Klei has given us an eclectic mix of games over the past years with the tepidly received side-scrolling beat-em-up Shank to the enormously popular success of the Tim Burton-esque survival-sim Don’t Starve.
The studio is back again this year to show off their latest, the espionage Strategy RPG, Incognita which I got a chance to play this year. Think of it as XCOM but with the emphasis of having to avoid combat instead, though that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Imagine the gridlike strategic combat of Advanced Wars and other SRPGs, but your units are various tactical espionage agents trained in hacking and sneaking, but not necessarily fighting. Seriously, fighting in this game was hard and I would not recommend engaging the enemy unless absolutely desperate (or cornered, like me). With a map with a sort of fog-of-war in place and a myriad of options to manipulate the battlefield, this is a game that actively encourages creative, pacifist runs of campaigns.
I sort of disliked how pigeonholed I was in the non-combat area, but the fact that it works as well as it did and did such a good job of teaching me (the hard way) the benefits of careful planning and cunning espionage, I can’t help but applaud the game. Additionally, Incognita is really complex with a variety of character classes and specialties, hacking mechanics, sidequests, and maps that show specific aspects of the level. There is a lot going on and those of you who like tinkering with interesting mechanics will have a field-day with this. Let’s just say that those that want to master a mechanic will find a lot to work with here.
Klei has shown us interesting takes on a variety of game genres and Incognita looks to uphold the tradition of genre turning.