Version Reviewed: 1.2.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
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If you had to imagine what a sniper game on iOS would play like, Hitman: Sniper is almost exactly like what most would expect. It uses a first-person perspective, with players zooming in and out over an environment and taking out targets as necessary. Although much of Hitman: Sniper is very expected - and it has major-sounding drawbacks like only one level - there's so much more than meets the eye that makes it more than the sum of its parts.
Just like other entries in the series, players step into the shoes of elite assassin Agent 47. Unlike other entries, Agent 47 isn't sneaking around environments garroting people and pushing them down elevator shafts. Instead, armed with a sniper rifle, he is tasked with taking out high-profile targets discreetly from a distance.
The size and complexity of Hitman: Sniper's single environment is part of what keeps the game from feeling stale quickly. To stay true to the "murder puzzle" design philosophy that we've come to know and love, the environment features a lot of targets going about their business in a large complex with interactive elements that can be used to dispatch them in a variety of ways. For example, there are fuse boxes that can distract guards before being blown up, glass balconies that can be shot out as a target leans on it, and more. Of course players can also opt to shoot targets directly, which is sometimes the most prudent approach for the situation since each run centers around a specific target and operates under a time limit.
As players complete missions, the conditions for killing targets will change as well. Players could jump into each match and kill the special target immediately, but their overall score would be pretty low and their objectives would stay the same on the next run. What really gives Hitman: Sniper its legs are its killing conditions, which both serve to teach players new ways of interacting with the environment and challenges them to try more difficult feats of marksmanship.
Hitman: Sniper's guns also help create variety. All of the in-game weapons come with specific sets of skills that can change up how players approach a given run, which can vary between extra wall-penetrating strength or a perception ability that highlights all of the things Agent 47 can shoot. As players complete contracts they gain access to new guns, but it kind of stinks that unlocked guns require quite a bit of upgrading before feeling comparable to any upgraded guns already earned.
Aiming and shooting within a single environment avoids being bland because Hitman: Sniper has a lot of variety packed into its details. The leaderboard system, unlock tree, and mission structure all keep things interesting. Though the single level could be a sticking point, having one environment allows players to get better at the game, which makes the leaderboards more interesting and - more importantly - lets players feel more like Agent 47 each time they play.