“Sneaky Sneaky” is awesome. Borrowing gameplay elements from stealth, roguelike, turn-based RPG, puzzle and even Zelda games, Sneaky Sneaky manages to take all these influences and turn them into a glorious mashup of casual and hardcore gameplay with all the cuteness of a fluffy basket of (stabby, rogueish) kittens. There’s a lot more to it than that though, and the depth replayability of this game ended up winning me over even more than the googly-eyed sprites.
And I really like the googly-eyed sprites.
Gameplay-wise, the title blends elements of roguelike and turn-based RPG elements with a smidgen of Zelda’s puzzle-based dungeon exploration and item collection. Missions start on a grid-based, multi-room dungeon map with a simple objective: get all the jewels and get out alive. While undetected, you may move freely about in a manner similar to Nethack or other roguelikes, collecting items or crawling into haystacks to hide from nearby foes. Once you enter combat however, the game switches to a turn-based battle system where both you and your target get three turns each to attack, move, or use items and potions. And while certain enemies are fairly easy to dispatch if you’re caught, others (such as wolves) will quickly end you unless you make the first attack.
Sounds simple, right? Well at first it is, but as the levels go on, things slowly start to get harder and harder, requiring well-planned sneak attacks and daring escape plans to make it out in one piece. And even if you do escape, 100% completion is only achieved by stealing all of the level’s jewels. This simple addition gives the game a surprising amount of depth and tons of replay value, further enhanced with the in-game item shop, where gold collected via dungeons can be exchanged for potions, bait, tools and other items. It all adds up to a phenomenal strategy-dungeon crawling experience that’s wholly unique among the piles of indie Steam RPGS.
The game’s aesthetics are also delightfully charming, with each monster given grotesquely humorous features and cartoony animations and sounds that remind me of a super adorable version of Link to the Past, albeit without an overworld.
Unfortunately I can’t say the same about Sneaky Sneaky’s background music, which verges on the repetitive and isn’t particularly memorable or engaging. And while this may not seem like that big of a deal at first, you’ll soon find yourself muting the game and pulling up your favorite RPG’s BGM soundtrack after the hour and a half mark. It’s a real shame too, as the game is utterly marvelous save for this one glaring flaw, and it’s still highly recommended. Just don’t plan on shelling out any dough for a soundtrack CD.
Music aside though, Sneaky Sneaky is a charming and fun stealth-strategy experience that literally anyone can enjoy. Casual players will appreciate the items, potions and generous learning curve, while hardcore gamers have lots of secondary goals to attain, such as 100% stealth or no-item runs and a high score system that’s wonderfully old-school.
“Sneaky Sneaky” is available now on Steam, and I heartily recommend it!
This game was provided for the writer and reviewed on the PC.
A solid and unique game