Is Deceive Inc, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.

Deceive Inc is one of the most unique games released in the last decade, and depending on what Sweet Bandits Studios does next, could either become one of 2023’s most influential Indie titles or a complete and total failure that is dead within 24 months of launch.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Extraction Shooter
Developer: Sweet Bandits Studios
Publisher: Tripwire Presents
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 21 March 2023
Supported Modes:

Cosmetic Items.

While Deceive Inc does offer paid cosmetic items in its rather small cash shop, players can unlock 100+  skins (10+ per character), with either freely earned Credits or Bonds (premium currency), in addition to a loot crate system that awards players with three random items, including legendary skins (which usually retail for 1k Bonds) at no additional cost to the player.

While some of the best-looking skins are cash shop only, the fact that players can unlock two legendary skins per agent using credits (or lucky loot crate pulls) is very generous, considering Deceive Inc’s low retail price.

There is no way to purchase loot crates with Bonds or Credits; rather, they are freely earned by playing the game and earning XP, with one crate being awarded for every three account levels starting at level 3.


Non-Expiring Battle Pass.

While free players are restricted to the current seasons battle pass (referred to as a catalogue) and are unable to continue unlocking its rewards after each season ends, players who opt to purchase a seasonal catalogue (battle pass) can continue to progress through its tiers at their leisure and swap freely between unlocked passes without penalty, perfect for gamers who want to unlock a certain skin or title, but do not wish to grind excessively due to a busy schedule.

While I would not expect to see Fortnite and other major players follow suit anytime soon, I feel battle passes that never expire are more consumer-friendly and will eventually become the standard to which publishers will strive, in much the same way that cosmetic purchases and battle passes have all but replaced the concept of the RNG lootbox in the western market.

Balanced Gameplay.

While Deceive Inc and Hunt: Showdown are very different games with radically different aesthetics, they have one thing in common, and that is they are two of just a few games that allow players with radically different playstyles not only to co-exist but have an equally good chance of winning the match.

In the case of Deceive Inc, this is made possible through a massive variety of gadgets, from mundane keycards to remotely-operated camera turrets,surveillance drones, and inflatable cushions, in addition to players beings severely limited in the amount of ammo they can carry at any given time, which reduces the effectiveness of cheesy run and gun mechanics, while still allowing aggressive players to participate in a meaningful manner, abiding that they play tactically and don’t kill everything that moves.


Master Of Disguise.

Players can take on the appearance of any of the NPCs they encounter, allowing them to move undetected through a crowd; however, this does not mean players should do so recklessly, as nothing gives an agent away quicker than changing their appearance in sight of another agent, or two agents wearing displaying the same VIP costume, a clear sign that an agent is present, due to VIP’s being limited to only one per match.

Accidentally wearing the same disguise as your fellow agent aside, certain NPCs have different levels of clearance, and while it’s not uncommon for a blue-tier npc (guard) to be seen in a green area (staff room), a civilian NPC or staff member certainly will arise suspicions if seen in a restricted area such as a guard room or vault.



Deceive Inc launches with a  wide array of easily obtainable characters, which will see players unlocking the entire base game roster in around 5 hours of play, which likely would not be the case if it was a free-2-play title, with character unlocks traditionally being a good source of revenue.

In a win for diversity, the launch roster is diverse, with multiple races and genders represented, including African American super spy Chavez and legendary Chinese assassin Madame Xiu.



Even the best multiplayer games need a system of meaningful progression to avoid stagnation, and luckily for fans of Deceive Inc, it has three very impressive progression systems that help to keep matches feeling meaningful.

Seasonal Progression.

By playing matches and earning  XP, players will unlock seasonal tokens, which can be exchanged for items from that season’s catalogue or any catalogue owned by the player; in addition, players can bank up to 10 tokens for “future use”, allowing players to get a headstart on the next catalogue, or avoid unlocking cosmetic items that do not interest them in lue of saving their hard-earned seasonal progress towards a future seasons catalogue.

Account Progression.

Account levels are gained by playing matches and earning XP, with players gaining access to new account-wide gadgets and cosmetic items upon hitting fixed milestones.


Agent Mastery.

Each character has a reward track, granting access to new or modified weapons and abilities, titles, portraits and cosmetic items.

For example, Agent Chavez begins with a medium fire rate pistol that has medium range and does medium damage, and progressing his mastery track unlocks variations of the weapon that focus on either faster reloading with reduced damage output or increased damage output and range with slower reloading times.

This system allows veteran players to customise their personal to their liking, while newer players are not entirely outclassed by top-tier characters, which helps to improve player retention and keep matchmaking times at a reasonable level by allowing players of all mastery levels to play together.

Is Deceive Inc, Worth Playing? 1

No Cross Progression.

While Deceive Inc supportS cross-platform multiplayer, players cannot carry their progress to other platforms, requiring players who wish to play on multiple platforms to purchase the game multiple times and unlock skins and gadgets multiple times.

As someone who regularly plays games across multiple platforms, I find this very offputting, as while I know I can pick up Fortnite, Call of Duty or Overwatch and access my account on any supported platform, Deceive Inc forces me to unlock agents, and weapons, passives, and cosmetic items on each platform individually all but removing my desire to play on any platform other than my Xbox Series X, where my Deceive Inc has the most unlocks.

Editors Comment: While I most likely will play Deceive Inc on other platforms, I am far less likely to do so without cross-progression when titles such as Fortnite and Call of Duty show more respect for my time and money, which as a mature gamer, is very important.


Business Model.

While buy-2-play is still a very valid business model for massive titles such as Call of Duty, Battlefield and Fifa, even the giants have begun to dip their toes into the free-2-play waters, as frankly, nothing can compete with the type of player base (and income) that a very popular free-2-play can attract.

While Deceive Inc could survive long-term as a buy-2-play title, its chances of doing so are greatly diminished with each passing day that it remains a buy-2-play title, while its free-2-play competitors continue to attract the type of player base and revenue that is beyond reach for a small buy-2-play title such as Deceive Inc.


Matchmaking Issues.

Deceive Inc has suffered from inconstant matchmaking times since launch, with lobbies taking anywhere from 5 seconds to 10 minutes to fill, regardless of time or how many players are currently active; such issues have thankfully begun to lessen, but the developer must remain on top of this, as while Deceive Inc is far from dead if players are not able to get into lobbies in 1 minute or less, it will swiftly earn the dreaded reputation of being a dead game, a major factor in why Hood: Outlaws & Legends died within weeks of launch, despite being a fairly unique game with the potential to be something greater.


Deceive Inc FAQ

Deceive Inc is a extraction shooter video game developed by Sweet Bandits Studios and published by Tripwire Presents, it was released on 21 March 2023 and retails for $19.99.

Platform Availability.

Deceive Inc is available on the following platforms: PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S.

Are The Developers Active?

How Many People Play Deceive Inc?

As of April 2024, around 25,000 people play Deceive Inc on a fairly regular basis.

How Active Is The Deceive Inc Playerbase?

Deceive Inc suffers from low activity, meaning that while off-peak matchmaking is possible in populated regions, finding full lobbies in less populated regions is unlikely outside of peak playtimes.

Is Cross-Platform Multiplayer Supported?

Deceive Inc supports:

  • Cross-Platform Multiplayer.
  • Cross-Platform Parties.
  • Cross-Generational Multiplayer.
  • Cross-Generational Parties.

Is There Group Finding/Matchmaking Support?

Deceive Inc offers the following matchmaking options:

  • Region-Based Matchmaking
  • Solo Matchmaking
  • Group Matchmaking

Are There In-Game Microtransactions?

The Deceive Inc in-game store sells:

  • Cosmetic Items.
  • Cosmetic Item Bundles.
  • Premium Currency Bundles.
  • Premium Battlepass.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • Console - Controller.
  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

Deceive Inc is rated PEGI 16+ and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

While Deceive Inc is a unique title with very little in common with other extraction shooters, it is still part of the highly competitive casual competitive genre. While it is off to a very strong start, and I wholeheartedly recommend it, changes will need to be made, such as the introduction of cross-progression and a possible free-2-play relaunch, if it is to remain relevant in 2024 and beyond.

Is Deceive Inc Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Deceive Inc" a rating of 9/10, indicating that it is near perfect and suffers only minor flaws, and the average gamer will enjoy it immensely.

You Might Be Interested In: