Jul 14, 2011

Contract Killer

If you've been reading MeAndMyDroid.com for long you know that sniper games are high on my list when it comes to shooters. I much prefer the silent, strategic kill versus the frantic, running, and jumping kill. Contract Killer is all about the snipe...

Contract Killer, from Glu Mobile, is a sniping game turned RPG with a lot of story, the need to purchase and upgrade equipment, and it's not on rails (at least not entirely). You are given assignments that involve killing some kingpin at a known location in the city and perhaps some additional instructions such as the need to eliminate all of his henchmen as well. Multiple points will be highlighted on the map making it easy to find your destination, but also opening things up such as gathering information and finding new jobs.

Game controls are often the crux of success or failure in a sniping game. Contract Killer relies entirely on the touch screen. Once you click on a point in the city and choose to go there you will be positioned on a building overlooking a small section of the city. Touching/dragging on the touch screen allows you to pan your eyes looking for criminals. Once you've found a location you want to zoom in on with your rifle there's a button you click and you can continue to touch/drag to zone in on a 'soon to be' dead body. When targeting people the game will let you know who they are so as to help you avoid gunning down an innocent civilian. Then it's as simple as tapping fire. Depending on the scenario, your mission may then be complete or other enemies may scatter and start firing on you so you'll need quick reflexes and steady aim to avoid being filled with lead. You can also buy and use med packs to heal yourself.

The graphics and sound are solid and while the controls aren't perfect they do work pretty well. I'd have liked an option where the accelerometer would allow me to, at a minimum, fine tune my aim. As it is I have to click on one side to zoom in and then drag around followed by the other side to fire. Sometimes it feels more like I'm painting than sniping. And there are no options to adjust the controls.

As you kill your targets you earn money to buy new stuff from the store (which is another location on the map). And after playing for awhile the game starts becoming repetitive which makes the story line feel less like an adventure and more like an afterthought. The names of my victims and the places I am to travel get lost behind the arcade action of sniping.

The game also features a virtual money element (in addition to being ad supported) in which you can convert your real cash into money to buy in game items faster. I really don't see a need for that. What's the point in buying progress in a game? Are we supposed to just want to play it to progress? I'm also reading some claims that the 'real cash to virtual cash' is misleading and that eventually you HAVE to pay. I've played for about an hour or so and just started up again to verify my facts for this review and have not hit that point. I also don't really have any desire to do so.

qrcodeContract Killer is a well done game, but it feels like it's missing something to put it over the top. The controls could be a little more integrated and perhaps the missions a bit more varied if they really want the 'adventure' element to play a part in the game. Add some search and rescue... add some more variety. A game in which every mission comes down to killing a handful of people from similar looking roof tops probably should be left alone as just an arcade game. The game does have its shiny spots. Shooting the bad guys in the leg can allow them to limp off and escape your wrath, but all in all I'm just left wanting more. 3.5/5 stars.

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