Sneaky Sneaky is as cute as it is devious

Sneaky Sneaky (2014) plays a little like a stealth board-game.

Everything functions on a very deliberate set of turns and movement speeds, constrained to a grid that acts as a means to make enemy fields of view immediately understandable. Most of Sneaky Sneaky’s mechanics are fairly basic, confined to hiding in bushes and stabbing enemies in the back, but developer Naiad Entertainment manages to do a surprising amount with the few systems they have to work with. The further you progress the more involved encounters become, always consisting of only single rooms but adding in different enemy types each with a specific movement and attack pattern, and more options to use parts of the environment to hide and pick enemies off unawares.

Sneaky Sneaky is more like a puzzle game in this regard than a traditional stealth game. The problem is usually less how you can sneak past enemies and more what the most efficient way to take them out would be. And it’s a surprising amount of fun for how basic most of your interactions are, with the cute graphics helping a lot to make for a much more lighthearted stealth affair than we’re used to seeing.

Undermining this are Sneaky Sneaky’s annoying controls, which use solely single clicks or taps for every action but often demand more precision than such a simple control scheme allows. More than just making it difficult for me to quickly position my character (which is rather important when every enemy has an exact movement speed that you need to exploit), my clicks would often not register or register too late and have me walking straight into the view of an enemy. I was constantly fighting with the controls and was never confident they would do what I wanted them too, with almost every death and exposure to an enemy feeling the fault of a simplistic touch oriented control scheme instead of poor planning on my part.

What’s so disappointing about this is it’s such an easy problem to fix, whether by adding in a more appropriate keyboard or controller control scheme to the PC version, or simply making the entire game turn based as happens when you’re spotted. Either would almost entirely fix Sneaky Sneaky’s biggest issue, and make it immensely easier to recommend, though whether either change is on the way I couldn’t say. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have a lot of fun with Sneaky Sneaky, but I can only imagine how much more I’d have liked it if I hadn’t been forced to play it with a one-touch handicap.

Sneaky Sneaky was developed by Naiad Entertainment. It was reviewed on PC and is also available on iOS.

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