Despite what Hollywood would have us believe, we imagine that the life of a sniper is not an entirely happy one. Think about it; you spend most of your life perched on uncomfortable rooftops or holed up in dingy rooms, straining to locate moving targets that may never appear, unable to move lest you compromise the shot or, worse still, get spotted. What’s more, if you do actually get a shot off, you’re never going to get that much credit for it. No wonder so many ex-special forces guys become trained assassins in the movies, at least you get paid well for your pains!
Fortunately, Silent Scope chooses to simulate an abridged version of the sharp-shooter’s life, placing you in a series of scenes in which you have mere seconds to pick off terrorist threats or targets. There’s a variety of game styles to engage, from the default ‘story’ mode where you face progressively tougher terrorist threats within a tower block, to ‘time attack’ and ‘perfect shot’ that are straight out of a fairground shooting gallery. In each case the controls are the same: you have two types of gun sight, one wide-focus which allows you to quickly scan the target area using the direction buttons (a process helped by the exclamation marks that accompany a new target’s arrival) and a second, zoomed-in mode which you use to actually pick off the enemies. The system is simple and works well on just about any handset, providing a progressively taxing challenge to your reactions whilst allowing for some subtlety in the shape of extra points and accuracy scores for shots to the noggin. Additional pressure is heaped onto your shoulders by the fact that the targets shoot back if you take too long to pick them off (again this is indicated by the box around them turning red).
All the game modes are short-enough to squeeze into any pocket gaming moment and all the essentials are in place for Silent Scope to deliver a bloody great mobile experience, yet disappointingly it doesn’t quite hit the target. This is, in part, due to the decidedly drab feel to the game, both in terms of the lacklustre menus and mission debriefing screens. Matters aren’t helped by the basic visuals in game, but to be honest the real problem here is an almost complete lack of depth. Where the original console version of the game managed to stretch the premise with multiple levels and challenges, in this mobile incarnation Konami have simply relied on nothing but the excitement of actually being a sniper, offering nothing in the way of a long term challenge. Once you’ve cleared the unforgivably short story mode (just 4 levels!) and reached the pinnacle of your powers on the timing based games, there really isn't much left to do and only those with patience akin to a real sniper will bother to come back for more.