riostarwind's Never Stop Sneakin' (Nintendo Switch) review

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A great first impression starts to become bogged down by to much repetitiveness.

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Playing this game reminded me of another game that I played this year Neon Chrome. A game I wrote a review for yet never posted until now. The reason I’m bringing that up now is that they are both randomized multiple run based games. Yet they both have similar issues that keep them from becoming something you could play once a day for a year. The balance to make something like Spelunky is tough but I’ve gone on a minor tangent here so let's talk about Never Stop Sneaking.

Major isn't really the most competent leader.
Major isn't really the most competent leader.

If the title didn’t give it away already this is a game about stealth. Along with a heavy dose of parody of the Metal Gear Solid series. Which is pretty obvious from the PS1 like graphic style and how the intro plays out. Which shows off Major Milestone as he sky dives his way to a aircraft carrier without a parachute. After skillfully catching his coffee cup we get introduced to Guildenstern who has kidnapped all the presidents (including the bad ones) with the help of a time machine. Obviously the only way to counteract this is to build another time machine to go back before all this happened to arrest him. This leads to the agent sneaking into Guildenstern evil base a lot to get back supplies to build up a crazy HQ.

The silly story cut-scenes is one of the strong points that starts to become scarce the more you play. Whatever dumb twist that happened next was always funny and is only let down by a ho hum ending. After all a dumb giant robot fight near the end of the game would have made sense but it never happens sadly. What it does have is a simple yet effective gameplay loop. The entire game is played only using the analog stick. Defeating enemies consists of either sneaking up to melee them from behind or using one of the expendable items to take them down head on automatically. Giving the game a fast pace feel that really makes me look like I know how to play a stealth game well.

Every level has a similar layout.
Every level has a similar layout.

Other than getting bullets from downed enemies lockers and random pcs can be accessed to obtain useful items. Including perks that show up in locked off rooms that can be accessed after taking down the guard with the key card. Every perk is helpful but some pretty much break the game. If you get lucky and get two perks that give you a instant death aura around your agent you can literally clear out a floor in record time. Really this example shows off something pretty obvious. This game is really easy. The only real difficulty increase is a slight speed up of everything. It never feels like much of a challenge especially since perks make a already easy game into a cakewalk.

ESP is used to upgrade your HQ. I haven't really brought it up since it's just progression.
ESP is used to upgrade your HQ. I haven't really brought it up since it's just progression.

Adding on to this the randomness of the levels also doesn’t help. It starts by introducing different looks for each new area the player reaches after beating a boss. By the way the bosses are random too but you’ll only ever face 5 bosses in a different order each time. All the different areas start to blend together and it kind just feels like different parts stuck together after 12 hours of repeating the same levels over and over again. The ratio of new stuff to see vs old stuff is not good and it certainly doesn’t need to be this long. Yet I’m giving the game quite a bit of flak even though I did enjoy it.

The core of what Humble Hearts was going for is here. Fast paced stealth feels really good and if it got to a point where it tested my skills it could have been ever better. Seeing the nonsensical story to the conclusion was certainly why I kept playing this. So in the end I enjoyed my time with this little parody. If it didn’t overstay its welcome I might have enjoyed it more. Check it out if your in the mood for something silly with some fast paced stealth action it might be right up your alley.

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