Hotline Miami is a fantastic indie game that will make you realize just why you love gaming, and will change the way you play games forever.
Hotline Miami is a love letter to 80’s retro games, combining a top down view with pixelated graphics and twitch based gameplay. The game follows the life of an unnamed man who receives a strange call to his house, followed by a parcel arriving at his door with a mask inside. We aren’t going to say any more as one of the truly fantastic parts of this game is its story, it keeps you hooked and in the end it makes you question how you play video games.
The game plays fantastically, with smooth controls that are easy to learn but hard to master. It’ll work with both a keyboard and mouse set up, but it does feel like the game encourages you to use a gamepad. The game is very trial and error and it can take you more than 30 tries a level just to get that perfect rhythm that lets you swoop through rooms killing groups of enemies with ease. Nail it and it’ll make you feel like a complete bad-ass.
The game constantly sees you – move, pick up a weapon, use that weapon, throw it away for a new one. This type of gameplay keeps the game continuously fresh as new weapons are unlocked after levels and spawn randomly throughout the game. This gives the game a huge amount of re-playability as you will want to go back to each level with your new masks and weapons to try them out as each weapon has different attributes. A baseball bat is a silent melee weapon but has a poor throwing range and a 2 barrel shotgun has more spread than a 6 shot. This amount of detail to weaponry makes the game tactical, choosing if you want to use a knife for a close instant kill or an Uzi for a mass gang wipe out can completely change how you play.
The art style of the game is one of brilliance, the game has an old fashioned pixelated art style reminiscent of the Sega genesis, but the game adds more detail to the surroundings. This makes the locations more believable, houses have toys on the floor and restaurants have rugged patches of carpet. It makes the world feel like a living breathing place. Our only complaint with the art style is the text box heads, they look disfigured and off putting at times.
The music and sound for the game are some of the best this year, the game oozes atmosphere with every swing of a weapon sounding powerful and every shot fired from a gun rewarding. The music in the game is a work of art, combining 80’s synthesizer music with modern day bass beats to create something truly magical and atmospheric. This is a game were headphones are required for the full experience.
Overall Hotline Miami is a fantastic game well worth your time, sadly that time can be short lived depending on how skilled you are at the game but the amount of re-playability makes up for this. The game has addictive gameplay, a great art style, fantastic music, and a story that messes with your head like few others. This game is a must buy.