Hotline Miami DEALS
As this lockdown is probably going to be extended a little bit further I thought I might as well explore the back catalog and one game stood out to be put under the microscope – Hotline Miami, from Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital.
Hotline Miami takes us back to a slightly alternate 1989 in Miami, so decadence and excess ruled supreme and music was pretty good. And Miami, home to the world’s most successful drug dealers, and we play as a normal dude who, going by his attire is given the name Jacket. He’s got a screw loose or on more drugs than Keith Richards. Who gets cryptic messages on his answerphone and packages left outside the door at first a rooster mask. Mostly addresses to places which always seem to be run by the Russian Mafia. Basically, paint the place red, even at the start of his own “Taxi Driver” moment in saving a drug-riddled, sexually abused girl. As the game progresses further Jacket’s grip on reality starts to loosen and starts “tripping balls“ so hard. Without delving into spoiler town too much but there is a good reason why Jacket’s reality is fucked and is a nice twist. So, in short, the story is a bit ambiguous for the most part but does convey how fucked up the character is.
As for the gameplay – it’s a top-down action game and as the name of the game is as mentioned to kill everyone, and you would always start unarmed. You have a choice of masks to choose from aside from one each having a unique perk like lethal punches, more bullets, or even dogs won’t attack you, and from there go nuts.
You have many ways to go about it. either be a bit sneakier and use melee weapons or go crazy with a katana and run around like a loony, or a mixture of both. No matter the method, you are going to die at the simplest mistakes. Chiefly the enemy AI is an unpredictable beast, making the best-laid plans fucked at the snap of the fingers. But you can restart as soon as Jacket’s entrails spoil the zebra rug. Very trial, and error if trial and error were off its tits on coke and had jump leads attached to the more sensitive parts of the human anatomy. So you can fine-tune the approach over many attempts. Learning where all the motherfuckers are with guns in particular as fuck those guys. And dogs who have the speed of Usain Bolt with a violent bloodlust and going from there.
There are a few handy tricks that can help other than the assembly of weapons that can be utilized from baseball bats to katanas. And Shotguns and Uzis (but be warned that gunfire will attract unwanted attention). Firstly doors are your friend as if you can time it right as a guard walks past you can knock them down for a brief period to either brutally kill or to deal with the help then brutally kill the poor sods. And if needs be you can always throw your weapon to knock down guards or kill them if it’s a bladed weapon. Putting it all together makes it a blast to play. The pace is very fast and with the AI being rather unpredictable and while they can go down violently and gruesomely fairly quickly the same can be said for Jacket. As you can restart immediately, it keeps the pace up throughout (aside from a stealth section). It’s just an absolute hoot to play.
Other stuff to mention graphicly is pixel art and for the violence, it undergoes after the massacres it does look gruesome and it’s gruesome and ultra-violent. This manages to stay on the right side of things mainly because of the pixel art and stylized enough. The game takes its influence from the likes of David Lynch, one of the main men behind Twin Peaks. The 2011 film Drive which for me is one of my favorite films of all time and 2006s documentary Cocaine Cowboys, and Gordan Freeman from Half-Life which is the most obvious of the lot as there isn’t any dialogue at all from the likes of Jacket who is playing the role of a silent protagonist. Even the supporting cast doesn’t say much, which for the likes of Drive being an influence on the game is clear to see.
Music and sound are heavily influenced by the 80s with the likes of synth music which for the most part is ok, if I don’t concentrate hard enough on that instead of bludgeoning a poor sod to death with a croquet mallet. It’s very well put together on a technical level on the Switch in particular as that is what I played it on.
So, Hotline Miami is violence on steroids and synth music that goes from 0 to FUCKING hell in the time it takes to read a tweet from Drumpf, and it works brilliantly. The pacing is fast with its combat and that you die more times than what Tom Cruise did in the entirety of Edge of Tomorrow, and respawned twice as fast. It’s just archaic and bloody mental. While the gameplay is a hoot, the story is a bit ambiguous but has a nice twist partway, and conveys how fucked up you really are. When you’re at the whim of an answering machine. Above all else, though seen through the gleam of the 80s – A bloody lovely game.
Hotline Miami is a wonderful game with fast-paced gameplay that’s off the fucking chain when it comes to violence, and portrayed through the 80s in Pixel artform. The AI is an unpredictable mistress meaning no two methods will work, meaning thinking less methodically and more “fuck it, that will do” is the aim It is a short game but it’s enough and the story is a bit ambiguous but with a nice twist towards the end.
- Fast-paced violently brutal gameplay
- 80s aesthetics
- AI is unpredictable
- The story is a bit ambiguous
- It a short game if you're looking for longevity
- Can be frustrating with the fine line between success and failure
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