I’m not usually a big fan of mobile gaming, as most of these games follow a free to play model or are shallow versions of console favourites. Every so often, however, a mobile game does something different or brings something new to the platform. In this new series I’ll be taking a look at those Android games I find most interesting or innovative.
I should say at the start I don’t own any iOS devices and my preference is for Android anyway, hence the specific focus. That isn’t to say I’ve got anything against Apple or the iOS platform, I just have no hand’s-on experience with them. That said, Apple’s is the bigger platform and a lot of the most successful Android games started off on iOS. Such is the case with my first review, Hitman Go from Square Enix.
I was never a huge fan of the Hitman franchise, as I’d only played a bit of Silent Assassin and sat through the underwhelming film adaptation from 2007. This all changed when I picked up Hitman: Blood Money; I bought it from Steam on sale and loved it immediately. Blood Money was a puzzle game masquerading as a stealth actioner; I especially liked finding all the different disguises and completing all the difficult assignments.
For whatever reason I was less taken with Hitman Absolution and only managed about 10 hours of playtime. When I heard there was a new Hitman game planned for iOS, Hitman Go, I expected a quick Absolution cash grab, maybe an endless runner with new weapons as in-app purchases. Much to my surprise, Hitman Go is a 3D isometric puzzle boardgame, a clever mash of genres that delivers a unique and enjoyable mobile gaming experience.
Hitman protagonist Agent 47 takes the form of a game piece, moving on a track around a static gameboard; you face a variety of enemies with different movement patterns and abilities. Your goal is to avoid the enemies and reach your objectives.
Everything about Go is minimalist, from the art style to the combat. When you kill enemies, for instance, you knock them over like pawns on a chessboard.
Like most mobile games, Hitman Go is easy to pick up and play for a quick session; each level is pretty short and even if you screw up you can restart really quickly. There are a load of levels in the game when you start and you can unlock additional maps based on Blood Money by collecting stars or through an in-app purchase.
I love that Hitman Go is so strange; what could’ve been a generic 3D shoot-em-up has become a clever and remarkable puzzle game. Check it out on Android or iOS, even if you aren’t a fan of the series; if you are, expect a fresh new take on Agent 47 and the Hitman world.Colin Le Sueur