The stealth puzzlers just keep on coming, apparently. Following last week’s release of Square Enix’s stunning Hitman GO, Gameblyr has introduced Third Eye Crime: Act 1 ($3). Like Hitman GO, Third Eye Crime has a distinct design, with this game going for a noir look.
Third Eye Crime lays the noir theme on thick from the get-go through an interactive comic strip scene before gameplay. Players control Rothko, a criminal who finds himself walking through various areas while picking up diamonds or other items and avoiding guards along the way. Rothko has limited telepathic abilities — hence the “third eye” in the title. Gamers can anticipate where the guards will go next. This allows Rothko, who isn’t exactly a speedster, to make his escape. If you run into a guard, you’ll have to restart the level.
Players have an overhead view of Rothko’s environment, allowing them to envision a plan for both thievery and escape. You swipe across the maze-like corridors to control Rothko’s walk, letting you create a short or long path. It’s always possible to readjust Rothko’s moves at any time — if your path is leading you into a guard, you can create a new path instantly. This sets it apart from Hitman GO, which has you move into set spaces with each turn. It’s not that one is necessarily better than the other — they’re just different, so it depends what type of style you prefer.
As Third Eye Crime progresses, more factors are added to the gameplay. Rothko can set off transponders to lure guards into other areas of the map, alarms can be triggered, and guards with guns soon make an appearance. There’s also a few powerups at Rothko’s disposal — for instance, the screen can be frozen, or he can use a speed burst. If a level’s still too tough, you can skip it, but you have to complete a certain number of levels to advance to the next area.
The game’s animations are smooth enough, and the comic strips between areas break up the gameplay nicely. There’s nothing stunning about the graphics, but they do the trick. One wishes the noir story was more engaging, but at least there’s something there.
Comparing Third Eye Crime to Hitman GO is inevitable, considering the close timing of the releases, and the many similarities of the games: Stealthily avoid guards in maze-like maps, and meet as many goals as you can to advance to new levels. At first, this seemed like a lesser imitation of Square Enix’s game — though any imitation would certainly be coincidental. But as we played on, Third Eye Crime took on a special charm of its own. There’s certainly more action here than in the Chess-like style of Hitman GO, and some gamers will likely prefer this. It lacks the same amount of polish, but it’s lots of fun. To get the full game — Act 2 and Act 3 — users will have to purchase extra $1 packs for both sets of levels. So, in the end, both Third Eye Crime and Hitman GO would cost $5. It’s hard for us to definitively pick one over the other, as Third Eye Crime joins Hitman GO as a highly recommended game.
iLounge Rating: A-