This past weekend I downloaded a brand new game on Steam from the makers of the hit stealth platformer Mark of the Ninja. Invisible, Inc. mixes XCOM with Splinter Cell and gives it a very cool Sci-Fi feel with an angular, cel-shaded art style. From the standpoint of accessibility, Invisible, Inc. is able to offer a refreshing level of challenge for most gamers without posing many accessibility barriers.
Players with visual disabilities will be the only ones who struggle significantly with this game. That is because much of the vital information is communicated using text that may be too small and hard to read. For example, in Invisible, Inc. you control teams of super spies in a turn based strategy environment, but you also control a computer program named Incognita that lets you hack certain devices in each level, such as safes, cameras and laser fences. When using Incognita the text that communicates what each device in the level does tends to be a little too small to be comfortably read. The same can be said for the icons at the bottom of the screen that govern agents’ abilities, as well as some of the information on the post-mission screen which allows you to level-up your agents and purchase new equipment. Color-blind gamers will fair a little better though, as there is nothing in Invisible, Inc. that seems to be identified purely by color, and if it does become a barrier, Invisble Inc. sports an impressive color-blind mode with three different options.
For players with fine-motor disabilities, Invisible, Inc. Is completely barrier free. It’s turn-based structure eliminates the need for any precise timing or rapid button presses, and it’s exaggerated art style means that most of the critical buttons are large and easy to hit. Beyond this, each play-through is completely customizable. The story of the game is that Invisible, Inc. is a covert spy agency in the 21st century that is under attack by the evil world-dominating corporations. You fly around the world, using up time to accomplish missions, and when the clock hits 0, a final battle is triggered. This experience, however, is completely customizable. Players can have less or more time to complete their missions, up to an endless run. Similar to XCOM: Enemy Unknown, there are several different modifiers that players can activate, such as Iron Man which allows for no rewinds, or an option which gives the player up to 99 rewinds, in which to redo a crucial turn of a level. This type of flexibility compensates for the fact that a few of the key icons maybe a little too small for gamers with fine-motor disabilities to hit reliably, since they can simply set up a game that gives them the maximum number of retries to compensate for any mistakes they may make.
Finally players with hearing disabilities should be able to experience the story of Invisible Inc. with very little problem. Nothing is communicated solely by sound except for some mission descriptions that don’t actually communicate anything important. It is odd however, that this isn’t communicated in text, since Invisible Inc. does claim to offer closed-captions. On a more positive note, even though Invisible Inc relies on stealth and uses audio queue’s to offer information such as guards patrolling, it also uses visual cues to back this up. For example, if you cannot see a guard patrolling, but are in an adjacent room, when you end your turn, it will play a walking sound-effect, and give a visual of the guards footfalls as he walks his beat.
On the whole, Invisible Inc. is a great game. It’s brutally challenging in a way that doesn’t exclude players with hearing or fine-motor disabilities. The only disappointment is that some players with disabilities will be excluded because of too much crucial information communicated in small text.
Overall Rating: Thoroughly Accesible
Visual Rating: Partially Accessible
Fine-Motor Rating: Barrier Free
Auditory Rating: Barrier Free
Released For: PC
GameInformer Score: 8