Smashing heads with golf clubs has never been so much fun than in Hotline Miami!
How can one begin to describe a game like Hotline Miami? How can one using words describe the awesomeness of a game like Hotline Miami? Well, I am going to try in this review, but I don't think I can explain why you have never played a game like Hotline Miami. But before I do that, click on the Play button above (thank me in the comments).
It is a 2D top down action game where your only mission is to kill everyone and everything there is in the room. I played and finished the game, but I didn't understood what the hell was happening. The story happens in Miami where you play as an unnamed character, a hitman/killer who wears different plactic animals masks and accepts the jobs through a telephone, hence the Hotline Miami title. That's all I understood and frankly that was all I needed to know.
The gameplay is king in Hotline Miami and I mean it. We have never played a game of this type. I hadn't thought that someone could put so much gore and an extremely sense of satisfaction in a 2D top down game. It plays similar to GTA 1 and 2, but Hotline Miami is not "open world" like the early GTAs. It is a chapter/mission driven game. You wake up in your apartment and accept the mission from the telephone line. Then you go outside, enter the car and the mission loads. Your task is simple, kill everyone and everything in the building/office/club/whatever and sometime pick something up.
You can use your punches to knock out people and then finish them off by bashing their head to the ground or you can use one of the many weapons available in the game. You can kill pretty much everyone with only a swing of your bat, but there's a catch. You can also be killed in one hit (or two if you equip a special mask). That balances things out and in the early stages you will feel unstoppable, but as the game progresses it becomes harder, way harder. Henchmen will have ARs or shotguns that will kill you in one hit from afar. They will shoot through windows, they will swarm you and bash your brains out. Big bulky dudes are introduced that can't be killed with any blunt weapon, only with firing weapons. Now all of this might sound easy, but it is not. The floors are small and the character move fast, very fast so there's no time to f*ck around. You will be killed time after time after time, but that's not the game's fault. It's yours and you will need twitch reflexes to survive and murder everyone. But somehow, I don't know how, the developers managed to keep the game from becoming annoying and a pain in the a$$.
Killing people, combo killing, executing killstreaks etc. for everything you get points that amount to your highscore. Apart from the leaderboards, these high scores unlock new masks and new weapons. Before starting the mission, you get to choose what mask are you going to wear. There are a ton to unlock and to choose from and since each on gives you a unique ability, the replay value is very high.
If you are killed with a click of a button you will restart the room you died in, not the whole level or mission. Much like Super Meat Boy, Hotline Miami relishes player death but doesn't dwell on it, you get as many continues as you want. There are also some boss fights in the game, that work somehow as a puzzle, meaning that you will need to figure out how to kill him or her. But these can easily get on your nerves and, in my opinion, are the worst part of the game.
The controls are superb. I played the game on PC, PS3 and PS Vita and the controls were super responsive in each one. Also another thing I like very much for the PSN version of the game is the Cross Buy/Save meaning that you only buy it once and you can play it on the big screen or in your PS Vita using the same save. It was amazing in both systems (I am leaving PC out) and looked gorgeous in the small and big screen.
The presentation of Hotline Miami is fantastic. The retro pixel graphics look amazing. The gore that the devs managed to put in a top down game is crazy and super satisfactory. Smashing heads with golf clubs has never been so much fun than in Hotline Miami! The visuals are highly influenced by the 80's culture and you can see that in the interiors of the building/clubs or in the apparel of the characters. That atmosphere is only made better with the amazing soundtrack. It is simply amazing and you must be already hearing a song from it, if you clicked the Play button on top.
The only bad thing I can say about this game, which is not a real bad thing, is the difficulty. It is a very hard game and this can put some people off, but know that is not impossible. You just have to keep trying till you kill em' all! Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, I cannot f*cking wait for it!