Glu Mobile plunged us into the criminal underworld with Big Time Gangsta. Now the publisher's back with Contract Killer, a free to play App that casts you as a gun-toting assassin working for a bunch of slimy lowlifes. The concept of picking off targets with a sniper rifle is a cool idea, but it's also a bit repetitive.
Half of the game takes place on a map of Central City that displays your associates and current targets. You tap an icon, accept a mission and then Contract Killer transitions to a 3D world viewed from a first person perspective.
At this point, all you need to do is locate the assigned target by lining the person up in your cross hairs (the game displays his name), zoom in and squeeze the trigger; you may have to take down some of the dead guy's thugs afterwards.
Succeed, and you receive a small amount of money as well as additional targets. You also have the option of purchasing health packs, ammo and 20 different weapons from a list that includes a shotgun, long barreled rifle and SMG.
As expected, the hardware costs a bundle, but therein lies the catch. Contract Killer is free to download, but it wants your money. Lots of it. It's the type of game (like Big Time Gangsta) built around the concept of a forked road. You can travel down the difficult path and grind things out, earning a modest sum that'll enable you to grab the best guns in, oh, a few weeks, or you can take the easier path and just buy your way through, spending real world cash to quickly obtain the incredibly expensive anti-material rifle and other items; you also have the option of downloading different Apps to earn credit.
It's an effective system, one that countless other publishers including Glu Mobile perfected. Thing is, Contract Killer gets boring quickly. The action never evolves. You just pinball back and forth across the map killing targets in the same locations. Even the criminals look alike.
On top of that, the touch screen aiming is a bit wonky, forcing us to make repeated swipes to drag the gun across the screen. It makes killing those thugs (who return fire) unnecessarily difficult.
Ultimately, Contract Killer is a decent way to pass the time, and popping someone in the head is a guilty pleasure. That said, visiting the same environments and killing people (who rarely put up a fight) slows the game's momentum. Of course, it's free to download, and who knows. Perhaps you'll discover your true calling as a virtual sniper.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
What's Hot: Assassinating fools, 20 different weapons, attractive 3D environments, free to play.
What's Not: Iffy touch controls, same old missions and locations.