Hitman Go review: a stealthy yawn
Hitman Go, a puzzler featuring everyone’s favorite barcode-tattooed stealth killer, is making waves on Apple’s App Store and Android’s Google Play store, but is it really any good? Coming from a developer that we’re used to seeing feed our nostalgia, Hitman Go by Square Enix, is in fact a mix between a board game and a stealth game. This is important to know from the onset, since you might be fooled to think that a stealth game involves a lot of action. Quite the opposite: in reality, this is not even a real-time game, instead - it’s a very typical turn-based board release.
What’s the game all about, though? In Hitman Go, you have a charted path and villains running on it, and your goal is to reach the end point where you either leave a level, or kill someone (you’re a hitman, remember?). It’s a gameplay that is no different than Pac-Man - just imagine Pac-Man being played in a turn-by-turn fashion, not real time. The whole presence of the Hitman in this environment seems artificially implanted - all the characters of the game are as soulless as it gets - you could have easily replaced them with pawns without feeling any difference.
There’s no denying that Hitman Go comes with a very distinct graphic style that actually eerily reminds of early 3D games visuals, but is in no way as detailed and jaw-dropping as the current crop of console-grade mobile games. This distinct appearance contributes to the whole game looking very plasticky, as in fake and toyish, and while this seems to be a conscious choice, it’s a style that’s hard to relate to.
The actual gameplay goes no further than the idea of getting the three stars in each level - an exercise that’s very hard to achieve in one go. The first star (in Hitman’s case - a red badge) is guaranteed - you earn it when you complete the level. The second is usually awarded for completing the level in as few steps as possible, while the third one varies. While this gives the game plenty of replay potential, the bigger problem is that it all gets so repetitive so quickly that we struggled to remain interested after playing merely a dozen of levels. Yes, the challenges vary a bit, but none are particularly exciting or insightful. It’s true that the complexity of the game grows with time, but that’s more due to requiring an excruciatingly long path to win, rather than having exciting new challenges.
What contributes even further to the bland taste of Hitman Go is a flat soundtrack with chess-like sounds whenever you knock an opponent down. Forget about those action movies you’ve seen where the music keeps on your toes, as you follow every move of a stealth killer, who craftily sneaked into a highly protected mansion. The feeling in Hitman Go is closer to a sleepy Sunday afternoon of playing backgammon.
All in all, our journey in the shoes of the stealth killer Hitman did not feel particularly adrenaline-pumping, nor could we feel very involved as any kind of backstory is practically missing. As a board game/puzzler Hitman Go picks up in complexity and offers a decent amount of playtime, but even then it feels grossly overpriced. Should you try it? If you’re a fan of the stealth genre, you could, but be fast - you might quickly grow disappointed in it, and then - only if you’re fast enough, you could still fit in that 15-minute cash-back window on Android.
- Plenty of replay value
- Repetitive levels and gameplay that quickly gets tedious
- Grossly overpriced
- Hitman could have easily been a pawn, no backstory whatsoever
- Fake plasticky looks are hard to relate to
- Flat soundtrack