second update though). Banks can bypass any red security doors and holds a unique tranquilizer that knocks out guards for longer periods of time.

Note: I highly recommend anyone trying this game out for the first time to dabble in the tutorial first before actually playing the story mode.

Stealth is Your Friend

Stay Out of Sight via Inc Gamers

When you first start a mission, you are always in a room with your other agent. It is good to plan where you want to go first before opening any doors. I usually split my characters up so I can cover all the rooms before the security level gets too high. The security level rises with each turn, killed guard, virus, camera, etc. There are tons of things that can go wrong to make this game increase in difficulty.

Before walking through any door, peek first. The peek option is very reliable and will save you a ton of hassle later on. By peeking, you can set up easy ways to knock out guards with your taser, find out if they are patrolling or stationed, and even spot hard to find cameras.

It is worth noting that you do have a limited number of AP (Action Points). Once you move a certain number of spaces, use a weapon or even peek through a door, you lose an action point for every little thing; you use no AP for hacking.

What a Hack

Hacking is one key to victory. You must use PWR (power) to hack any devices. To gain more PWR, there are terminals around the mission you can hack which can be done by closely standing next to one or using Internationale’s skill which can hack terminals from a distance (you do not need to use PWR to hack terminals); some skills may also help you gain PWR as well. When you obtain enough PWR, you can hack nearly everything in the mission.

The Red Can Be Hacked via Steam

Before you can hack anything, you must find or see those devices first. Cameras are the first things I like to hack because if you are seen by one, the security level rises and guards know where to find you. You can also find camera terminals to hack, which show you the location of all the cameras in the entire level. After you hack a camera, you can also see the entire room the camera is overlooking.

The third thing I like to hack is the safe. Each mission usually has one or two safes. Some big, some small, but all will give you something of value. Most of the time, you will obtain credits to help purchase more items, ammunition, and upgrades.

When I say there are a ton of things to hack, I mean it. Cameras and safes are the two most common, but you will also find turrets, motion sensors, robots and even security lasers. The possibilities are seemingly endless, but remember your PWR. Once it is all gone, it is not easy to find.

Drone Hack and Kill by Kotaku

Your Mission

The large mission map gives you tons of places to visit. Invisible, Inc. gives you an idea of each mission, but most are random. The main things you need to focus on are the time it takes you to get to that mission, and how well guarded it is.

Mission Map via Steam

Time plays a big factor with missions. The typical mission lasts 5 hours, so if it takes 9 hours to travel to a mission, you may only have time to do 3 missions in one day. Remember, you have 72 hours until your final mission. Each mission that leads up to your last mission prepares your characters with greater resources and upgrades. I like to pick the missions with the lowest travel times, and I try to ignore the guarded situations.

However, when you first start out, I advise that you choose the least guarded missions each time to get a better hang of the game. As you progress, it becomes unavoidable to choose from the most guarded missions. Developing your skills, purchasing useful items and maintaining you sanity will help you succeed in late game.

Jackpot via Indie DB

Conclusions

Even though this game is in early access, it has a lot of potential. If you are a fan of turned-based strategy games like X-COM, you will love this game. It is not as easy as X-COM, but it is easy to master once you get the hang of it.

I will leave you with a video from Northernlion, who inspired me to pick up this wonderful stealth game. Also, it is worth noting that I beat the first build of the game where there was no difficulty choice. I had to play it as is, and it was harder than most games should be. I am currently playing it on easy, and it is still difficult at times. Gamers can expect a challenge from this gem.

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