I’m finally free from the Amadeus facility. I had been locked in a room for 3 months with nothing but a PS Vita, and forced to write about games I had no interest in. An agent from the Department of Sneakin’ was able to free me by taking the keycard off a guard and coming back to bail me out of this room. Apparently they are building a time machine & need my help. I’m not sure how useful I can be as a videogame reviewer, but Major Milestone was adamant I write about solitaire. I was more than happy to.
After submitting a 285 page writeup on the intricacies of solitaire, I stood there while the boss read it all, occasionally nodding his head. It turns out Major Milestone already knew the ins and outs of Solitaire. This was just a test, and the real game I was tasked to review was Never Stop Sneakin’ on Nintendo Switch. This game existed in an alternate reality in one of Amadeus several timelines, & before reviewing I had to sneak back into his facility to grab the game. The Department of Sneakin’ had declared it too dangerous to sneak in again, so they hooked up the Nintendo Switch digitally to give me control of another agent. The logic was sound, as the top-down view I had was a lot more than anyone could see on the ground. Their life was in my hands now.
What a peculiar game to play on a console. I moved around a bit, then pressed every button but nothing responded. After several rooms I realised… I don’t need any buttons. Everything is done automatically except for movement. I can use the left analog stick or the right, or even the touch screen in handheld mode. Seems kinda shallow, doesn’t it? The gameplay is entirely built around being sneaky, which is no surprise. However, you can still take out guards and perform other actions without the use of buttons. What is this magic, you ask? It is context-sensitive gameplay. Just stand in the right place to trigger an action. So whenever you get behind a guard looking the other way, you’ll automatically perform a stealth kill. Whenever you’re near EMP (the currency in this game), you’ll collect it. Whenever you’re near a terminal, you’ll start hacking it with a bar filling up. So in this sense, just “standing there” is a gameplay action you choose to do. Perhaps the agent on the ground was doing all this for me.
Before long I forgot that I wasn’t even pressing buttons. It wouldn’t be much different with them, really. You’d just press A to attack a guard, hold A to hack a terminal. They’re all just done when you’re standing in the right place now. The response is still satisfying, with tactile sound effects and feedback making it feel like you pressed something. Without pressing any buttons you just get to focus entirely on movement. The rooms are randomly generated so you just have to watch the guards patterns closely, and slip in between the gaps in the flashlight’s cone of vision. The difficulty gets higher as more things are added, like security cameras and turret guns. You can also pick up more items that you automatically use like guns or smoke grenades. These basically act as “get out of jail free” cards when you are spotted, as you react automatically and drop a bullet or grenade into the enemy who saw you. Poof! Nothing ever happened. I am just a harmless game reviewer wandering this facility.
They are bad at spotting you, but the guards in this facility are extremely good at parking. What an effort to slide this jeep in here, I’d like to see them get it out. Maybe in the next game.
Apart from the randomly generated floors causing a few oddities, progression is extremely repetitive as the gameplay never changes at all. Each operation will have a different amount of floors, with the occasional boss fight at the end. These fights involve dodging bullets or running around to get behind enemies or grab a gun you can use by filling up a bar. They are quite clever uses of the gameplay, but over too quickly. After this you repeat the same gameplay loop over and over, while using the points you get in each stage to build your camp and unravel the story. Every few floors you save someone will be useful for the operation like an engineer or game reviewer. The saving grace here is that the story is extremely entertaining. You also unlock costumes for both the character and your weapon, and it can result in some amusing combinations.
I’m here to rescue the President and have a great time. That’s the story I have found myself in. Amadeus, the person who captured me in the first place, captured every single US President throughout history with his time travel device. Now we’re building our own time travel device to stop him from making his? That opens up such an enormous amount of plot-holes that I have to question my own existence. If he can travel through time can’t he see this coming? Does he know everything? Could he not go back to the launch of this game in December 2017 and get a more relevant review? Why am I not reviewing this developers more popular game, Dust: An Elysian Tail? I could analyse this all day, but I had a job to do, and I was grateful for being rescued.
15 hours later and I have cleared the facility 100 times, rescued everyone possible, upgraded the camp behind any reasonable requirements, and started a New Game+. How can such a repetitive game get me hooked for so long? I really don’t know. It’s just satisfying to play on a very primitive level. With the controls and structure being so simple, the small things like framerate, control precision, image quality and sound effects are all as good as they could be. The game is a big bag of candy where every one is the same but you can’t stop eating until the bag is full. Then you get a new bag and watch your tummy get even bigger. Then you can’t play until tomorrow.
In conclusion Never Stop Sneakin’ is a good game that provides fun gameplay, a hilarious story and endless progression. It feels like a mobile game with high-quality console controls and presentation, with some good extra entertainment found in 3D cutscenes. A dangerous combination. The graphical style is reminiscent of early 3D console gaming, with the aesthetic looking like a cross between Metal Gear Solid and Perfect Dark. It also has a fantastic theme song with great singing and appropriate lyrics. The big downside is that it gets repetitive if you play too long at once, like having multiple bags of candy in a day. It’s best enjoyed in short bursts of daily sneakin’, like a single coffee each morning.
I am free to go now. See you in 2019.