Cannot be unseen
In many competitive games, keeping one’s self secret is tantamount to success. This is especially true in strategy games, where both human and computer players try to keep their actions and intentions hidden. But what if this concept was expanded upon and molded into the backbone of a gaming experience? That’s the premise behind Concealed Intent.
Plane and simple
The game is a turn-based strategy affair set in outer space. You’re out to destroy your opponent against the vast backdrop of the void, where hiding is the order of the day. Players need to determine their enemy’s location with assorted clues and technologies, while attempting to remain invisible themselves. It’s a deadly, interstellar version of cat-and-mouse, move and counter-move, as your attempts to locate your foes will inevitably reveal your own hiding spot.
Concealed Intent plays out on a 3D plane and immediately invokes a comparison to other games such as Homeworld. Indeed, ships can maneuver around planets, mines and other obstacles. However, much like in a game of Chess, players need to anticipate the path of their ships and those of their opponents, as every move sends all ships outwards and amounts to binary decision-making
It took me a little while to get my head around the ship movements and how exactly to maximize their output. The game comes with a tutorial and tips, but I found them a tad inadequate. Better instructions and a more approachable interface would definitely be an improvement here, particularly with a concept that’s as nuanced as this.
Ships in a bottle
With a bit of patience, however, the game really comes into its own. More interesting and difficult missions are unlocked as the campaign progresses and players will have greater choices for customization. Different technologies for combat, stealth and detection come into play and you really feel like an unstoppable force in space. It’s just a pity you never really get engrossed in the largely-forgettable story. It seems catered more towards multiplayer games, and once the game is released proper, I hope to see more activity in its online community. If you pick this up, I highly recommend getting a copy for a friend too.
On the presentation-side, Concealed Intent is looks pretty good. Menus are clean and objects are identifiable, with sound effects that feel a bit underwhelming but nonetheless serve their purpose without being obnoxious.
Concealed Intent is an interesting idea with a bit of a learning curve and a somewhat clunky presentation. It’s very rewarding once you get into it, but be expected to spend a long time with it before you get a handle on what you’re supposed to do. Despite lacking polish, it’s a very promising first effort from the developer and makes me eager to see what other games we can expect from him in the future. It’s definitely worth a play, especially for strategy fans looking for something a bit different. The game leaves Early Access on the 2nd of August and may be purchased at its official Steam page.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PC (reviewed). Published and developed by: Jarrah Technology ; Players: single-player, online multiplayer ; Released: August 2nd, 2016.
Full disclosure: This review is based on a review copy of Concealed Intent given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.