Hitman GO [$1.99] is not what you’d expect from a title bearing the stealth series name. And at first glance, you’d probably dismiss the game as being a cheap cash-in.

But you’d be wrong. While Hitman GO shares little to its PC predecessors, it’s also a uniquely fun game with a distinct visual style, and Square Enix Montreal has done a great job on it.

You once again don the boots of Agent 47, but instead of going on third-person adventures, you’ll be playing an isometric board game in well-designed dioramas with Agent 47 and the various other characters acting as what are essentially chess pieces. Your mission is to get to the end of each level without being spotted. The game begins slowly, only requiring you to get to the finish unseen, but quickly ramps up. After not too long, the game becomes a three-star puzzler. In addition to getting to the end, you’ll have to do it in ten turns or less, while killing nobody. Or you’ll need to collect a briefcase before killing your target, in fifteen turns or less. Some missions will require a replay, as you might have an objective to kill everyone, but also to not kill anyone.

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The graphical style, and the way the game is unlocked and played, is very well done. Each mission is a set of levels, wrapped in a box like a board game. Music and sound effects aren’t spectacular, but work well to portray the game. And Ave Maria playing in the menu, just like in Hitman: Blood Money, is completely apropos to what your job as a hitman is.

There is no tutorial, but the mechanics are easily picked up. As you maneuver through each mission, by swiping Agent 47 along the board, you’ll have to contend with many obstacles, notably guards. Initially, they’ll be stationary and will be easy to kill or avoid, but later on, they will actively patrol. Sneaking up on an enemy requires you from knocking over its piece from the side or from behind; going onto a tile in front of an enemy will be the end of you. Throughout the game, you’ll have access to distractions and disguises. Sometimes they’ll be optional, mostly they’ll be necessary. Distractions, such as rocks or tennis balls, have a limited range. Throwing one at a specific tile will make all enemies head toward that tile, one move per turn. You may then need to throw another distraction to remove them from the area completely, before you’re able to go on your business. Disguises work similarily, allowing you to get to a tile in front of an enemy, which would otherwise kill you. You’ll also be able to hide in various objects, use secret pathways, and occasionally fire a sniper rifle.

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You’ll definitely need to think ahead before moving, especially when guards start patrolling and their positions change erratically. But like other turn-based games, they’ll only move once you do, so you can sort of plan your route. Sadly, there is no way to undo a move, so if you make a mistake that will cost you an objective, you’ll need to restart the whole mission. There is also a hint system which will guide you, but you get limited hints and will have to purchase more, with real money.

Hitman GO comes with five boards, the first of which is available, and the remaining four needing to be unlocked by earning Hitman icons (read: one to three stars). If you don’t want to unlock them through the normal course of play, you can purchase them with real money, for $0.99 each. As mentioned previously, you can also purchase hints. The best part of the IAP in Hitman GO is that it is completely optional; you do not need hints to complete the game (if you’re that stuck, Google it), and you will unlock each board by just playing. This is a great use of IAP in a premium game.

There are no leaderboards and no multiplayer, but there are 24 achievements to unlock, including one that requires you to use 100 turns in a single level, appropriately named the Time Waster achievement.

Hitman GO is one of those unique games that takes the name of a popular series, sticks it onto a game that is not at all similar to its namesake, and winds up being good. The missions are well thought out, and despite some ridicuously easy ones, there are some very difficult ones that’ll require lots of forethought. There are no paywalls to enjoying the game, and as a puzzler, it stands very well on its own.

TouchArcade Rating

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  • TigerBoat

    Cool! Now where's my Yomi review?? :)

  • lr1919

    Seriously? I saw the screens and read the description and thought this would be horrible. Thanks for the review, I may have to check it out.

    • Gabriel.Voyager

      You have a real eagle eye for good game ;)

  • Darnoc

    Wow! I may just have to pick this up!

  • uFinKnow

    We'll Deserved. This is an Amazing game. Don't hesitate buying. You get a ton of content for the higher price. Worth every dollar. Great game.

    • Phenomen

      Agree. I'm not huge fan of puzzle game but Hitman has some really clever design and nice visuals.

  • Eseres

    This game is ver good actually. It might not be of the classic shooter -style games, but it is a very cool Hitman -style puzzle game.

    I say you should give it a try if already haven't.

  • chamillion205

    If u are even remotely interested in this game.... BUY IT. It's a great board/puzzle game.

  • Based Xatu

    I hope Square is giving us this game to prep us for a real iOS Hitman game. I wasn't sure if I was going to get this, but the review changed my mind.

  • iValerio1990

    disguise confirmed. really good game.

    • markymarkanddafunkybunch

      That's debatable. It's ok. Glorified robbery bob game

      • basil

        Debatable bob

  • Flare_TM

    Really pleased with this score, can't wait to play

  • curtneedsaride

    Well, I would have rather played a full 3D Hitman game on my iPhone, or a port like Hitman 2... OR at least this game with all the levels based on darker, more atmospheric levels in Hitman 2, Hitman Contracts, and Hitman: Bloodmoney. But, for a board game/puzzler, this game is well-made and pretty entertaining. Bought it just to further support these high quality titles. Don't expect too much support... Most of SE games don't get it. But even one or two updates would be more than I expect.

  • CooleTeeps

    I've never actually played any Hitman games but this looks like a great puzzle game.

  • SupportByFire

    I really like the art style. Never played one of the Hitman titles before and I haven't really followed that universe, but I will have to check this one out.

    • markymarkanddafunkybunch

      Save your money. It's nothing special. Looks great but is just moving back and forth until there's an opening to go through a door.

      • Nick

        Is there any help to constantly dissuade people from the game?

        I get stating your opinion, but continuously replying to people in order to tell them it's not a good game is a little... Well, silly.

        There are gameplay videos along with many reviews for people to compare. At the very least, stop stating what you're saying as fact. There are better ways to do things.

      • SwithNova

        Actually for the smart people of TA we know that when it comes to puzzle games high scorers are gonna usually go to that genre why because they favor them more wether it's crap or not I said this game was a waist of money then when it was announced and I'm going to say that it is still a waist of money now square enix can't get ports right and as a result I'm not going to get the bald ba agent 47 that I'm used to so they go with a puzzle game something ios can handle then you wonder why people don't take ios seriously

      • mooiemooie

        I'm guessing the actual smart people of TA know how to spell "waste" and what a run-on sentence is.

      • Nick

        So wait, you haven't even played this and you're just announcing it as a "waist"?

        Maybe you should look into taking some refresher English classes.

      • SwithNova

        Typical racist American you must not realize that not all ta users are from your country but hey you know what they say about people who assume crap I'm sorry fanboy from the bottom of my heart now tell me are you people always dushbags?

      • jgau

        So the typical American is a racist now? Wow, that's just great! It appears that you are the one making assumptions here, friend. I mean, obviously we Americans are all racists and "dushbags". Nice job showing off your critical thinking skills. I'm sure that everyone here is quite impressed.

      • Foghorn Irrascible

        Aww markymark got buyers remorse lol

  • mariosos

    I was so disappointed when I saw the trailer! Even now I have no interest in it. Perhaps if they gave us a demo I might try it but otherwise no thanks.

  • worldcitizen1919

    Spot on TA. Glad I didn't listen to all the wingers that this was not a Hitman game. It's an excellent use of the franchise to bring us two elements of Hitman - stealth and assassinate! I gave it 10/10 great minds think alike!

    • mariosos

      Stealth and assassinate could be said for so many games! Would you have even noticed this game without the Hitman liscene?

      • basil

        Who care

      • SwithNova

        It's cares basil get your punctuation correct

      • basil

        Thakn

  • tsargeant3012

    Really tough time this game is having. Lots of people complaining it's not a 'proper' hitman game. But without the license, it could easily be missed. As it is, great little game. Puzzle/board game and tons of atmosphere. Easy buy.

  • spike17spiegel

    Awesome game, been playing all day. Really good presentation and great gameplay. Really wish it had cloud saving though...maybe in the future!

  • tomj315

    Awesome game! And looks really pretty

  • basil

    Anyone know where the song in the launch trailer came from?

    • basil

      It's the in game music by Pixel Audio

  • thestapler

    this better win ALL of the design awards. including the Oscars.

  • http://www.franklinmcmahon.com Franklin McMahon

    Looks cool..does anyone know if it supports iCloud saves?

  • acvarlik

    I'm surprised to see 5 stars... I was waiting for this game "a turn based hitman" sounds awesome but this is not what i expected...

  • mzinn

    Not at all what i expected but after playing it I have to say I really like it. After the first 2 levels i was thinking it was ok but after getting through the next few levels i found myself loving all aspects of the game. Its a classic trial & error stealth game. I have gotten used to the minimalist approach & find the game fascinating. You have to sit back & watch the movements to gain insight & finally make your moves. Very cool game. While i hate the use of "3 stars" in games i really like what they did here. You can go back & get the missing one by itself & thus gain another "star" or achievement and not jeopardize the two you already have. That really helps you get the numbers you need to open the next game box.

Hitman GO Reviewed by James Paterson on . Rating: 5