Hitman GO: Review (Android)

     In Hitman GO, Agent 47 has taken a turn for the better in being shifted to a world of turn-based minimalism for his pocket-sized adventure.  The game is a brilliant change for the Hitman series, and taking it in a completely new direction by making it a digital tabletop board game with a highly stylized look as opposed to the typical 3rd person shooter.  It also manages to maintain the stealth element of the core series perfectly with the new puzzle mechanics, intuitively adapting them into cleverly designed levels.

     Each game box represents a contract containing multiple levels in the form of individual dioramas with a specific theme, such as an airport or theater, each with their own objectives to complete.  Typically the objectives are simple, such as reach the end unseen, kill all enemies, and collect the briefcase.  Between the levels the variaty of objectives keeps it interesting, and some give small amounts of replay value when they are at odds with each other like kill all enemies versus sparing all enemies- necessitating a completely different way of completing the level's task.

     The limited range of solutions and small environments for each level at first appear to be a negative, but are turn into a grand thing in the long run.  The immediate need to use any items picked up forces players into tactical strategy on the spot.  Players must plan and work in the now, being unable to horde or save items for future use.

     I hope developer Square-Enix Montreal can expand on this formula, especially with Lara Croft GO hitting the market in a couple weeks.  Maybe shifting from the turn-based rail sliding system and give players a more expansive grid to open up a multitude of new tabletop options, and shying away from the more limited trial-and-error form of Hitman GO would be a good thing here.  Then again, maybe not.  It has a streamlined and Spartan design that is wonderfully elegant in its simplicity, and it works really, really well here.  Hitman GO is an ingenious mobile game tied to a larger series in an original way that brings in a whole new audience for a whole new experience.

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