Platform: PC

So, I was told earlier this week about a little game that was sort-of like Super Meat Boy meets Metal Gear Solid – to my ecstatic surprise, I warmly welcomed a preview to see if the concoction of retro-styled, ultra difficult side-scroller could be combined with cold, steely-like stealth action.

Stealth Bastard Deluxe (or as I’ve dubbed it, “Snake Dick” …don’t worry I’ll keep thinking of more subtle names for it) developed by Curve Studios is exactly as it’s described – It’s all about stealth and the difficulty is an absolute bastard.

PhotobucketFrom the preview I played, the game welcomes you in with some really nice retro styled Super Meat Boy meets Lone Survivor graphics and animation. Although charming (and for the most part it all works), the graphical pallet does seem somewhat same-ish throughout, however the obstacles and various forms of lighting used through the challenges does try to keep the challenge of the maps fresh.

You play a little clone dude who has been given the ability to jump and pull switches. Along with this you can crawl to your advantage (or disadvantage!), utilizing general your limited skills to stay in the shadows.

The backstory atmosphere felt very much like Valve’s Portal 1~2, with many clones such as yourself taking part in tests (Missions). Like Super Meat Boy, these missions are a variety of difficult challenges. You navigate darkened corridors manipulating switches, hacking computers and avoiding security bots all in an effort to open a security door to complete the level.

Unlike Super Meat Boy, these missions take a lot more tactical strategizing before you can implement your plan. You are also ranked per mission, however to achieve an almost flawless perfect rank in a mission takes an extreme amount of effort, juggling fast completion of the mission and avoiding security. To aid you throughout the mission you'll be able to unlock a variety of equipment that will help you complete the missions faster or with more efficiency.

PhotobucketSecurity is mostly trap-like in form. CCTV cameras will bring down a impossible to dodge barrage of lasers that instantly kill you, or sometimes the switches that are required to complete the level will open or close a door right on you, leaving you exposed – most of the time, its your speed and cunning to stay in the shadows which will save your skin.

The game will feature a custom map option, players will be able to create their own maps and share them online. I have to say this sounds like a childhood dream of mine to create an absolutely messed up maze of deadly challenges – Stealth Bastard looks to deliver that experience.

I will give a heads up right now that even though you can play this game with a keyboard and mouse, I highly recommend an Xbox controller or at least a PS3 controller set with Xbox controls for a more enjoyable experience.

One of the most debatable features of this game was its music – it'svery dub-stepish in nature, however without too much of the modern day abuse of that “wub wub” sound. I felt some of the tracks suited the overall atmosphere presented in the game, however some feel a bit out of place.

PhotobucketThe game will cost around £6 when it's released at the end of November (both price and release date are still to be confirmed 100%) and with the features that it's boasting, several chapters with many missions, create your own map option and of course leaderboards, Stealth Bastard Deluxe is shaping up to be quite a fun little game.

If you want to challenge yourself and get your brain thinking a mile per second, dodging deadly laser beams, hiding in the shadows and aiming for the highest score under the craziest of pressures, Stealth Bastard is looking to be a nice little gem that will satisfy and frustrate you in equal measure …and if you want to try before you buy, you can download the prototype for free.