A copy of Sneaky Sneaky was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Sneaky Sneaky, the first game released by Naiad Entertainment, is a mix of stealth and tactical gameplay, with a little turn-based combat thrown in. You play the role of Sneaky, a devilishly adorable rogue who uses the shadows to evade or ambush his enemies. As the titular character, you will engage hordes of enemies, collect various items, claim some rubies, and scrounge gold for upgrades during your journey.
The game drops you into the first level with absolutely no ceremony. There’s no tutorial and no onscreen prompts about what you should be doing. Fortunately, if you’re a gamer you should require little help here. However, if you’re a casual player it may take you a bit to figure out what’s going on. Once you’ve cleared the initial level, you’re given occasional hints and ideas about what you’re supposed to be doing at any given time, which definitely helps. Each level contains 3 red gems that you can locate, and doing so provides you with addition XP and points. When you find all three, the icon for that level displays a red gem on it, so you know you’ve completed it. When the level ends, you’re shown a score screen, which tallies up your points, and awards you XP based on your total. Once you level up, you’re allowed to select one of four attributes: extra health, extra damage, extra bow damage, or extra movement range. The addition of this leveling system adds a nice layer of customization and variety to the game.
In addition to leveling up, you also accrue gold during the game, usually from vanquished enemies. At first I wasn’t sure what the point of gold was, but then noticed on the main map that there’s a “Store” button. Inside the store you can purchase consumables and upgrades to your equipment. Again, this adds a nice extra bit of depth and customization to what would otherwise be a standard title.
The main component of Sneaky Sneaky is the combat, in whatever form it takes. You can hide behind various objects (bushes, haystacks) and when your enemy is in front of you, ambush them. As the title of the game implies, that’s the preferred method of combat, but if you’re anything like me, it will be frustratingly difficult to successfully pull it off very often. When you’re not in combat, you’re free to move around as you please. But, if you’re detected by an enemy —visible with the red grid displayed around them— the game turns into a turn-based strategy, where you have a certain amount of moves to execute before your opponent’s turn. The sudden shift can be jarring (and sometimes frustrating), mostly because an enemy’s line of sight or patrol path isn’t easily determined. It’s quite easy to waste some moves in the turn-based combat accidentally — usually with mis-clicking.
Combat can sometimes be avoided entirely by using the bow, which kills enemies at a distance. Early on you’re given an axe, and you can use that axe to cut down trees in the level to provide you with more arrows. You start out being able to hold three, but you can purchase more space for them from the upgrade store. Aiming arrows is more intuitive than I expected it to be, and it was my preferred way of taking out annoying enemies. You’re also introduced early on to “bait meat”, which you lay in the path of an enemy and use to set up a surprise attack. As an impatient player, I generally didn’t find many circumstances where the meat would be quicker than waiting for the enemy to path by you, but I definitely noticed where it could come in handy for those with patient, tactical minds.
I ultimately enjoyed Sneaky Sneaky, though the first few levels worried me. It definitely improves as it goes, and between the upgrades, stat leveling, and backtracking to complete the gem collections, there’s a ton of variety and content to be had. The art style is personally the best thing about the game. Everything is crisp and smooth, and it’s easy to just admire any given screen for a few minutes before moving on. If you’re a fan of stealth games, strategy games, or just need something to kill a little bit of time, Sneaky Sneaky is definitely worth a look.