Version Reviewed: 2.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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Stealth sections in games are notoriously difficult to get right. Stick too closely to realism and the game loses its sense of fun, stray too far away and things get frustratingly fantastical. Throw in the complications of different weapons and button combos and things can get very annoying. Stealth Assassin dispenses with a lot of this and while it's a quite simple stealth based game, it sticks to the foundations of what's needed and proves to be quite a satisfying challenge.
Each level is presented from a top down perspective. It's simply animated with walls either grey, brown or a mixture of the two. The black, ninja like figure is the player while the green figure is the target and blues are guards. Almost Pac-Man like, the player must avoid all the blue guards in their quest to reach the target. Be spotted by a guard and they start shooting and running much faster. It's possible to withstand a couple of bullets but not many. Reach the target and nothing more than simply running into it is required. The actual assassination is far from the most important part of this game, it's more about remaining undetected.
Once the hit has been made, the player has to run back to a portal that only opens up when the target has been killed. Like the rest of the game, this portal's location is random meaning sometimes it's easy and sometimes it's in the most awkward place possible. Similarly, the guards are random in their route, too. This creates a slightly uneven difficulty curve as, at times, later levels can be easier than earlier ones, as it all comes down to what mood the guards appear to be in that time.
Stealth Assassin does get difficult, though. While the Easy stages are, predictably, easy, later stages add more guards making it much harder. By that time, though, the player will have figured out appropriate strategies so it's quite a smooth learning curve.
Controls are simple with a virtual joystick providing the bulk of the actions. This does get in the way at times, but it's far from a deal breaker. A speed up action and cloaking move can also be initiated with the latter proving particularly important. Replayability comes in the form of a series of achievements that can be unlocked, once a level has been completed unseen and unhurt. This isn't linked to Game Center achievements but it's still a nice move.
Simple to look at, Stealth Assassin might not look immediately beguiling but it's a highly enjoyable experience and one that's perfectly priced.