Reagan Gorbachev is a top-down stealth game set in a 1980s alternate timeline where Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev have been kidnapped by militant extremists. The only way they can get out the situation is by partnering up and killing everyone using all sorts of weapons from poison darts and a badass katana to a motherf*cking bazooka.
As soon as you start playing the resemblance with Hotline Miami is striking, but after playing it for a while, you start to see that the two games are very different. Sure the top-down stealth nature is the same, but how Reagan Gorbachev plays is very different. You play as both of them as you are able to switch between them and each one has his unique special ability and weapon. So Gorbachev is a tech whiz who can hack terminals to open doors and use a blowdart to poison enemies from afar, while Reagan is a badass samurai donning a katana slashing down terrorists up close. However this doesn’t mean that they are limited to only their special weapons as they can pick up and use pretty much everything they can find in the levels. Assault rifles, shotguns, knives, pistols, bazookas, you name it, there’s a pretty good chance it is in the game.
So if the running and gunning part is similar to that of Hotline Miami, why I said Reagan Gorbachev plays differently? Well, you can switch between the two characters meaning that on screen you have two characters, one controlled by you and one by the AI. By pressing buttons on the controller you can toggle simple instructions to the AI like follow or stay and this mechanic helps with the puzzles, like picking up color coded keys to open color coded doors or standing on top of pressure plates are some examples. This system makes Reagan Gorbachev play and feel differently as you need to think twice before entering a room in the levels, cause like in HM, one hit and you are dead.
In terms of presentation, it looks OK, nothing really stands out, most of the stuff looks generic and kinda bland. The same can be said for the animations, just don’t expect the gory headsmashing of Hotline Miami. However the “cutscenes” in a retro 90’s NES style, the excellent sound design with the interesting soundtrack more than redeem the overall plainness of the visual style.
Bottom line: The puzzles are well thought out, the enemy AI is challenging and yeah, lets say that it controls fine. I mean it doesn’t really have the fluidity of Hotline Miami, but it is really close to it. Playing with a Dualshock 4 or a X360 controller is better and I highly advise it, but if you only have the OUYA controller, don’t worry as you’ll get used to it. Should you pick up this game for the OUYA? Yes and if you have a spare controller so a friend can join you couch co-op, heck yeah! Thanks for reading.