Square Enix Montreal did a good job in cleverly translating the stealth action of a great console title to a board game-type setup in Hitman GO. It is simple enough to be a cinch to learn but the puzzles make for a challenging distraction for hours on end. Each level is played on a grid with a limited number of squares. Agent 47 is allowed to move a single space either left or right, up or down for each turn.
Ready Your Guns
Of course, no Hitman game is complete without a few obstacles to stand in the way of the master assassin. There are 8 types of enemies, all with different behaviors to take into account when attempting to eliminate them. The most basic of these are Static types. These are marked in blue and do nothing but stand still, facing in a specific direction. Yellow moving targets walk up to a certain point, make a 180 degree turn and go back to its starting tile. There are also dogs which remain static until Agent 47 is a mere two steps away. They will then chase him around until they either get him or are distracted by some noise or trap door. There are also hostiles with flashlights, pairs and those which continuously turn.
So how does Agent 47 counter all these foes? Well, it's simple. He takes out enemies by moving to their spaces while they have their backs turned or are, basically, facing anywhere else other than to the main character. When someone is eliminated off the board, it is knocked over and are moved off like an actual board game piece. There are also rocks and other weapons scattered about for Agent 47's use. Once picked up, weapons are used immediately, which adds strategic depth to the game. Each one gives a unique advantage which are useful to specific situations. Rocks, for instance, are used to stir up some noise. This will attract hostiles towards it. However, its range is quite limited. You may only throw it a space up or down, left or right. As for guns, well, Agent 47 has his dual silverballers as well as a rifle at his disposal. These may be used on both enemies and the terrain. Shooting the latter could also kill enemies, such as when statues fall on top of them, or change the layout of board.
Many Ways to Kill
Speaking of layouts, the environments in Hitman GO are cleverly designed. They bridge the gap between real life and digital board games by adding intriguing features such as secret passages and blocked areas which provide a welcome change to the Hitman Sniper series or indeed the sifthead series. Just as it is in the game series, Agent 47 can use the layout to his advantage in order to hide from and distract foes while going after his mark. You will need to employ strategy and quick thinking if you are to succeed as you have a limited number of turns per level.
Are you looking for a challenge? Hitman GO may start slow but the action ramps up quickly, requiring you to get to the end of a map without killing anyone in less than ten turns. Some will require you to pick up a briefcase prior to dealing with your mark. A few missions have variations and these may require you to replay a level to fulfill them. For instance, one may need you to prioritize stealth above all else, while the other will entail killing all that stand in your way.
Incredibly Clever Puzzle Game
Hitman GO is perfect for both fans of the franchise and those who are looking for the perfect blend of action and puzzle elements. Its isometric view, play pieces and cleverly designed dioramas make for a worthy successor for beloved board games of old. Aside from extending the game's already lengthy play time, updates may also add a little something special for those who have played the core lineup. One, for instance, added a chapter which was based on the Silent Assassin level of Hitman 2.
The bottom line is that this is a game that shouldn't be missed if you are even a little intrigued about the genre, check out Hitman Go's IGN Review. Hitman GO is available for both iOS and Android devices. Its save game system allows players to enjoy it across multiple devices.