Rather than simply porting a Hitman title to mobile and tablet devices, Square Enix took a brave leap into mobile gaming with something new and fresh, which sits among the rarities such as Monument Valley and The Room, rather than join the other ports such as GTA.
It is truly a unique concept, taking some of the stealth mechanics from the Hitman series and completely flipping them on their head, creating a diorama-style board game for the app store. It’s really quirky and has a beautiful visual style, which – although not perfect – is one of the best realised concepts on mobile and tablet devices.
Essentially, you’re presented with a turn-based game and move around the set path of the level, avoiding enemies or sneaking up and taking them down. You’ll be aiming to not only get to the end, but also to do that in as few moves as possible, with no kills or all kills, or even collect a briefcase on your way, all in order to complete two additional objectives. There’s a total of three stamps per level, and it’s often best if you do them one after another.
To move around the level, you won’t be controlling your character in a traditional way but will be swiping your Agent figurine around the set paths, either up, down, left or right. It’s a really tactical game at heart and new mechanics are brought into play at a fast pace. First, there will be enemies who move along a set line when you move your piece, then rocks or cans to throw to distract enemies, before you’ll get more complex items such as keys for doors or even disguises.
Keys and disguises are colour coded – you’ll need the red key for the red door, which might in turn lead you to a blue key for the blue door. Then it’s likely you’ll have to make your way across a room, avoiding or taking out the enemies, before exiting through the blue door and reaching the mission’s end. The disguises – in the form of jackets – might even come into play here, with yellow jackets allowing you to occupy the same space as a moving enemies, or blue for the stationary ones.
And then there’s green jackets, which you’ll use to get past a new foe: a spinning, knife-wielding guard, who you’ll have to sneak up on and take out before he can take you.
But remember, it’s all turn-based, so even if you come face-to-face with an enemy, as long as they were facing the other way first, you can make the first move and take them out. It’s very well done and all about working out a strategy before you go, instead of trying to run through without planning. There’s still plenty of surprise mechanics (though they’re perhaps obvious if you think about it hard enough) which take the game to the next level, not to mention guns which really take the experience up a notch.
To me, though, it’s all about that visual style. It’s like playing a board game at times, but with a lot more rules and mechanics than chess, for example, and the 3D engine allows you’re able to spin around the board itself, which just looks stunning. The figures themselves are solid, without animation or change of expressions. When you pick up a rock to throw or a gun, though, the change in stance is enough, and then the way that recoil makes your figure bounce side-to-side or a mistimed move sees your figure knocked over and “killed” by a foe just adds to that style.
There are a few problems, such as the need to collect a high number of stamps before unlocking the next set levels (unless you pay) or further in-app purchases for objective walkthroughs, which seems quite pointless when the solutions will likely be available online, and it’s not a free game either – it’s a £2.99 purchase. Thankfully there’s no ridiculous pay to continue mechanics and the game definitely isn’t ruined by any of these additional costs – the whole game is there from the beginning, you just have to actually be good at it!
It’s a perfect conversion of the Hitman formula to something completely unique for mobile platforms. When you think about it, it’s just a top-down puzzler turned isometric, but the mechanics are smart and the visuals are sublime. It is truly one of the best and most interesting takes on an existing game series available today.
This looks stunning, Blair. Utterly wonderful idea to make it look/feel like this. Consider me purchasing the little bugger.
Not a big buyer of iPad/mobile games but this looks to be a great fit and done right. Lovely design.
I completely ignore mobile games nowadays but the picture caught my attention. Visually, this actually looks really good but I doubt I’ll buy it as my old iPhone 4 is struggling to play any game lately, which is probably part of the reason I don’t bother with them as new phones just don’t interest me anymore.
Been playing this a fair bit and think the idea is just genius and the execution is brilliant. Seriously impressed. Gets very tricky too.
Seriously, whoever came up with the concept and how to pull it off deserves heaps of praise.
Can see it working as a physical board game too…which I’d also buy.
And just to note I’ve note played enjoyed a Hitman since the very early days. Don’t even bother with it on consoles anymore.
it isn’t available on Kindle Fire so gutted. Might have to invest in a proper tablet so I can get some of the games that I’ve been drooling over.