“Hitman Go is a surprisingly and yet undeniably fantastic addition to its series”
Major developers shifting some of their hit titles in the direction of the mobile arena is becoming an ever less uncommon occurrence these days, with some such efforts working out delightfully with some great results while others crash and burn. Square Enix have now decided to try their hand at this move, electing to bring their classic Hitman saga to mobile devices in the form of Hitman Go. With the recent success of Hitman Absolution which revitalised the story of Agent 47, this new move places fans in a wholly different environment to that which the series has offered before. But just how well has this mobile effort done in itself and what does it do for the series as a whole? Well read on…
Hitman Go is set out in the style of a board game, and takes on a strategic puzzler style as opposed to the 3rd person stealthy role-player-shooter-badass-killer format which fans will be used to. There is no tutorial involved, but things kick off with a few very simple levels which allow you to get to grips with the basics of movement, tactics, goals and the ways that your adversaries each work. New ideas are introduced over the long-term play, with some elements such as the use of weaponry not even coming into play until the third chapter, so you are not thrown in at the deep end without a paddle; play develops at a very comfortable pace and lets you learn by doing.
Each level of the game has a different main goal, and there are several extra goals which you are given the choice to try and complete as you play. Aside from the first couple of levels which teach the basics, every level gives you three missions in this way, with a certain number needing to be tackled before you can progress on to the next chapter of the story. The main goals will tend to involve reaching a particular point or assassinating a mark. Alongside this you may be challenged to complete tasks such as finishing the level in a certain number of turns, collecting a briefcase, or reaching the level’s end without casualties. If you cannot complete a goal, you have the option to use one of a limited number of hints which will guide you on how to do it, but be warned, you only start the game with five of these and this is where Square Enix will try to make their extra pocket money from you! The only real downside to the game lies within this element however, and that is the fact that you cannot always complete every goal in one play through of the level, and so sometimes several attempts are a necessity; a bit of a pain for the perfectionists out there who may find themselves playing some levels several times over.
Controlling the game is very simple. You drag your Agent 47 playing piece from point to point each turn, after which the other pieces on the board will make their moves before you plan your next. In some cases other elements will come into play on your turn if you land on certain spaces, such as throwing objects as distractions or taking out opposing pieces with a sniper rifle. Even these elements are simple though, requiring you to simply touch the spot which you wish to target. The thinking becomes involved when you have to try and determine what will play out afterwards. Opposing pieces will react in different ways based on the way that you manipulate these elements in the game, and this can be the deciding point in your success or failure. When playing some levels, you may also need to obtain disguises, hide in plants or collect keys among other tasks, but each of these is again just as simple to carry out, as long as you have the mind to solve the puzzle set before you.
The enemies in the game work in a number of different ways, posing therefore a number of different challenges. Some heavy guards do not move at all, unless you can distract them, and so you must find a way around the level which avoids their gaze. If you move within one space of an enemy’s line on sight, they will take you out on their turn. Some enemies are set on patrols which again can only be redirected by a distraction, and others will turn on the spot in order to try and catch you out. How you deal with these adversaries is up to you. If you can get close without them seeing you then you can move onto their space and take them out. If you can find a way to avoid them then this can be just as sensible an option too. Just be cautious in the decisions you make; one wrong move and the level could become impossible to complete and you will have to start again.
In terms of playability, the game is very good. There plenty of levels to complete, so the £2.99 asking price is certainly not a waste of your money there. Every level ask something new of you, and you certainly have to think carefully in order to complete them. There is no such thing as a simple puzzle in Hitman Go, and while you may figure out some levels fast than others, you still have to be cautious in every move that you make. There is plenty of variety involved, and the long-term introduction of new elements continues to keep things fresh as you play, forcing you to adapt and learn as you go and avoiding repetitiveness or boredom. Hitman Go is an easy game to lose yourself in this way, and it is easy to become addicted to completing all of the goals on each level before you will allow yourself to progress to the next. It may be best to clear your schedule before you pick the title up, because it will take up a good chunk of your time. The game is also perfect for the mobile platform it has been placed on. Playing on console or PC, this would not have the same charm as it does here, but on a tablet it is the perfect entertainment to take with you on a long journey or to sit and have a quick play of. That is if such a thing is possible; addiction is more than likely!
The play is good, the build is good and to round Hitman Go off nicely the look, feel and sounds of the game are all good too. The charm of the game is equalled by the charm of its style. There is a certain aesthetic appeal which you might not expect at first glance but which draws you into every aspect of the game before you know it. The look of the game is detailed, and yet simplistic in the board game-like design with which it has been made. With gentle, classical undertones, it is often easy to forget that you are playing as a trained killer, in fact one of the world’s deadliest assassins, in this sweet little wonderland which sits upon your tablet. Everything feels… pleasant, which can’t be said to be a bad thing at all, but if you think about it this should probably be a bit disturbing. In reality it isn’t, which means the developers have clearly tried to do something very clever, and that they haves got it right. A deadly assassin has been put into a calm, casual puzzle world, and somehow it really works.
Hitman Go is a surprisingly and yet undeniably fantastic addition to its series. In itself, it is a fun chilled out and aesthetically delightful puzzler which will keep you occupied for hours. As a part of the Hitman legacy, it is certainly different, with a much more relaxed pace and less tense nature to it than its predecessors, but it keeps in mind all of the elements which are important to the series and make it what it is. Stealth, style, and of course deadliness are as much at the heart if this game as its puzzles, charm and chilled out nature, and as a complete package with a friendly price tag, Hitman Go is neither a Hitman title, a puzzler, or a mobile game to be missed.
The Good – A fantastic puzzler which stays true to its roots while at the same time offering a fresh and exciting experience for the mobile arena. Variety, charm, class, and a large dollop of thinking await any who pick up the game!
The Bad – Not every goal on a level can always be completed in one play through; a bit of a bummer for the perfectionist gamers out there…
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.