Follow TV Tropes

Following

Video Game / Invisible, Inc.

Go To

"Operator, are you there? Good – I was afraid you didn't make it out."
Central

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/8bf08940ba0725eecf114a9985c52380.png
Advertisement:

Invisible, Inc. is a cyberpunk-themed procedural turn-based stealth game from Klei Entertainment. Set in the year 2074, the player assumes the position of the Operator, a member of the titular company. A mercenary espionage group, your role as Operator is to direct your team of spies to break into Corporate installations to steal money, intelligence, weapons, and recover any agents that have gone MIA. But sneaking into highly guarded facilities won't be easy, especially with the Corporations tracking your movements. With an increasing alarm the longer you stay in a mission, your agents will struggle to survive against increasingly difficult odds. With 72 hours until the Final Mission, every decision counts.

Invisible, Inc., formerly called Incognita, entered Steam Early Access on August 20th, 2014, and was officially released on May 12th, 2015. This is Klei's second game, after Don't Starve, to go through Early Access.

Advertisement:

An expansion, Contingency Plan, was released on November 12, 2015. Four new agents were added, and the campaign was extended from 4 days to 7 days, with a new special mission at the midway point.

The official website may be viewed here. A (rather outdated) wiki can be found here. At the moment, the most active fan community for the game is located on a Discord server, here, while this blog collects all the fanart of the game posted in various places.


Advertisement:

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Technically all of the female agents, since all members of Invisible know how to take down guards and operate any firearm you come into possession of, though most of them still prioritize hacking or stealth or some other strategy. The straightest examples are Nika, an expert in combat who can take down multiple enemies per turn, and Rush, who can improve her armor piercing and knock out times by sprinting at guards.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The whole story is actually a plot hatched by Incognita to Take Over the World. The first decision she takes when she succeeds is obliterating the HQ of three major corporations and using the fourth to build an army of drones.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: The intro involves the Corps attacking Invisible, Inc's headquarters during a routine mission, leaving the organization in shambles with most of its agents dead or captured, and its assets frozen. The rest of the game is spent clawing your way back from the brink of destruction with what agents you managed to recover, scrambling to get whatever assets you can from hitting corporate targets until the final mission 72 hours after.
  • Almost Lethal Weapons: Guns kill guards, but an agent will only be unconscious after being shot, even if they went down under a hail of machine-gun fire, and will be good as new after a single dose of medgel. Early pre-release versions of the game did have a mechanic where an unconscious agent would deteriorate each turn and die if another agent didn't get to them with medgel in time, but this was found to be too frustrating.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The credits sequence displayed when the player chooses "Credits" from the main menu is done in this style, with animated silhouettes of the agents going about their work.
  • Artificial Intelligence: Incognita, the hacking program Central refers to as a 'she'. The game involves seeking enough resources to upload her into a stable computer system before she expires.
  • Artificial Stupidity: During early access, guards could be immobilized by repeatedly shutting a door in their face. To prevent this, Klei tweaked the guards so they will destroy doors if this trick is tried.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Plastech's signature style. Their facilities are designed like luxurious hospitals, everything extremely clean and bright, filled with bookshelves, greenery, and lounge chairs next to scary looking augmentation machines. Their guards all wear pure white coats, high collars, and doctor masks. Their music is even meditative and ambient, evoking the feeling of a monastery.
  • Back from the Brink: At the start of the game, Invisible, Inc.'s headquarters is gone, every agent is dead or missing save for two, very few resources remain, and there's only days of reserve power to keep Incognita alive. It's up to you to save them from their situation.
  • Badass Baritone: Some corporate guards (including most Elite Enforcers) have deep, husky voices.
  • Bandit Mook: Items left on the ground can be discovered and picked up by guards. They will have to be knocked out or pick-pocketed by an agent to get it back.
  • Bank Robbery: Credit Vault missions. Has the highest credit payout, but the best loot requires an access card from a CFO mission.
  • Batman Gambit: Incognita intentionally had Invisible Inc's headquarters attacked, with the expectation that the survivors would seek out the OMNI mainframe and upload her to clear their names.
  • Behind a Stick: All cover objects are treated equally in terms of concealment. Things like bookshelves, lockers, refrigerators and sofas make good cover, but agents can also use floor lamps, coffee tables, folding chairs, and even transparent plastic walls just as effectively.
  • BFG:
    • The Flurry Gun, a nuclear powered submachine gun. Can only be fired for one turn per mission and has the highest armor piercing in the game, allowing it to kill anyone except guards with full-strength energy shields and OMNI Soldier guards. It's also practical, reloading itself for free at the end of each mission.
    • The Contingency Plan DLC adds two even bigger BFG: The non-lethal Mono Molecular Railgun and the lethal K&O Lance Rifle. They're so heavy it reduces the agent's AP, but both have a staggering armor penetration of 4. The Monolecular Railgun also has the highest KO timer for any non-lethal weapon, knocking out a target for a staggering 5 turns.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Incognita is saved, but instead of removing the bounty on Invisible by wiping records, she destroys three of the four corporate headquarters with orbital lasers, and uses the last one to start manufacturing an army of drones. Central and Monst3r are allowed to leave unharmed, but the outlook for the world is bleak.
  • Black Market: Monst3r, who sells you rare items and fences your stolen goods between missions, and Shopcat, who buys and sells Incognita hacking programs.
  • Blood Knight: Nika. Sometimes she activates her Adrenal Regulator just for fun.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: Contingency Plan includes one in the form of the "Bolt" program. Instantly KOs any tagged enemy, for the cost of 8 power.
  • Booby Trap:
    • The Shock Trap items. Placed on a door, the next person to open it is knocked out. Best used to cover an escape, and against elite security as it completely ignores armor.
    • Security Daemons. All mainframe devices have a chance of housing a Daemon. Hacking them activates the Daemon, causing a host of nasty effects, from draining credits, advancing the alarm, or spawning more daemons, to automatically alerting guards and re-capturing mainframe devices on the hardest missions.
    • Doctor Xu was fond of putting these on his door during office hours. The university was less amused.
    • In early access, safes could contain a multiple choice event, offering loot if a skill check was passed but springing a trap if failed. Crusher traps would stun agents, and gas traps would fill the room with smoke and summon a guard. This can be made available again with a mod called Interactive Events.
  • Boring, but Practical: The starting Incognita programs, Lockpick 1.0 and Power Drip. While they may not be as powerful as the other programs, they are consistent and their effects are instantaneous.
  • Brain Uploading: In the extended storyline from the DLC, Monst3r mentions that one of his clients is working on brain uploading technology for a corporate CEO who doesn't want to die, and suggests that the technology could be adapted to help Incognita.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: To get the Meta-Hacking Achievement, you need to modify the game files itself.
  • Can Not Tell A Lie: In a conversation in the DLC, Monst3r asks if it's possible Incognita is holding back information, and Central says that Incognita is designed to be unable to lie either directly or by omission.
  • Can't Catch Up: Detention Centers are a mixed bag because of this. Rescued agents keep their unique augments, but not their unique gear (if they have any), nor do they get stat bonuses like your starting agents may have received by then. Since all of your agents draw their upgrades from the same resource pool, and more agents mean more footfalls which means more chances of alerting the guards, it might be wise to stick with one or two highly-trained agents instead of adding more.
  • The Caper
  • Chummy Commies: Internationale is noted as having a particularly strong conscience — enough to annoy her superiors. "Just don't ask her about the plight of the global proletariat."
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Implied but not shown. The term "corporate deprogamming" at a "detention facility" is used instead. However, Central's backstory includes being captured and held at one such chamber, resulting in injuries that impaired her future field work as an agent, you can encounter and rescue "thoroughly interrogated" prisoners at such facilities with a movement penalty, and to top it off, if you look closely near the holding cells, you can find enclosed glass chambers with what looks like various pointy instruments hanging down in them. Add in a technologically advanced setting where you can heal someone from otherwise deadly injuries with an injection of cells and regenerative nanobots (and thus keep someone alive despite inflicting horrible damage on them), or literally hack into someone's brain for a password, and it becomes clear why Central considers these things a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Cold Sniper: Shalem 11.
  • Computer Voice: Incognita has the standard reassuring female computer voice, while the OMNI Mainframe in the final mission has the standard threatening male computer voice.
  • Conspicuously Selective Perception: Guards only notice changes that happen in front of their eyes; they will investigate if they see a door closing or another guard being knocked out, but pay no attention if a door that was open last time they passed it is now closed, or another guard doesn't show up at the place where their patrol routes always cross. They will also pay no attention to a Holographic Terminal displaying a big holographic message that it's being hacked, as long as the person doing the hacking isn't in their line of sight.
  • Critical Failure: Unusually, it's the enemy corporations suffering the fail instead of the player. Mainframe daemons, normally bad, have a small chance to be "Reversed" when activated and give the Operator a major benefit instead. Central mockingly thanks Corporate Engineering when it happens.
    • If you've downloaded the Contingency Plan DLC, Monst3r's Overclocked Neural Dart now has a chance of this. If you're at the advanced security level that nerfs KO time and are unlucky enough to get the Jolt daemon (heals all guards 1 KO point) after attacking with it, the 2 turn KO time will be completely negated and the guard will get right back up.
  • Critical Status Buff: Central's unique augment effectively gives this, granting +5 power whenever a Daemon is installed. Funnily enough, Reversed Daemons trigger the effect as well.
  • Cut Apart: The opening cinematic cuts between Decker and Internationale sneaking through a corporate base and remarking how odd it is that they haven't seen any guards yet, and a squad of armored guards taking positions outside a door that looks like the one Decker and Internationale are about to walk through. Then the guards break the door down — and it's not Decker and Internationale on the other side, but the ops room in Invisible, Inc. headquarters.
  • Cybernetics Eat Your Soul: Played with. Most of your agents are augmented at least to some extent, and stacking more augmentations onto them carries no in-game drawbacks. However, Banks' brain damage was caused by a botched augmentation job, and Sharp has almost his entire body replaced with augmentations and is called a sociopath by Central, though for all we know he might have been like that before augmentation.
  • Cyberpunk: With the mentally-damaging augmentations, ruthless Mega Corps, and flawed, Film Noir style heroes, it's a clear example.
  • Cyborg:
    • All of the player-characters, due to augmentations. Agent Sharp in particular.
    • The Plastech Corporation also has several of them as guards. Particularly annoying as they re-capture electronics they move near, usually cameras.
  • The Day the Music Lied: In the final cinematic, the soundtrack provides uplifting music as Incognita boots up inside her new, more powerful hardware... which gradually shifts to something more sinister as Gladstone realizes something has gone wrong.
  • Dead Man Switch:
    • Most guards are equipped with electronic heart monitors. If you kill one, the security level in the compound increases. They can be deactivated if hit with an EMP.
    • In Expert Plus difficulty, even knocking out a guard will cause the heart monitor to activate, and death alarms are twice as powerful.
    • Of special note is OMNI Harbingers, which have upgraded heart monitors that increase the alarm by two if KOed and a whopping five if killed. It also cannot be deactivated.
  • Deflector Shields: Unique to special FTM and OMNI guards, they grant the highest armor in the game but can be hacked and deactivated.
  • Deus Est Machina: Incognita, after taking over the OMNI Mainframe.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Knocking out a Plastech cyborg activates their "Cyber Consciousness" ability, placing a daemon on a random mainframe device. Destroying that daemon with the Hunter program will also kill the cyborg.
    • Central has unique dialogue for the unlikely event that you use one of your precious missions breaking into a server terminal or nanofabricator, access it successfully, and then extract without buying anything.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Using Faust/Brimstone with Agent Central's unique augment. To start with, Faust grants +2 power per turn but with a 20% chance of activating a Daemon each time. Brimstone slightly mitigates this by giving you a 20% chance for that Daemon to have a positive effect instead of a negative one. And lastly, Central's augment gives +5 power whenever a Daemon is installed, reversed or not. If you're lucky, you'll have more than enough power to hack everything in the level, but be ready to deal with extra guards, an accelerated alarm level, booby-trapped safes, and possibly worse.
  • Diving Save: In the opening cinematic, Nika does a diving tackle on Central to get her out of the line of fire and into cover when Central freezes up in shock at how suddenly things have gone wrong.
  • Double Unlock:
    • To get the most loot on a Vault mission, you have to successfully complete another mission first to obtain a Vault access card.
    • If you want to spend your hard-earned credits on anything other than agent buffs and the limited items Monst3r can sell, you'll have to find a shop inside a level. And then hack it.
  • Dungeon Bypass:
    • The teleporter used to depart at the end of a mission is not in any way dependent on whether you've achieved the mission objective: once you've located it, you can leave any time you like. The only thing stopping you is your own awareness that blowing off a mission would mean wasting valuable time to no purpose.
    • Averted in Endless mode. Starting on Day five, all exit teleporters are behind vault doors, requiring you to find the key in one of the facility's safes before you can leave.
    • In the Contingency Plan expanded campaign, starting on day 5 agents must retrieve a power cell before they exit on the elevator. Unlike the elevator key, the power cell is in a marked container instead of a random safe.
  • Dystopia: Corporations rule the world with an iron fist, the world water levels have risen, and sovereign nations have long since been removed from the world.
  • 11th-Hour Superpower: In the final mission Incognita creates the Turing program, which reduces every firewall in the facility by 2 in a massive blast. Can overlap with Awesome, but Impractical in that indiscriminately targeting every firewall in the level might activate more Daemons at once than you can possibly handle.
  • Elite Mook:
    • As the guarded level of missions go up, you'll run into stronger guards with an array of different effects.
    • Taking too long in a mission or triggering certain things will cause Enforcers (or Elite Enforcers in high guarded missions) to spawn in. Enforcers have scanning grenades that can track your agents through cover, and are always running.
    • The OMNI Mainframe mission is filled with nothing but highly advanced guards. These guards also appear in Endless Mode in Guarded Level 6 missions and higher.
  • EMP:
    • Placed on the ground, they detonate at the end of the turn. Forces all electronics in the radius to spend turns rebooting. Camera drones and Pulse drones are outright destroyed. Safes can be opened for free, and without risk of triggering Daemons. Guards' heart monitors are disabled for one turn, allowing you to kill them without increasing the alarm.
    • Doctor Xu can use one on a single object once per turn for free, making him the best character in the game for dealing with safes... or disabling the heart monitors on the guards so that another agent like Shalem or Draco can kill them without raising the alarm.
  • The Engineer: FTM Corporation, which specialises in fixed-structure security measures. They have extra cameras, Scanning Amps which detect agent locations each alarm level until they're disabled, guards with hackable Deflector Shields, and (in the DLC) Security Routers which buff a random firewall every turn until hacked.
  • Enhanced Interrogation Techniques: Seems to be at least part of the corps' approach to interrogating prisoners, as demonstrated by a severely sleep-deprived courier you can rescue in some security dispatch missions. Central's data log adds good old-fashioned Electric Torture to the ensemble.
  • Enemy Chatter: Guards have prescripted things to say when they spot an intruder, notice movement out of the corner of their eye, discover the body of another guard, and so on. For variety, there are a few different sets, with different voices and a slightly different lines, including one gung-ho guard who sounds a bit like John Wayne. Some dialogues between guards can also be seen, albeit reserved for loading screens and promo material.
  • Escort Mission:
    • The OMNI Mainframe Mission, where you must escort both Monst3r and Central to the mainframe computer.
    • Some Security Dispatch missions. You may find a courier who's been "thoroughly" interrogated. Said courier has reduced action points and unable to run. Getting him to the exit teleporter earns you a cash bonus.
    • Detention Center missions may contain a friendly prisoner instead of a captured Invisible Inc agent. Once freed, Prisoner behaves as a player character for the rest of the mission. He will grant a big credits bounty if he escapes on the teleporter. He can even use items and augmentations he's granted.
    • In Contingency Plan, you can sometimes find a drone in a diagnostics bay. Hacking its console will activate it, and bringing it to the teleporter will give a credit bonus. Uniquely, it will behave like a normal camera drone and must be captured and commanded to get it to the teleporter. An effective tactic is to make it chase an agent instead of spending power to capture it repeatedly.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Central, the leader of Invisible, Inc., is referred to as such everywhere in the game except Monst3r's dialogue; he's an old friend of hers from way back, and uses her real name.
  • Everything Is Online: Incognita can remotely hack anything she knows the location of. Stationary devices like cameras and safes can be hacked any time after they are revealed, while mobile devices like drones and shielded guards will remain hackable until they move while an agent cannot see them.
  • Faceless Goons: The goons who attack Invisible, Inc.'s HQ in the opening cinematic are wearing helmets with opaque faceplates. (However, this seems to be an animation shortcut, as in static illustrations the same helmets have translucent faceplates. And most of the guards in the actual games aren't wearing helmets.)
  • "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner: If you're down to your last agent and they've been spotted by a guard, you can let them say a quip before being gunned down by security.
    Decker: Can I have one last swig, first?
    Xu: I should have stayed at the university.
    Monst3r: Could we not talk over this like adults?
    Rush: You must have cheated. Nobody beats me fair-and-square.
    Central: Are you watching this, Operator? This is on you.
  • Fan of the Past: Decker is a fan of the 20th century, dresses like the hero of a Film Noir, and one of his unlockable variants is armed with a 1940s revolver that he's had restored and converted to fire modern ammunition.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Corporate Deprogramming centers. Central would rather crash the stealth jet into the ocean if Incognita dies rather than suffer through one again.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief:
    • Shalem and Nika are fighters (ranged and melee respectively, although with the exception of her Archive version, Nika's augment works just as well with ranged weapons, she just doesn't start with one), Internationale and Dr. Xu are the computer "wizards" (again in two different ways, one long range and one short range); Thief is split between Decker for the stealth and Banks for the lockpicking.
    • In the full release, Sharp is a fighter/mage, dealing increased melee damage with each augmentation he gets and having hacking skills for extra power. Prism is a rogue/mage, able to pickpocket off the bat and generate extra PWR for free.
    • For the two bonus characters, Central is a rogue/mage with pick-pocketing skills and an augment that generates free power when daemons activate. Monst3r is a fighter/mage having strong hacking skills (and a purchase discount) and a powerful gun.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • The in-game dialog in the final mission foreshadows the endgame: in particular Incognita's semi-conscious rambling when she's on low power can be recognized in retrospect as containing the explanation of why she decided it was necessary to take over the world.
    • The extended storyline from the DLC adds additional foreshadowing in the between-mission conversations that occur between the new mid-game mission and the final mission: Monst3r, after studying the tech recovered in the mid-game mission, reports that it belongs to the same group who raided Invisible at the beginning of the story, and that they've got technology designed to host an AI of comparable sophistication to Incognita.
  • Fragile Speedster:
    • Everybody! A single hit will down an Invisible agent so becoming one of these is the best way to tackle missions. Combine maximum speed stat with a stimulant and the Net Downlink to grant even more action points when an object is hacked and it's possible to move more than 20 spaces in a turn.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation:
    • The opening cutscene is designed to set up the premise for first-time players, and as such shows Decker and Internationale (the only two agents who are unlocked to begin with) as the two field agents who escape with Central at the beginning. If on a later playthrough you don't select those two as your starting agents, you get the same cutscene, and the game never gives any justification that would explain why they suddenly vanished from the jet they were driving and how two other agents got on board.
    • In terms of gameplay, hijacking consoles is something any agent can do without any upgrades or special tools. As a result, even an agent freshly busted out of prison with base stats and no items can hijack a console — and when they do so, the game will show the standard animation of them producing a hijacking tool and plugging it into the console, raising the question of why they still have that tool when all their others have been confiscated.
    • The guest agents in the final mission have scripted reactions to certain events that they will still say even if they've been knocked unconscious at the time. The same goes for the guest agent in the new mid-game mission added in the DLC.
    • With few exceptions, the agents available to you have the same base starting stats, regardless of personal background and hacking vs. combat experience. On the other hand, the lore differences between them tend to come through more strongly through their augments.
    • Based on banter and Central's assessments, certain agents are considered more useful than others based on abilities, skillsets etc. However, the actual ranking of each agent's general usefulness (especially if you obtain them via rescue and they have no gear) can be very different, to the point of making an alleged ability seem like an Informed Attribute. Extreme examples include Crutch Character Dr. Xu with a universally useful free EMP ability with a myriad of tactical applications, and Shalem 11, an experienced Professional Killer whose superior field experience doesn't really translate into any special abilities.
    • In some missions, it's possible to acquire items of "valuable technology" that can be converted to cash at the end of the mission. In story terms, they're being sold once you get back on the jet, but in gameplay mechanics it happens while the end-of-mission scorecard is generated, so that the scorecard can show how much money you made. The distinction becomes visible in the double mission added as part of the DLC, where the agents are supposedly teleporting straight from the end of the first mission to the beginning of the second, but if they're carrying any valuable technology it still disappears from their inventory and becomes cash at the end of the first mission. (The same would presumably apply to other valuables and rescued hostages, but the conditions for those to appear don't occur in the double mission.)
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: There are exactly 4 male and 4 female playable agents working for Invisible, and then there's Central herself and Monst3r. The DLC also adds two male and two female agents.
  • Gradual Grinder:
    • The Parasite program. It is the most efficient hacking program in the game, destroying one firewall at the end of every turn until the object is captured. However, there is no way to speed it up, and each active parasite increases the power cost of spawning a new one. It's best paired with an expensive program that can hack quickly.
    • The Dynamo program is the generator version. It does nothing until alarm level 2, then gives two PWR per turn for free.
  • Great Escape: Missions which you break an agent or prisoner out of a Corporate Detention Center. The only way to get more agents and recover any agents lost on the field.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: In a world where megacorporations have all the power and can even override basic human rights for profit, the Agency is one of the last remaining major forces still fighting against them. However, Central has no qualms using brutally efficient methods to achieve her goals. While there are gameplay challenges to dealing with enemies by cutting a bloody swatch through them, she is not going to complain about unnecessary guard or civilian deaths so long as the main objective has been completed, and the agent summaries indicate she's equally disapproving of Internationale's moral scruples and Sharp's complete lack thereof. Still, even she draws a line at nuking all the corporate HQs from orbit, apparently.
  • The Guards Must Be Crazy: The guards are globally much more clever than in many stealth-based games and often really make a challenge. Due to the Randomly Generated Levels, though, they sometimes "guard" empty rooms with their back facing the only door or uselessly patrolling between two spots in a room constantly uselessly staring at a wall, or turrets facing the wrong way and watching over a patch of useless wall.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: In the final mission, Monst3r and Central join the team. Beating the game once on Experienced difficulty or Higher allows you to choose them when starting a new game.
  • Hack Your Enemy: You can do that with turrets and drones.
  • Hardboiled Detective: Decker has a persona based on this trope, complete with the fedora, trenchcoat, and drinking problem. The flavor text says that it's his way of protesting against the unpleasant time he lives in (and also that his colleagues think he's weird but put up with it because he's good at his job).
  • <Hero> Must Survive: In the final mission, Central and Monst3r join the party, and both must be alive and conscious to complete the final mission objective. In the extended storyline from the DLC, the big mid-game mission has a similar situation with Monst3r but not Central.
  • Hidden Depths: The special Archive versions of your agents as well as their data logs (unlockable as a special side mission in the DLC) reveal interesting backstory elements that inform the new loadouts.
    • Decker: Is obsessed with antiques from the 20th century, spending most of his savings modding some to be effective equipment.
    • Internationale: Became a legendary revolutionary in her home country of Cuba due to extensive corporate theft.
    • Shalem 11: Was taught medicine by his mother after her hand was blown off during the Resource Wars
    • Banks: A hacker who got rich off robbing banks but spent all her wealth to help her home town Dublin when was besieged by the corps
    • Dr. Xu: Used his family's wealth and connections to avoid expulsion despite cheating (i.e. taking "academic shortcuts") during his time as a grad student. He also worked with Sharp back in the day to co-develop the Thermal Generator, his archive version's unique augment.
    • Nika: A highly trained bodyguard who broke nearly every bone in her body while perfecting her skills.
    • Sharp: As a hitman, his body was originally designed to ignore fatigue and hunger, with the unfortunate side effect of making him incontinent.
    • Prism: She still has the holorig from her first speaking role as "Security Guard #3", and uses it as a disguise for infiltration.
    • Olivia: She became the leader of Invisible's precursor, the Pan-Euro Infosec Agency, when the previous Director defected to the corporations. Her first act as head of PEIA was to hunt the traitor down and execute him.
    • Derek: The reason Monst3r and Central are so close is because he's the one who helped her escape from the horrors of the Deprogramming Chamber.
  • Hoist by Their Own Petard: Your agents can get knocked out by their own shock traps if they try to open a trapped door without disarming it.
  • Hold the Line: In the Contingency Plan DLC, on Day 4 the agents are all teleported to a secure lab across the city, and cannot leave until Central arrives with the jet on turn 20.
  • Holographic Terminal:
    • The security terminal that needs to be hacked as an objective in the final mission has an enormous elaborate holographic display floating over it when it's active.
    • The DLC adds a new type of terminal where a building will contain several, each in a different room, and they all have to be activated simultaneously to achieve an effect. When active, they have a floating holographic display that shows how many are currently active.
  • Humans Are Bastards: The world has gone to hell. Humans have been greedy, killed each other in corporate wars, and global warming has escalated with no indication of stopping. Incognita, having been a weather-monitoring AI and a war tactician prior to her current model, has had plenty of time to see this trope unfold.
  • Hyperspace Arsenal: Agents' tools and weapons just disappear into their clothes somewhere when not in use. Particularly impressive is the laptop agents use to hijack consoles: not only is it hard to see where it would hide on someone as stick-thin as most of the agents, but they're still able to pull it out of hammerspace when they've only just been rescued from captivity where all their other gear was confiscated.
  • Insecurity Camera: Hacking security cameras to prevent them giving away agent locations is a commonly used technique. Nobody ever seems to notice that the cameras have been hacked, and it has no effect on the alarm level. In Plastech facilities there is sometimes a guard who repairs hacked cameras and other devices as he patrols past them, but he seems to have no curiosity about how they came to need repairing.
  • Instant 180-Degree Turn: When a guard's patrol path doubles back on itself, the guard will instantly face the other way. This is very convenient for agents, who can stand right next to a guard who's about to turn without any fear he'll see them as he turns.
  • Instant Death Bullet: Firing a gun at an opponent will always hit the target and always result in immediate death (or unconsciousness if it's a stunning weapon or the target is a player character). Early pre-release versions of the game had hit points and percentage possibilities of missing, but the developers concluded that it was better served by having weapons with a single predictable result, allowing players to plan ahead effectively.
  • Interchangeable Anti Matter Keys: Justified with the Vault Access Code cards, which can be used on any vault door, but immediately become useless when used. The pass codes are changed whenever an access card is used, preventing further usages of that same card. Except that the card description always says the password is "password123".
  • It's Probably Nothing: Investigating Guards will say some variation of this if they get to a point of interest and don't see intruders, before going back to their routine patrol. However, guards in hunting mode will never go back to patrols and will endlessly search until they find agents.
  • Justified Tutorial: The tutorial takes place before the main events of the game in a K&O building, where Decker is kicked from his job due to consuming one too many "alcohol bar". You direct him out of the building to a teleporter with Central's guidance.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Banks got her nickname from donating the proceeds of her corporate thievery to members of her community.
  • Kill Sat: There are some, under the control of the corporations. Incognita uses them to Take Over the World during the ending.
  • Killer Robot: Sharp, possibly.
  • Laser Hallway: Three varieties of laser gates can be found. One increases the alarm level when passed through, one spawns a daemon, and one is impassable by agents (and lethal if they get caught in the beams). They require finding and hacking a power generator to deactivate. Lethal beams also turn off when a guard or drone stands in their area, something clever players can take advantage of.
    • Vault missions always have lethal beams guarding the valuables, while Security Dispatches can have any type guarding their security room.
  • L33t L1ng0:
    • The black marketeer who fences info and tech you lift during missions, and occasionally offers to sell you tech he's fencing for someone else, goes by "MONST3R".
    • Shopcat's Grand B@Z@@R, which sells warez.
  • Lightbulb Joke: Mocking Internationale's communist ideals, Sharp poses the question: How many workers does it take to disable a Sankaku security drone? His answer: Only one, but I would have to throw him really hard.
  • Lightning Bruiser:
    • Nika, almost literally. Her tazer and augment let her attack twice per turn, making her very effective at taking down groups of guards. She even gets a speed boost after every KO.
    • Contingency Plan adds the agent Rush. Her augment improves her melee attack power and damage if she's sprinting.
    • OMNI Protector Guards. With deflector shields that go well above FTM deflector guards, and each firewall level adding to the protector guard's AP, they're capable of resisting almost all direct attacks and cover huge patrol paths per turn while unhacked.
  • Locked Door:
    • Particular types of mission, including Vault missions and Security Dispatch missions, have an objective that's in a room by itself with a locked door, requiring agents to find the key to complete the mission. Vault access cards must be obtained before beginning the mission, either by stealing them from a Chief Financial Officer or getting one as a random offer from Monst3r; for other kinds of doors, the key will be somewhere in the same mission as the door.
    • Some percentage of the doors on any mission will be locked "level one security doors". A guard on the level will be carrying a key for them, and there are also augments and gadgets available to hack them. Unlike the mission-critical doors, any room with a locked security door will always have another door that isn't locked, as a deliberate design decision by the developers to avoid the possibility of a door that can only be unlocked by a key that's on the other side. It can still be useful to unlock them, to open more direct routes between points of interest and to have more options for dodging guards.
  • Macrogame: Finishing a play-through (either by winning or losing) rewards XP that unlocks new agents and programs that you can start with in future play-thoughs.
  • MacGuffin: In the Contingency Plan DLC, Monst3r refers to the Quantum Raft as one of these. Central doesn't understand.
  • Magically Inept Fighter: K&O. Their guards are the best equipped out of the four corps, featuring very heavy armor, 180 vision cones, and stun grenades. However, they have very few cameras, and the automated turrets scattered throughout can either be completely avoided, powered off or hacked to fire on the guards. The latter is extremely effective to tie up guards while escaping the mission.
  • Master of Unlocking: Banks's special ability is to be able to instantly unlock level one security doors (and security dispatch office doors, which are the same thing in a specific context) without needing a key card.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The gimmick of the Sankaku corporation. Their facilities are inhabited almost exclusively by drones, with only a single token human so agents can loot their keycard.
  • Mega-Corp: Four of them, as your enemies. FTM, K&O, PlasTech, and Sankaku. OMNI represents the combined strength of all four in the final mission.
  • Metal Slime:
    • Executives. Players that catch them can steal a large amount of credits and scan their cerebral databanks for vault access codes. However, they will attempt to flee to the nearest guard teleporter and escape when alerted, and will summon an enforcer when scanned.
    • FTM Scanning Devices. Often hidden, they periodically send guards to your agents' location, but will always grant a Valuable Tech item when discovered and disabled. Contingency Plan adds FTM Routers, which increases a random firewall by 1 on every turn.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Akuma Drones, unique to Sankaku facilities. They are the slowest units in the game, with their short patrol paths offset by heavy armor, extra wide visions cones, and powerful guns. Uniquely, they move completely silently due to hovering.
  • Mission Control: The player, in the identity of the Operator, is this; you direct your team through buildings and hack equipment with Incognita, an advanced computer system run by Invisible, Incorporated.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: The Holographic Projector item can be used to create a cover object on a target square. The agent can then pick it back up and redeploy it elsewhere.
  • Motherly Scientist: Central tends to treat Incognita like a person, in an exception to her generally unsentimental attitude, and something like a child (she personally built or rebuilt most of Incognita's systems). The latter attitude gets even stronger toward the end of the game when Incognita becomes delirious from lack of power and starts addressing her as "Mother". At the end of the game, when the team finds new, more secure hardware for Incognita and Central installs the AI into it, a caption describes it as "an act of motherly kindness".
  • Necessary Drawback: Many programs experience this, for obvious balance reasons. Hammer, for instance, spends 5 PWR to break 5 firewalls - a good deal considering that Lockpick v1.0 breaks 1 firewall for 2 PWR, but then you aren't likely to come across an object with more than 3 firewalls, except in certain circumstances. Parasite as a starting program is incredibly power efficient, destroying 1 firewall on infected objects per turn... but can only destroy one firewall on these objects per turn.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Central is pretty insistent that a downed agent should not be left behind, although her wording frequently suggests that her reasons are less about team solidarity and more about agents being difficult and expensive to replace.
  • No Peripheral Vision: Save for spec-ops troops, guards suffer from an acute strain of this. Provided they're not running, your agents can sneak undetected on the tile next to the guard.
  • Non-Entity General: The Operator, who watches the agents at work and issues instructions from a remote location, while never getting a name, personality or backstory, or any explanation of how they escaped the attack on HQ or where they are now.
    • It's an open question how exacly the Operator controls the agents. Before the tutorial and occasionally during loading screens, the phrase "neural tap" or "neural uplink" is used by Incognita to express that the mission is ready to begin (in the former case, you take control of an unconscious Decker and wake him up). This suggests the Operator may be to some extent involved in directly controlling the agents' actions in perfect sync with each other and with Incognita, rather than just telling them where to go.
  • Non-Lethal K.O.:
    • If one of your agents is shot, you always have the possibility to revive him with medigel. You can also drag their body to the teleporter, which will bring them back after the mission is over. In addition, "dead" agents left behind can be rescued in a detention center mission afterwards.
    • For the most part, this is also what you'll be doing to the guards, as all melee weapons and about half of all ranged weapons are non-lethal, and lethal weapons usually have both limited ammunition and numerous drawbacks.
  • Noob Cave: The Executive Terminal mission that begins every game. It will contain only cameras and basic security guards as hazards, and no devices will have daemons.
  • No-Sell:
    • Enemies with heavy armor are completely immune to attacks from weapons that don't pierce them.
    • In later missions, certain objects and robotics have magnetic shielding which greatly reduces the effectiveness of EMPs or Dr Xu.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Monst3r is insistent that he's not interested in Central's ideals, and that the only reason he continues to supply Invisible with information and materiel after they're compromised is because he's being paid, and then toward the end of the story because he's become intrigued by the new technology the corporations have assembled to bring them down. He's probably telling the truth about the ideals, as at the end of the last mission he has a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! that isn't followed by a Changed My Mind, Kid. He does, however, try to persuade Central to get outta there with him, and turns out to have waited at a safe distance to see if she survived; if there is something he's in it for apart from the money, it's his friendship with Central.
  • Obligatory Earpiece Touch: In the opening cinematic, Central starts out communicating with Decker through the communication rig in the mission control room, then switches to a personal communicator after the control room is raided and she has to run from the raiders and call for help at the same time. Each time she speaks through the personal communicator she touches her ear.
  • Oh, Crap!: The CFO's reaction if he spots one of your agents. He'll then make a beeline for the nearest guard teleporter to escape.
  • Only a Flesh Wound: Completely averted. Your agent takes a bullet, they're down, period. The same goes for the guards, provided your weapon can pierce their armour.
  • "Open!" Says Me:
  • Painting the Medium: The alert that appears on Incognita's screen in the opening cinematic when the corporate raiders bust in says "Enemy Activity" in a similar font and style to the banner that appears during the game when the enemy turn begins.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": One of the missions involves stealing a corporate CFO's access card and password. The password always turns out to be "password123".
  • Playing Games At Work: In the Executive Terminal mission, one of the things Central can say when you find the executive's workstation is to observe that they've left their game of Solitaire up on the screen.
  • Power at a Price:
    • The PWR program Faust. Grants you +2 PWR every turn, but has a 20% chance of activating a random Security Daemon.
    • Can be taken Up to Eleven in terms of both power and price by a loadout including Agent Central and the Brimstone hacking program. The former's unique augment grants an instant +5 PWR whenever a Daemon is installed, the latter gives a passive 10% chance to reverse the effect of an installed Daemon.
  • Protection Mission:
    • The second stage of Chief Financial Suite missions. Once you've knocked out the executive, you need to stay close to him for six turns while Incognita extracts vault passcodes from his memory. On the third turn, he'll get a signal out and an Enforcer will beam in to investigate his location, forcing you to find a way to keep hidden.
    • Part of the final level has Monst3r trying to get the password for the OMNI mainframe door out of a security terminal. After one turn he'll trigger a honeypot. Next, an Enforcer will teleport in to check the terminal. Then the Countermeasures Daemon switches every guard in the complex to hunting mode and assigns one of them to check his location every turn. Then more Enforcers and a Daemon that recaptures devices before he finally breaks in. Then it's an Escort Mission to get him and Central to the mainframe door.
  • Pun-Based Title: A pun of Invisible Ink, a tool used by spies to send secret messages.
  • Putting on the Reich: K&O, the weapons manufacturer that controls Europe and Australia, has vaguely Nazi-looking uniforms for its security agents.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The agents are a motley bunch, as exemplified by their background descriptions when you hover over a portrait in game mode. Their backgrounds range from former bodyguard to head of security to thief, actress and university researcher, and their motivations for joining Inc range from personal or ideological to reasons of convenience or having nowhere else to go. While they ultimately have a certain rebelliousness and disdain for the corporations in common, expect some bickering on the rare occasion they banter before a mission.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: Every level is procedurally generated. There are a few rooms that are almost identical each time - the vault room, for example, and the starting rooms (though there are multiple starting rooms that can be used, and door number and placement varies). Everything else will be new each time.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Shopcat's Grand B@Z@@R theme is a remix of Don't Starve's Django Style Weirder.
  • Revolvers Are Just Better:
    • Averted. Flavor text explains that the residue from gunpowder can be detected by corporate ventilation systems, and a regular gun will reveal an infiltrator's location just by pulling it out. In addition, many guards wear heavy armor that's impenetrable to regular bullets. Agents have to rely on energy weapons, rail cannons, and specially calibrated flechettes.
    • Partially played straight with Decker's archive variation. He has a custom built revolver that fires hand-crafted energy rounds. It holds more shots than any weapon in the game, but can never be reloaded and cannot pierce heavy armor.
  • Roguelike: A puree of this and Turn-Based Strategy and Stealth-Based Game.
  • Scare Chord: A short, high-pitched alarm noise plays when a guard spots an agent. It can come as quite a shock if you weren't expecting it.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: The game provides a myriad of custom difficulty options, from stuff like changing the severity of alarm levels to altering how guard patrols are generated. While the game will offer more Macrogame rewards for taking on bigger challenges, the custom difficulty isn't required to beat the game (besides doing some of the preset difficulties).
  • Sequel Hook: The ending, while Incognita's plot to Take Over the World may seem successful initially, her not eliminating Central, Monst3r and the Operator may bite her in the ass.
  • Signed Up for the Dental: In one of the mission beginning banter bits, Internationale asks Decker (who used to work for one of the corporations) what made him do it, and he claims it was for the dental plan.
  • Situational Sword: The Wrench series of programs cost-efficiently break a specific level of firewall, but only that level, similar to "Level X [Spell]" magic from Final Fantasy.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Some detention centers contain generic prisoners who can be rescued for a ransom payment; they are referred to by prison numbers instead of names. If a prisoner is the final player character standing in a level, their "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner is "I am not a number, I am a free man!".
    • In the final mission, the powerful Turing program Incognita creates is a reference to Alan Turing, influential computer scientist and codebreaker. He is the namesake of the Turing Test, a test given to an AI to determine if it is intelligent enough to pass as a human.
    • When you buy equipment from Monst3r, he can say "It's dangerous to go alone. Take this."
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: In the halfway mission of the game if you've bought the Contingency Plan DLC, Monst3r becomes playable for one map before becoming playable again in the final map of the game. Anything you give to him not only won't be returned to you if he leaves with it, but he won't even have it on him for the final map.
  • Squishy Wizard: PlasTech as a whole. None of their guards have armor or any special equipment. This makes them very easy to deal with by agents. However, this is offset by being an absolute nightmare in the mainframe, with cyborg guards constantly re-capturing hacked devices, spawning daemons, and boosting firewalls. It's often most effective to fight your way through, as each turn spent hiding means spending more power recapturing cameras.
  • Stalked by the Bell:
    • The Alarm meter will go up each turn, more so if you're caught by security. Every time the security level goes up, infiltration gets a bit more hard as new measures (activated cameras, firewall upgrades and guard reinforcements) are brought in.
      • In Contingency Plan, the alarm is upgraded on day 4, having much stronger effect. Change patrol paths, +1 guard armor, +2 firewalls on everything, +1 KO resistance/healing, and summoning elite security.
    • Mission selection as well. Every mission requires a certain number of hours of travel time. Every 24 hours, easy missions vanish and harder ones appear. After three days pass a final mission is automatically begun.
  • Stealth-Based Game: You can take out guards by killing them or knocking them unconscious, depending on your equipment, but it's usually better to avoid it unless necessary. Guards are fitted with heartrate monitors that increase the security level if they die, and KO'd guards will wake up in a few turns and start searching for you.
  • Stun Guns: The "neural disrupters" all your agents are equipped with, the shock traps you can plant on the doors, and ranged stun weapons too. They all provide Instant Sedation.
  • Surveillance Drone: Camera drones.
  • Tactical Door Use: Opening and closing doors to attract guard attentions is a perfectly viable strategy to get guards moved out of the way of an important objective. You can even use it to break line of sight of a guard that has caught you.
  • Talkative Loon:
    • Banks has a tendency to say some very strange things that have nothing to do with the situation at hand.
    • Incognita's pre-mission messages become more and more deranged as her power cells run out. It may also be Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • The Law of Conservation of Detail: in the final mission or midway through the game (in the extended campaign), you run into Omni, the Megacorp of all Megacorps and the same conglomerate that orchestrated the raid on your HQ at the start of the game. Promptly lampshaded by Monst3r:
    Monst3r: ...That would be almost too convenient, don't you think? A bit too... tidy.
  • Teleporters and Transporters:
    • How the agents manage to infiltrate and exfiltrate every mission.
    • In the Contingency Plan DLC, agent Derek has an augment that allows him to teleport to the position his receiver was placed.
    • One of Incognita's possible infiltration lines is "Prepare for disintegration... And reintegration, of course."
  • Throwing the Distraction: The DLC introduces the "Cry Baby" grenade, which can be thrown and remotely activated to make a distracting noise that the guards will go and investigate. The flavor text claims that it's the result of intensive research into what noise guards find most interesting.
  • Time Rewind Mechanic: You are given a number of "Rewinds" per mission (how many, depends on your difficulty settings). When you activate a rewind, your game state is reset to the start of the previous turn, and there is no limit on how many rewinds you can spend one after another. While not justified in-story, this feature is intended to help players out of mission gone FUBAR.
  • Tracking Device: TAG Pistols and Wisp program allows you to track guards, letting you see their location and next move for the rest of the mission.
  • Tree Cover: Plastech facilities sometimes have trees, to fit with their spa/monastery theme. They make effective cover, despite most of their squares consisting of grass.
  • Tron Lines: Incognita's on-screen avatar has a body made entirely of Tron Lines.
  • Turn-Based Tactics: Albeit with a focus on stealth rather than combat.
  • Universal Ammunition: "High-density Charge Packs" can be used to reload absolutely anything, from a pistol to a rifle or even a tranquilizer gun. Explained in-game that most of these weapons are energy-based ones.
  • Unusable Enemy Equipment: All enemy guns and armor are gene coded, so the agents need to get by with what after-market tech they can fabricate or steal.
  • Variable Mix: The music becomes more intense as the alarm level rises, and once you've found the level's objective. A different mix also plays while you're accessing Incognita's programs.
  • Vendor Trash: The Valuable Artifacts you find in Vault missions, as well as the Valuable Tech you get when sabotaging certain machines. Both do nothing but take up inventory space until you can escape and sell them to Monst3r.
  • Wham Line: In the ending cutscene, after Central manages to upload Incognita, and Incognita puts the final phase of the world domination plan into motion. Incognita's announcement that she now controls the entirety of SecNet, though it shocks Central, isn't quite a wham line, because it was foreshadowed as a possibility by Monst3r; the real wham line is her next announcement: that she's powering up SecNet's Kill Sat collection.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Happens to any guard knocked out with a neural disrupter.
  • You Are Number 6: Some detention centers contain generic prisoners who can be rescued for a ransom payment; they are referred to by prison serial numbers instead of names.
  • You Can See That, Right?: Banks, according to the flavor text, is prone to delusions and hallucinations as a result of a botched brain implant. One of her bits of in-game chatter is "Did you hear that? No? Well then, neither did I."
  • Your Mind Makes It Real: When PlasTech cyborgs are knocked out, they upload their brains into the mainframe as a daemon. Destroying the daemon also causes the cyborg to die.
Top