The birds may be angry and the piggies may be bad, but those stalwarts of mobile gaming look like pussycats next to the stickman sniper antihero of Clear Vision 2.
Currently one of the top-selling games in the iTunes App Store and recently released for Android devices via Google Play, Clear Vision 2 is a rarity among smartphone games: very violent, and very popular.
Well, perhaps violence is in the eye – or rifle scope – of the beholder. Like the sleeper hit first game released a year ago, Clear Vision 2’s assassin, victims and secondary characters are all represented by stickmen (or stickwomen) whose heads just happen to erupt in gouts of gooey blood when their brains are lacerated by bullets.
Players once again assume the role of Tyler, a hitman-for-hire who is searching for his kidnapped wife. Tyler takes on contracts sent to him through email, most of which involve scanning an environment through an on-screen rifle scope, taking into account distance and wind, and eliminating a target with a single, perfect headshot.
Fans of the first Clear Vision will find more of the same here, with slightly enhanced stick-visuals, a more ambitious (although not necessarily better) storyline and a wider selection of rifles to buy with cash earned from successful hits.
The game follows a similar progression as the original, with the assassinations becoming more and more tricky to pull off. An early mission might have you shooting a relatively close-range target, but later on you’ll have to identify the correct person and account for extreme distance and high winds. On one particular assassination, in which you have to take out a dude on his own front lawn, you’ll be aiming so far to the left to account for the wind that the target is no longer even visible in the rifle’s scope.
It’s all comically macabre and simple to a fault, although Clear Vision 2 tries to sweeten the pot a bit with very simple stock trading and fight club minigames. But just when you think you’ve settled into a groove and got a great handle on your sniping techniques: boom, it’s over.
In fact, Clear Vision 2 almost feels unfinished. The large city map and hugely expanded stock of rifles available suggest you’re in for a much longer experience this time around, but it all ends with a weirdly shoehorned-in first-person shootout, after which the plot is tied up and credits roll.
It might be silly to whine about a 99-cent game only offering an hour or two of enjoyment, but look at the aforementioned Angry Birds – for a measly loonie, that thing kept me entertained for weeks.
If you liked assassinating stickfolk in the original Clear Vision, you’ll enjoy this, too. But it’s too bad Clear Vision 2 didn’t aim a little higher, because this one feels like a bit of a miss.