Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole PC Review

More than just a great title

by Ben Ingber
Gaming Review

18

Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole PC Review

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What’s in a name? Would that which we call Stealth Bastard: International Espionage Arsehole by any other name still play as sweet? 
 
Quite possibly, yes, but it would be far less fun telling friends about it.
 
London-based developer Curve Studios have, in their own words, created a fusion of Metal Gear Solid and Super Meat Boy. Stealth Bastard (I’m going to take every opportunity to refer to the game by name) is a 2D single-screen, 28 level performer in which shadow-skulking (MGS) and frenetic pace (SMB) are brought together in a hugely satisfying, amusing and challenging package.
 
Gameplay takes the form of an escape-the-room puzzler in which you must avoid robots, cameras, lasers and other nasties by staying out of sight and moving quickly to evade traps. 

Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole
 
Maintaining the momentum is foremost in the developers’ minds. Alert a guard in Hitman, Splinter Cell, MGS etc, and you’ll be forced to retreat into a corner until the coast is clear. Not so in Stealth Bastard. Get spotted by an enemy here and it’s almost certainly insta-death: you’ll be back at the last checkpoint faster than you can yell “SNAAAAAKE!”.
 
Stealth Bastard is a game that knows its roots. It owes a tremendous aesthetic debt to the 16-bit era, in much the same way as Terraria and Frogatto. The art style is broadly cutesy, but can be extremely gruesome in death (put it this way: if you had to clean up, you’d get more use out of a mop than a bodybag). Guidance is provided by way of Splinter Cell: Conviction-style wall-writing, and our hero wears vaguely Sam Fisher-esque goggles throughout. Everything in this game feels like a nod to something.

Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole

 
Speedruns are a staple of indie puzzlers and Curve Studios’ implementation of an online leaderboard is sure to keep many players busy. As you’d expect, there are already some mind-bogglingly quick times registered, but I’m sure that won’t deter the OCD hardcore.
 
Community engagement doesn’t end there. Stealth Bastard boasts a comprehensive level builder, including the facility to share your creations with fellow players.
 
This review really wouldn’t be complete without directing your attention to one particular detail: Stealth Bastard is available for free. Actual free. Free like speech. Gratis. The only thing that Curve could possibly earn from is a brief advertisement for their other titles - but this is only seen as you quit the game. It’s a tremendous bargain because this is, without a doubt, a game worth paying for. If the strategy behind the price is to raise the company’s profile, I sincerely hope it works.
 
If you’ve got a PC, you should download this game. And that isn’t just because it won’t cost you anything. Curve have delivered a real gem: an energetic stealth puzzler that entertains from start to finish. And to top it all off, they’ve called it Stealth Bastard. You really can’t go wrong.
 

Verdict

8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

James Bond

  • Fast-paced stealth
  • Endless content
  • Superb visuals
  • Free!

Johnny English

  • He is not really that much of a bastard

Stealth Bastard: Tactical Espionage Arsehole PC Review

London-based Curve Studios (Fluidity/Hydroventure & Explodemon!) return with this fast-paced 2D puzzler, which pays a loving homage to some of the classics of the stealth genre. Stealth Bastard is every bit as great as the name suggests, and is a must-download for PC owners, especially at the baffling price of £free.

Scores

Graphics

.
.
8

Audio

.
.
.
.
6

Overall

.
.
8

Gameplay

.
.
8

Single Player

.
.
8

Longevity

.
.
8
8
AVForumsSCORE
OUT OF
10

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