The objective of these boards is to get from the starting point to the end. A series of lines on the board indicate where Agent 47 is able to travel. If a guard is one space away while facing towards Agent 47, the guard will strike to take him out. Agent 47 can eliminate guards by attacking from the side, or from behind.
Reaching the goal is just the main objective. Each level has two optional objectives. Some of these will be to complete the level by not killing any enemies, killing all the enemies, or by reaching the goal in a minimum number of moves. The optional objectives not only add replay value but also unlock the later levels in the game.
Levels get progressively more complex in both layout and type of adversary. Some guards will patrol, moving one space every time Agent 47 moves one space. Others have guard dogs that will follow a trail as soon as they catch a scent from two spaces away. Each type of guard is organized thanks to color coordination. “Hitman GO” captures all of the minutia of a “Hitman” game from changing disguises to blend in with certain guards, to picking up his signature pair of silver ballers to eliminate guards in a pinch.
This gameplay calls upon spatial reasoning, which comes with a bit of a learning curve. The “eureka” moment should occur around one hour of playtime. Once that happens, the game’s hook should be firmly implanted, causing long sessions in trying to complete those optional objectives.
Aesthetically, “Hitman GO” is a polished as it is charming. Each set of levels is displayed as a board game box. Each level appears like a diorama of a stage in any given Hitman game. Longtime fans of the series will particularly enjoy later levels that are exact replicas of levels in “Blood Money,” even down to using the chandelier to take out foes below. The game’s charm is in its detail to design.
As well as the game looks and plays, its sound design doesn’t rise to match. Many levels are silent, aside from some ambient noise that might be heard if the environments were real. Crickets can be heard in night levels, and water splashes around in the levels set near a body of water. Mobile games go well with a hypnotic jingle, similar to “Threes!” or “Candy Crush Saga.” Not much will be missed if “Hitman GO” is played on mute.
Complaints of sound design are nitpicks when considering how fun the game is to play. Regardless of these audio shortcomings, “Hitman GO” remains a refreshing newcomer to the often bland mobile market. The $4.99 package comes with 69 levels, with more to be added in the future. This is an impressive first foray into mobile territory from Square Enix Montreal. I look forward to see how they build on these ideas with the future levels.
8.5 out of 10
Brilliant level and art design
Unique mobile adaptation of “Hitman” gameplay
Optional objectives add replay value