Ok so Hitman Go is a mobile game. We can imagine that would stir up a bunch of prejudices in most gamers but bear with it, this is a mobile game that works just as well (if not better) on PC as it ever did on handheld devices.
Hitman Go is a puzzle game dressed in a Hitman skin. While you will be sniping, wearing costumes, and carrying out assassinations on everyone from mobsters to the clergy, it doesn’t work in remotely the same way as it does in the main series. Instead you are on a game board (lovingly realised with mahogany edges and little adorning plaques with the level number on it) and there are definite, easy to understand rules that manage everything. You are left to work out these rules by yourself but they essentially boil down to: everything moves only when you do. Different guards move in different ways. Things can be thrown to create distractions. Weapons will let you kill someone. Disguises let you slip by people with that uniform unnoticed. It’s all quite simple but as more and more possibilities and options present themselves it becomes devilishly complicated. Usually it’s fairly simple to complete each board but once you factor in the three extra objectives for each (usually along the lines of kill everyone or complete in a certain number of turns) it becomes much harder.
Unlike some other puzzle games, there’s really very few ways you can move on each turn so it’s possible to do some of the easier levels by trial and error. Where the game really plays off though is when you study a level closely then develop a meticulous plan. When this happens it really begins to feel like Hitman and a smooth run becomes a beautifully orchestrated piece of clockwork, with each piece moving exactly the way you want until you reach your goal.
The presentation of the whole game is flawless. The chapter select is presented as individual board game boxes, every character as a piece from some luxurious set, there’s even accompanying wooden sounds as things move and the hauntingly beautiful subdued operatic music that seeps into the game just as you’re beginning to focus. It’s hard to imagine how a Hitman puzzle game could possibly be any better.
At£5.19 at the time of writing (or the usual price of £6.49) Hitman Go is an absolute steal for puzzle fans, and until Lara Croft Go makes it to Steam, there’s really nothing else like it.