When a sneaky thief makes off with the haul of a lifetime the last thing he expects is to have it snatched away shortly afterwards. In Sneaky Sneaky you must take control of this luckless thief and help him to reclaim his ill-gotten gains. This is no easy task though as between the bandit and his booty lies all manner of traps and adversaries.
Sneaky Sneaky is a very lighthearted take on the stealth genre and presents the action from a skewed overhead perspective. Your goal is to sneak through the levels killing or avoiding anything that gets in your way and hopefully grab some gold on your way to the exit. The game features charming 2D visuals with bold colors and big sprites to bring its world to life. Every level is split up into different rooms, each with its own challenge. Some rooms feature enemies that have to be killed in order to open the exit while others can be sneaked through if you are stealthy enough. Although completing a level unseen and using stealth kills to dispose of enemies rewards you with more points there isn’t any real penalty to getting spotted.
While movement is normally tile based and in real-time it switches to turn-based if Sneaky is busted by one of the baddies roaming the level. The enemy line of sight is displayed as an overlay, so you’ll know at all times whether Sneaky will be visible to them or not. This allows you to plan your moves ahead and use the environment to your advantage. Bushes or hay stacks provide Sneaky with a convenient place to hide even if it is within sight of an enemy, just make sure they don’t spot you jumping into it. Sneaky can then leap out of his hiding place to stealth kill an enemy for extra points. If an enemy hasn’t spotted you yet you can also run up behind it and perform a stealth kill or use your bow and arrow for a ranged kill. The penalty for death isn’t very harsh either as you simply start back in the same room which makes the game very friendly towards younger players.
While casual players can simply sneak or fight through the levels and reach the exits, those seeking a challenge can aim for the achievements and three red gems that are up for grabs on each level. The red gems are usually clearly visible, but nabbing them places you in more danger than usual as they are often guarded by tougher foes.
Speaking of enemies, there are slimes, skeletons, wolves, bats, knights and all manner of other baddies. I really like the fact that the enemies are not just bigger or stronger versions of each other, but all have their own tactics to which you must adjust.For example, knights equipped with a lance will rush at you in a straight line if they spot you, while some enemies have shields that protect them from frontal attacks. The skeletons roaming the desert on the other hand remain burrowing until you set foot on the sand and then come up to investigate. The the environment can be used to your advantage, so you can break vases to distract enemies, shoot exploding jars to damage them from afar or even trigger traps to kill them without getting your hands dirty.
After completing a level your score is tallied based on factors such as the amount of rubies collected, stealth kills achieved and number of times you were spotted. This then rewards you with experience points and after leveling up you get to improve a skill such as your sword power, arrow strength, health or movement range. The cash you earn during each level can also be used to frequent the shop where you can buy useful items such as health potions, barrels to hide in or even upgrades. My favorite item from the shop is the food which can be used to lure enemies to certain spots, preferable one with a trap ready to spring. Overall the RPG elements in the game are very minor, but they definitely add to the charm.
I really enjoyed the cartoonish visual style of Sneaky Sneaky, but it would have been nice if there were more of the storyline panels like in the intro, displayed between levels. Instead, after the short intro explaining why you are sneaking around nothing further is ever mentioned about the story except for a few signs in-game showing your wanted status. The levels are themed around a cave, desert, forest and town which makes for some nice variety and the abundance of enemy types also adds to the visual charm of the game. Because of the perspective and the fact that each room in the game is a static screen, Sneaky Sneaky has a very “The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past” feel to it when it comes to the visuals. Thea audio is similarly charming with tunes, which while not exactly catchy, are certainly very easy on the ears. The soundtrack is available as downloadable content for the game or can be purchased along with an extra copy of the game in the “Special Edition” package. Sneaky is controlled entirely with a mouse, which works well for the most part, but it is shame that there is no controller support for players who enjoy gaming from their couch. As it is you click on a tile to move there, click on an enemy to attack with your sword and click and pull back your mouse while holding down the button to ready an arrow before releasing to shoot.
While I liked a lot about Sneaky Sneaky there is no denying that it is a very short game. With only seventeen levels it is possible to finish the game in one two hour sitting. Completing all the achievements and finding all the rubies in each level can double that time, but it is still rather short. However, the developers dropped the price of the game directly after its release and upgraded all the early buyers to the special edition. With the more reasonable price tag we have no qualms wholeheartedly recommending Sneaky Sneaky to anyone looking for a lighthearted and entertaining strategic, stealth adventure.
- OS: Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8
- Processor: 1.4Ghz
- Memory: 512 MB RAM
- Graphics: Shader Model 2
- DirectX: Version 9.0c
- Hard Drive: 500 MB available space
- OS: MacOS X 10.6 or newer
- Memory: 512 MB RAM
- Hard Drive: 500 MB available space