Multiplayer-only games are a tricky – but worthwhile – gamble for game developers. You only need to look at the mega success of something like Fortnite or the equally popular Overwatch series to see why they want to try and emulate that success.
But for every attempt, some games just die out from lack of players. Games like Rocket Arena and Hyper Scape tried hard but ultimately didn’t have the luck of the draw that the others did. But DECEIVE INC. is hoping to be the new challenger in town, working a unique breed of stealth, cunning, and spying. Can it be the new James Bond or the next Austin Powers?
I will admit, I might have been a bit sniffy about DECEIVE INC. as I loaded it up. I’m not a huge multiplayer fan and prefer to game online with friends rather than strangers. But I’ll admit, DECEIVE INC. had me intrigued just a few minutes in – there was something here that made me laugh, as well as being pleasingly made and unique in its gameplay.
When you start DECEIVE INC. and get into the menus you should definitely spend a bit of time taking in the tutorial to start with, as I don’t know how you would know what’s going on otherwise. You are a spy and you – and a whole load of other online spies – are sent on a mission together. Across different maps, with different themes and various locations, the premise is always the same – you are there to steal a special, heavily guarded, package before escaping with it into the sunset. Easy, yes?
Well no, because there is a lot of stuff to get done before you get your hands on the package. One of the biggest assets each spy has is the ability to disguise themselves as anyone in the area. So you start as just a normal Joe walking about their business, but certain areas pop up that you need to get into, with these requiring different disguises. You might need to become a staff member, or a guard for a more secure area, or a lab tech for the final area. If you are found in the wrong area the alarms will go and certain people will try to kill you. Oh, and if you draw a weapon or start running too much you might get found out as well. Keeping hidden is the name of the game.
Each level requires you to collect points from little portable laptops found around the level. You then get to use these points to open locked doors or safes to find power-ups. Each level requires three security areas to be activated, which opens up the labs for you to steal the special package and then make a break for it. But here’s the thing, the other online spies are all out doing the same thing as you. It’s a dog-eat-dog spy world and that’s where the true fun happens.
Having these other spies hidden in plain sight around the level is amazing. If you are spotted then all hell breaks loose in a gunfight until death. If you get killed, that’s game over. But if you kill the opponent then you can collect all their items and carry on with the mission. It’s a brilliant piece of tension as you watch every NPC, looking at them to see if they do anything weird or out of the ordinary. Do you make a move to expose them? Or just fade into the background and avoid trouble? These are the questions that make DECEIVE INC. oh-so entertaining and replayable. Of course, nearer the end, as someone grabs the package, it’s a free-for-all mess as everyone is trying to get it and escape.
As you progress you level up and unlock more cosmetics and costumes for your character, as well as additional tools to use in the game like shields or the ability to make the disguise meter go faster. There’s a shop to buy stuff and it looks like it promises more content in the future.
Visually and DECEIVE INC. is bright, colourful, and cartoony. A bit like Overwatch in its character design and tone, the level designs are cool and each map feels different in its working of areas, rooms, and verticality. Some nice little touches have been added to the design and the menus which are easy to read and use.
Sound-wise there is a nice easy listening track to take in, before the music changes to action mode nicely when the tension builds up.
Are you ready for an addiction? DECEIVE INC. may well provide it. How long that feeling will last is debatable but there’s no doubt that this one will grab you at some point. Perhaps the real test will be with the online community though as whilst the servers keep busy, there is a great future for DECEIVE INC.