“ Manufacturer: Triniti Interactive Limited / Type: Game / Platform: iPhoneOS „
Hired gun is yet another sub-standard game that has been released by Triniti interactive on the iOS market. There have been multiple games released by the company involving the same stick characters, all have been fairly poor and Hired gun is sadly no exception.
You can tell that Hired gun is trying to adapt a comic book style, like the stark black and white art of Frank Miller's Sin City series. This is complimented by the music track and the seedy street view that you are searching for your target in.
The only spots of colour in the game are in your scope and the blood of your targets, which are both a vibrant red, everything else is back and white. The visuals of the game are not amazing but equally they are on par with most app games. The loading sounds and the sound of your gun firing are very much what you would expect and the soundtrack does its job.
Where this game fails is the control mechanism and the ludicrous time limit in which you have to kill all of your targets.
In the game you see a street with lots of people moving about within it, some in buildings others outside. In the corner you have a picture of what all of your targets look like. Every stickman has a hat by which you can identify them. There are nine targets that you must kill on your first level and all are wearing the same hat.
To do this task you only have a mere 60 seconds. While this may be possible if you were able to quickly snap to your targets you cannot. In order to line up a shot you must move your cursor slowly and lazily in line with your target, by which time they have moved on. At this point you are faced with a choice, wait and see if he comes back or try and find another target.
No matter your decision you will either lose to much time waiting around or have to come back and kill the guy anyway, hoping that he is back when you next visit.
If you do pass somehow you get to progress, however if you fail your score is based on how many targets you killed in what time. For every target you kill you gain seconds and time, for ever civilian you kill you lose both seconds and time. It is all very basic and if it was smoother it has the potential to be a fun little game.
If being a hit man is your thing, check out Contract Killer, which does this simulation more justice than Hired Gun, Contract Killer is also free, so you will be saving yourself time and disappointment. Removing the slow and frustrating game play and replacing it with achievements, leaderboards and level progression, as well as varied missions.
Even though Hired gun has style, no game can ever receive a good rating if it fails at actually being playable, let alone an enjoyable experience.
This review also features on my blog http://appkingdom.blogspot.com/
Hired Gun is one of the simplest iPhone games I have seen for a while. This can be a double-edged sword: a simple game, well implemented can be incredibly addictive (see Orbital); or it can indicate an underdeveloped concept lacking any long-term appeal. So, is Hired Gun worth the 59p asking price?
The game sees you taking control of an assassin, who is hired to wipe out the enemies of a mysterious business man. You must use your sniper rifle to assassinate a number of identified targets within a set time limit.
Sounds exciting, eh? Full of daring roof-top chases, cat-and-mouse strategic battles and cunning kill shots. The reality is slightly more boring. You get to watch a series of stick men, wander across the roads or through the buildings of a static cityscape wearing hats of different colours and different styles (trilbies, baseball caps etc.). Your challenge on each level, is to assassinate a number of enemies wearing a certain style and colour of hat. Shoot the right target and you will be given a few more precious seconds; hit the wrong one and you are docked valuable time, making your task even harder.
Although initial presentation is disappointing (a title screen with no music and where the only options are to turn sound on/off), things soon pick up. The graphics in the main game are actually pretty good. Although mostly monochrome, this actually gives the game a slightly seedy feel, which is perfectly suited to the slightly sordid game play. Although basic, the stick figures have quite a bit of character (some flip a coin in the air or talk on their phones) which also adds some much needed graphical variety. The hats sported by these characters are generally distinctive and easy to make out, too, which is a good job, since they are so essential to the game. Better still, when you shoot someone, they explode in a shower of blood which, if you are of a certain frame of mind, is quite good fun.
Certainly, the subject matter is slightly distasteful. After all, killing people is not exactly a nice past time and whilst the graphics are very cartoon-like in nature, the game does show a certain amount of sick glee in the amount of blood which is shed when you shoot someone. Thanks to its cartoon-style, the game just about gets away with this, although not everyone will appreciate its slightly sick style.
Sound-wise, things are more disappointing. As already noted, the title page is displayed in silence, whilst in-game action is accompanied by some cheesy music which grates after about ten seconds of game time (I always turn it off). Sound effects are slightly better. Your gun gives off a pleasingly meaty "bang" when you fire and your victims emit a satisfying dying scream before expiring in a pool of the red stuff. The game over screen also has a rather good tune (and graphics).
Sadly, it's the way the game has been implemented that severely cripples it. The time limit is very strict and, even allowing for the fact that you are awarded a few extra seconds for each successful kill, levels can be very tricky to complete. If you kill the wrong person (and get a time penalty), you can pretty much kiss goodbye to any hope of completing the level on that go.
Worse still, on each level, you have to kill a set number of people wearing the headgear you've been told about. However, the game's AI is rather weak and how often the targets you need appear appears very arbitrary. Sometimes, two or three will appear simultaneously, giving you no chance to get them all; then you might face a long wait of 10-15 seconds before another suitable target appears. This results in a lot of frustrating waiting around where there is absolutely nothing you can do to make progress.
Frustratingly, even when the right target does appear, it sometimes does so in a location which makes it virtually impossible to hit. Targets might appear in a very small window in a building. By the time you have spotted them, targeted your gun and found the trigger, they have wandered out of view again. Your chance is lost and once more, all you can do is wait.
Combine this with the poorly implemented controls and Hired Gun's problems really start to mount. It's almost as though the authors deliberately thought up the worst possible combination of controls and then used them.
On paper, they don't sound too bad. You can switch between two views: the normal view of the city and the view through the scope of your rifle. Once the scope is selected, there are just two buttons to worry about - the left one holds your gun steady (since it sweeps from side to side by default) the right one fires the bullet. Meanwhile the iPhone's build in accelerometers are used to tilt the phone so that you can keep the target in your sights.
Here's how it works in practice, however. When you spot your target, tap the screen to go into sniper mode. Now, you view will be limited to a small circle, showing a magnified view. To get a hit, you need to tilt the phone until the target is centred on your victim. This is no easy feat, since both target and gun sight move constantly and it's very difficult to judge exactly how far you should tilt the phone. Next, you have to hit the Stop button to hold your gun still (although in practice, you can get away with not doing this). Finally, hit the trigger. By the time you've done all this, the chances are your target has wandered out of range.
It gets worse. The fire button requires absolute precision to activate. If you miss it just slightly, one of two things happens. If you're lucky, no shot is fired, which at least gives you a second chance; if you're unlucky, the iPhone interprets this slight misplaced tap as an instruction that you want to come out of sniper mode and return to the standard view of the city, leaving you gnashing your teeth in frustration.
Even if you're prepared to put up with these annoyances, Hired Gun really does not offer much in terms of long-term game play. The only graphical variety between levels is that there are about three different views of the city to act as backdrops to the action. Similarly, the levels soon get very samey. The only difference in later levels is that you have to assassinate more targets and they walk fast, making them harder to hit.
Not a recommended download, even at 59p.
(c) Copyright SWSt 2010