Mobile… Gear??? – Sneak Ops Review

Sep 21, 2018
Other

Is Sneak Ops really one of 2018’s best stealth games? Yes. Yes it is.

Sneak Ops is the hybrid of Crossyroad, Gunslugs, and Metal Gear Solid you never knew you needed. Whether you want a more challenging gauntlet of levels to navigate than crazy street traffic, love real-time puzzles, or just wanna scratch that secret agent itch, Sneak Ops is your game. While there’s no gripping story about cyber ninjas, nestled beneath the all too-familiar facade is the beating heart of a true stealth experience.

Sneak Ops packs significant variety into each encounter

The first of many smart decisions made with Sneak Ops is its controls, which are actually built like a real-time strategy game rather than a twin-stick experience. You tell your little agents where to go and they’ll hop to it – the timing and planning is up to you. There’s context-sensitive prompts for knocking out guards and interacting with the environment, but overall, your focus is on reading out your latest challenge to gauge the best approach. Sometimes it’s better to come at a room from a different angle, or to just ghost through and leave a few collectibles on the floor.

Despite there being little more than guards, security cameras, and laser beams – Sneak Ops packs significant variety into each encounter. From simple building blocks come some genuinely engaging puzzles to solve, with extra risk-reward of the precious currency you collect doubling as your resource for saving progress at checkpoints. As a forgiving gesture, you keep everything you collect no matter if you’re caught or not, but if you don’t save, you might get sent right back to the beginning of the level. It’s voluntary, and you’ll almost always have enough for each checkpoint, but still a nice little bonus.

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The sound design bolsters this, featuring a solid chiptune score not unlike Jim Guthrie's work on Swords & Sworcery Bros. EP

Not to be outdone, Sneak Ops is also aesthetically drenched in that Metal Gear aesthetic, combining the somber metal halls of MGS1’s Shadow Moses military base with the pixelated nature of Gunslugs. Which, for those who aren’t into Metal Gear, translates to a charming but not overly kitschy art style that feels just action-movie worthy enough to make you feel like you’re a secret agent behind enemy lines. The sound design bolsters this, featuring a solid chiptune score not unlike Jim Guthrie’s work on Swords & Sworcery Bros. EP.

Sneak Ops is the hybrid of Crossyroad, Gunslugs, and Metal Gear Solid you never knew you needed

Really, the only thing that is missing here is a great story. All the pieces are in place, but instead Sneak Ops defers to Gunslugs again with a blank canvas of a world just begging for something bigger. It’s so easy to picture a tongue-in-cheek homage to James Bond or Metal Gear here, I hope it’s something the developers explore in the future. Either way though, with so much great gameplay and the low-low price of free, who can complain?

Our Rating

ProsCons
It's Metal Gear in the palm of your hand.Could stand to have a more expanded story mode.
Rating
9.5/10
Sneak Ops
Sneak Ops
Developer:
Price: Free+
Sneak Ops
Sneak Ops
Price: Free+
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Elijah Beahm

Elijah is a man who can't stop talking about games, geeky things, and to the chagrin of his colleagues, horrible puns. He's been working as a game journalist for several years now, and in addition to Appolicious, His other work can be found at GameCritics.com, I Need Diverse Games, and The Unabridged Gamer on YouTube. When not reviewing games, you'll probably find him ranting on Twitter, writing, or replaying Dead Space 2 for the zillionth time.

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