Hitman Go is a turn-based puzzle game developed by Square Enix Montréal and originally published by Square Enix via Apple’s App Store on April 17, 2014. Players use touch controls to guide Hitman franchise protagonist Agent 47 through numerous grid-based levels presented in a minimalist style reminiscent of a vintage board game. The game’s characters are represented by board game counters which act by turns, and the player’s piece must evade or eliminate several different types of color-coded enemies in order to complete various objectives.
Hitman Go was later released for Android and Windows Phone mobile devices, as well as the Windows 8 Store. A version for the Amazon App Store was ported by illogika Studios.
The game received a “Definitive Edition” release in 2016 for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, as well as Linux and Windows via Steam. This version includes upgraded visuals, all prior DLC, and a modified control scheme suited for either gamepad-style controllers or a mouse. A “VR Edition” was released the same year for Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR virtual reality devices.
The basic gameplay of Hitman Go can be described as a grid-based clockwork puzzle viewed from a top-down perspective. Players must reach each level’s goal point, a fixed node usually positioned at the opposite end of the playing grid, in order to progress to the next level. Character movement is turn-based and restricted to the grid’s paths and nodes. During their turn, the player’s piece may move once between two connected nodes and, when applicable, make use of certain objects. Any remaining NPCs on the grid act simultaneously once the player has finished their turn.
Nearly all of the game’s levels contain a number of enemy pieces which must be either evaded or removed from play in order to reach the goal. Enemies can be eliminated by moving onto an enemy’s currently occupied node in a fashion similar to chess. However, if an enemy piece moves onto the player’s occupied node during its turn, the game is over. In certain levels, the goal is an assassination target that must be eliminated.
Successfully completing a level awards players with a Hitman logo stamp, and accruing these stamps eventually unlocks additional multi-level campaigns for play. After completing a handful of the game’s initial levels, the player can begin fulfilling optional secondary objectives in order to earn up to three stamps per level. Such objectives include completing a level without killing any guards, finishing the level under a specified number of moves, or acquiring a briefcase located within the level.
As the player progresses, several new mechanics are introduced that add further gameplay wrinkles. Potted plants can be used as hiding spots, litter can be thrown to distract and change the movement patterns of enemies, and new types of enemies eventually appear with their own unique behaviors. Agent 47 can also make use of a sniper rifle and his iconic twin “Silverballer” pistols to eliminate foes at range in certain levels.
Information is typically conveyed to the player in a visual language without written text, aside from the list of optional objectives for each level. Additional mechanics are introduced throughout the game, sometimes requiring trial-and-error on the player’s part to understand a new mechanic’s role in completing the level. Fortunately, the majority of the game’s levels are relatively small to encourage experimentation.
There are ten types of enemies in Hitman Go. Just like the player’s piece, all NPCs are represented as figurines with a circular base. However, enemy pieces also include a triangular pointer on their base indicating their line of sight or movement direction. Enemies will generally only attack if Agent 47 crosses their path or line of sight, which in most cases is limited to adjacent nodes.
- Static (Blue) – The most basic enemy type, Static guards stand still on their assigned node and face a single direction.
- Patrol (Yellow) – These guards move once between two nodes each turn, and always in a straight line. When a Patrol guard reaches the end of the line, he will spin around 180 degrees and head back in the opposite direction.
- Turn (Teal) – Like Static guards, these knife-wielding enemies remain on their assigned node, but they also spin around 180 degrees each turn.
- Pair (Grey) – A pair of guards standing back-to-back in a fixed position, giving them two lines of sight in opposite directions.
- Shield (Blue/Grey) – Static guards with large riot shields that protect them from ranged attacks.
- March (Red/Olive) – While similar to Patrol guards in their behavior, these soldiers march along a set rectangular route instead of only moving back and forth in a straight line.
- Dog (Brown/Black) – Guard dogs begin as static enemies, but they can detect Agent 47 from two nodes away in a straight line. Once a dog has been alerted, it will chase the player until it is either distracted by a noise or thrown off by escaping through a trap door.
- Sniper (Orange/Olive) – A static guard type armed with a rifle that will fire on Agent 47 if he crosses their long line of sight, which is indicated by a red laser. Other enemies can temporarily block a Sniper’s sight line.
- Flashlight (Navy) – Like Patrol guards, these enemies move back and forth along a straight path. However, they also carry flashlights which are always aimed to their right, giving them two lines of sight separated by ninety degrees.
- Target (Red) – Special VIPs that appear in certain levels and must be eliminated. Targets are essentially defenseless by themselves and rely on guards for protection.