Hotline Miami is a psychedelic tribute to many retro games of yester-year. It makes killing in a pixel world fun, and makes the challenge of who to kill and when a huge part of it’s appeal.
You start out with a little bit of background, but after a few lines of dialogue you’re straight into the game, controlling your man as he goes around in his car, meeting friends at retail stores, and getting a bunch of free stuff. Every day you get a voicemail, telling you to go out to collect a delivery, or there’s a cleaning job for you at the telephone exchange. Each request sounds strange until you start to realise it’s actually all code talk for exterminating a gang in a certain location.
Once you get to that location, you can don a mask, which will give you certain perks throughout that coming level. The beginning masks are trivial, but soon they become very over-powered, like the above “Ted” mask. It adds a good mechanic to an otherwise simple game, allowing each player to have their own play style, whether that be fast and rough, or slow and calm.
Gameplay wise, enemies mostly die in one or two hits, but the same applies to you. It means you either have to plan every action carefully, and watch all the routes enemies take, or do as I did and run around like a chicken with no head (which is surprisingly fun and works fairly well) There’s no health in this, and when you die, you start the whole level again, each enemy returning to their original spawn location. It’s very addictive, and can drive a man crazy.
Gameplay doesn’t differ too much over the course of the game, you do get new enemies to fight who have a bit more health, but none of it has a big impact on the core mechanics, which in itself speaks to the games ability to keep me singing it’s praise despite not changing.
One thing that should be worth noting is the soundtrack, which in itself is a reason alone to play Hotline Miami. Each stage is unique, whilst also emotionally evocative, ensuring you replay levels just for sheer excellence of the music. If you don’t believe me, give the link below a listen, it’ll literally blow your mind:
Hotline Miami isn’t without it’s flaws though, many a time I was crashed out of the game for using my best tactic: hiding behind a door with a gun and shooting men as they lined up. All the points are just too much for the game to handle, which meant I saw a lot of screens similar to the screenshot below:
- Fantastic gameplay delivers a truly unique experience
- Awesome soundtrack that’ll want you playing more just to hear more
- A lot of replayability
- Glitchy as hell
Overall I’d hugely recommend Hotline Miami to anyone. It’s one of those games that just has to be experienced, and no amount of writing will be able to provide it justice.