By: Ted Chow
The gig is up, and the mega corporations are on your tail to stamp out your resistance to their despotic control of the daily social agendas. Invisible Inc. is a tactical, turn-based stealth game that gives a sense of urgency as time and the ever-increasing tension and difficulty ramps up against you.
With only a handful of agents, where one mistake can lead to a KIA, the odds are clearly stacked against you. However, the allure of managing great escapes and living through an episode of Mission Impossible does offer a level of exhilaration and accomplishment. If you wanted a great turn-based game with a story that brings you into the thick of the action and never let’s up, Invisible Inc. is one cyberpunk game that you should highly consider.
As far as turn-based games goes, you will find comfort that everything feels just right. From moving your agents on the procedural mission board to accessing special abilities and actions, everything is introduced and packaged nicely.
A freeform camera is present to give you a lay of the lands, while your female AI Incognita will highlight interactable objects that can offer the player some needed knowledge of what you’re up against. Overall, everything felt clean and polished.
Upon first loading up the campaign mode, it felt like I was watching the last 15 minutes of an action film where I had no idea what was going on, but the plot was intriguing enough that I couldn’t let my eyes wonder. The aesthetics of the game provides a clean cel-shaded cartoonish appearance that makes it look like something out of an animated T.V show.
I would say that it was extraordinarily refreshing and something I would love to break apart and see how everything came to fruition. The mission tiles, characters and UI all melded well with the cyberpunk theme, and kudos to the lighting! The soundtrack also felt riveting and never missed a beat when the action was hot.
Invisible Inc. is a tactical, turn-based game that relies on a small squad of agents to do various missions types, from extracting MIA agents to hacking into corporate databases in order to unlock more information and missions. Each mission is accepted through the world map, which is reminiscent of XCOM: Enemy Within, with missions popping up across the world and letting the player hover over to analyze the risks and rewards.
After every successful run, you’ll be sent back to the main screen where a countdown timer is shown on how much more preparation time you have until the final mission. Accepting energy missions will add valuable time back onto Incognita’s power reserve and help you acquire the money and agents necessarily for the final showdown. This overall sense of urgency requires the player to choose their battles and is tailored towards their play style as there are multiple ways to approach each scenario.
During each mission run, you can opt in with the agents of your choice. Many of the agents can be customized to your liking with additional skills and abilities, assuming you have the cash to upgrade. This can be a double-edged sword, however, as death in a mission is permanent, and since one hit essentially equals death the stakes are high if you lose valuable team members.
The tension doesn’t let up within the mission, either, as the security detail and challenges increase the longer you stay in a location. Movement and strategy is crucial as there is a finite number of action points per character you can spend within a turn and objectives can be far from your extraction zone. Secondary objectives offer new abilities and cash, but it is up to the player if the risks are greater than the rewards.
As a turn-based espionage game, you are left to decide how to approach each mission. You can go complete stealth and not leave a trace, or you can take down all enemies for the extra cash and goodies they hold. You can be the ultimate hacker and bypass all security cameras and traps, or you can go gung ho and increase the challenge of immediate threat.
Everything you do is a risk-reward scenario, and that level of decision making helps Invisible Inc. hold much more replay value. It is also worth noting that the campaign itself is relatively short, but it is in the right spot of player’s time investment and attachment to their agents.
Invisible Inc. also has an interesting mechanic in the rewind feature, which essentially allows you to redo your turn if say your agent dies from being caught. However, this does take away from the immersion and tension of every action point mattering in the greater scene of things.
If you are an XCOM fan, such as myself, you may opt to ramp up the difficulty where there aren’t as many rewind points to spend. Aside from the rewind feature, everything from the pacing of the missions to the decisions on which agent to upgrade and command is done with a degree of polish and care.
There is a lot of depth in Invisible Inc. that I’d like to talk about, but it is something the players should look forward to rather than read about in advance. From the elegant cel-shaded graphics to the 72 hours of impending doom, there’s always that sense of unrelenting action that makes the game a blast to play.