As the mobile game industry continues to grow at a rapid pace, more and more big-name video game companies are bringing their talents to the “small screen.” Nintendo has recently green-lighted a Mario game for the iOS, called Super Mario Run, which is an unusual move by a company known to be protective of their intellectual properties. Bethesda has also released the hit game Fallout Shelter, based on the critically acclaimed Fallout series. Over the past two years, we’ve had several games that came out of similarly popular franchises, too, which are essentially on-the-go versions of games in their respective franchises. Let’s take a look at four of these games.
Hitman Go (2014)
Hitman Go, as the title implies, is a mobile game installment in the Hitman series. Unlike the succeeding games in this article, Hitman Go arguably differs the most from its parent series. The main games in the series centers on an action-adventure gameplay where you control a professional assassin named Agent 47 to take down designated targets. But you don’t just grab a sniper and take out targets from afar. Instead, you are given a lot of freedom to be creative with your kills. You can set up elaborate traps to make the kill seem like an “accident.”
That creativity with the kills, however, was stripped away from Hitman Go. The game is now a turn-based puzzle game where you move Agent 47 in a grid populated by nodes. You move one node at a time, and enemies around the map similarly move (although some of them are just stationary). The game is presented in levels, and as you progress, the difficulty of the puzzles also increment. Some levels simply require you to head for the exit, while some require you to eliminate a designated target first.
There are many elements housed within the levels, such as trapdoors; disguises that allow you to walk past enemies; keys that are required for the exit; and of course, guns that you can use to take out targets from a distance. If you want to challenge yourself, you can follow the bonus objectives set in each level. Like arriving at the exit point without any casualties (you take out enemies by approaching their node). Although it’s the least spectacular-looking compared to the next two games in this article, Hitman Go offers the most challenge.
Lara Croft Go (2015)
Lara Croft Go hails from the Tomb Raider series, spearheaded by the most popular female protagonist in video game history: Lara Croft (obviously). Although more limited, Lara Croft Go features the same core gameplay seen in the series, which is marked by puzzle solving and raiding tombs and ruins for artifacts.
In Lara Croft Go, you control the titular character in a board game-like environment with interconnected nodes or dots. The goal is to move from one “screen” to the next until the end of the level. Along the way, you’ll encounter traps like broken floors or walls and boulders which, of course, you must avoid. In some instances, you are first required to activate a switch or lever to create a path. As you progress through levels, the environment gets more and more challenging. The game only has 40 levels, though, which is either good news or bad news depending on how you see the game.
Levels are also filled with enemies in the form of animals like giant snakes and lizards. Every time you move, these enemies similarly move in a specific pattern. You can collect weapons scattered around levels, like spears, which you can use to kill enemies. However, they can only be used once. Thankfully, Lara can also kill enemies by either creeping up to their side or behind. All in all, Lara Croft Go is more focused on puzzle solving and less on exploration and combat like the series’ main games, although it’s a bit easy compared to Hitman Go despite the more varied environments.
Deus Ex Go (2016)
Deus Ex Go (from the Deus Ex series) is very similar to Hitman Go and Lara Croft Go, which isn’t really all that surprising: they share the same developer. The game features the same turn-based puzzle solving gameplay. However, Deus Ex Go is the most varied of all three based solely on the interconnected dots or nodes in each level. But not in terms of level complexity which Lara Croft Go is best at. The lines that connect the nodes now come in a hexagonal form, instead of the usual horizontal and vertical lines.
That means that you and your enemies have more room to operate in, which makes it harder to anticipate the latter’s movements. Similar to Lara Croft Go, you can take down enemies from behind and the sides. But now, you can avoid them entirely by picking up a power-up item that grants invisibility. Deus Ex Go similarly features traps and other obstacles like gun turrets. Additionally, the game challenges you to complete levels in a set number of turns. This doesn’t you grant any noteworthy rewards, though, aside from bragging rights.
The game separates itself from the other Go games, including the next one on this list, by featuring a puzzle design mode where you can create small-scale puzzles that other players can attempt to solve. Essentially, that adds a multiplayer aspect to the game, although not in the traditional sense. And combined with the game’s 55 main levels and weekly levels, Deus Ex Go easily offers the most replay value.
Pokemon Go (2016)
The last but not the least, and definitely the most popular of the bunch, is the augmented reality game from Niantic. This game needs little introduction, to be honest. Not with the way it climbed to the top of the mobile game industry in just a short amount of time. Although the game still has the same “catch ‘em all” premise, Pokemon Go is a drastically different Pokemon game.
The game has an oversimplified battle system, which is actually more interactive compared to the menu-based system in the main Pokemon games. You either tap or tap-hold on the screen to execute a Pokemon’s move. However, each Pokemon can only carry two unchangeable moves, which lessens the strategy factor. Wild Pokemon battles were also removed, with battles now exclusively taking place in Gyms.
Pokemon Go omitted the traditional Pokemon stats in favor of new ones, namely Trainer Level, Combat Power (CP) and…that’s pretty much it. Abilities, Natures, Genders – they’re all thrown out the window. If you’re not really into competitive battling and only care about catching all Pokemon, then that’s good news for you.
After rising to the top in an unprecedented rate, Pokemon Go has seen a decline in popularity over the last few weeks due to the apparent lack of content. However, Niantic successfully reeled back players with the recently concluded Halloween special event. And with the new Daily Quests feature rolling out, it sure looks like Pokemon Go is now turning the corner in terms of gaming experience.
There you have it; four games hailing from popular franchises. Yes, three of the games come from a single house (Square Enix). But it’s not like other franchises are making any real effort to import their properties to the mobile gaming scene. Actually, Square Enix is one of the more active in that regard. They also have Kingdom Hearts Unchained χ and the horde of Final Fantasy games out in the market. Hopefully, other big-name developers/publishers will follow suit soon to give us more “go” games.