The long-running Hitman series has been completely reworked for this new iPhone and iPad release. Hitman GO ditches the console-style 3D action for a turn-based strategy format based around board game environments and Subbuteo-inspired characters.

It's not going to grab everyone by the water chestnuts, but if Hitman GO does get you, you'll be gripped from start to finish.

Hitman GO: how it works

We don't really know what the plot is, but it's something about infiltrating a big posh complex – probably a drug baron's lair or something. It doesn't matter. What does matter is how the game works. There's no scrolling; instead the game world is broken down into screen-sized chunks of static, slightly rotatable isometrica.

The idea is to get to a specific exit point on each screen via grid-like paths that are mapped out on the ground. A flick of your baldie-bonced avatar advances him one position in your chosen direction around the "board". This cross between a tap and a swipe isn't the most graceful control mechanic but you get used to it.

Pssst! You're dead.

Bad guys are placed at predetermined points on the pathways. You can opt to avoid them or bump them off (quite literally) for extra kudos. These poor souls suffer from terrible tunnel vision, which allows you to sneak up on them from a 90-degree angle as well as from behind.

You can also distract them and alter their course by picking up rocks and throwing them in certain directions. When you move, they move, so sometimes you might need to bounce back and forth between two safe points in order to shuffle the enemies into the required positions. Bonus objects can also be collected or ignored, depending on how clever you're feeling.

It's the thought that counts

That's about the size of it. Things get more complex and other weapons such as guns come into play as you progress. Once you get the hang of the logic you'll be able to size up any new screen and play through it in your head – at least for the first few moves – before you make your gambit and do it for real. That's where the appeal lies. There's no time limit, so you can sit and plan your game in your own time, rubbing your hands with a sinister glee when you figure out the perfect route. Hints are available too. You get a few for free but if you need more help you can make in-app purchases for level skips, walkthroughs and extra hints (or you could just have a look on YouTube, like you would if you were stuck on any other game).

Hitman GO review summary

Hitman GO is no stunner but there's a certain panache to the visuals – kind of like The Sims does Cluedo. Anyone hoping for frenzied knife attacks and Uzi bloodbaths will have to look elsewhere for their daily dose of death, but if you're after some considered, unflustered strategy for those moments of downtime, Hitman GO has you in its sights.

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Stuff says... 

App of the week: Hitman GO review

A super-tidy strategy game that gets stickier the more you play it