Review by TKDBoy1889
Trippy, violent, old school fun
Do you like games that play in an old-fashion style? Do you like games that are a psychological trip? If so, then chances are you will thoroughly enjoy Hotline Miami. This independent game carries the gameplay mechanics of old school system and has a story that will really make your head spin. Also, it's pretty violent and challenging.
Set in a fictional 1980's Miami, the story involves a man who keeps receiving mysterious voice-mails urging him to go to random places and kill everyone there, using animal masks as a means of discretion. Over time events get stranger and stranger, almost feeling like a psychedelic experience, and the games seems to play out with random flashbacks. It's a very strange and boggling experience to say the least. I love experiences like this that intentionally mess with you and confuse you. There's confusion because the story is badly written or incoherent, and then there's confusion because the writers are messing with you, and that's what this is. I really enjoyed the confusion in the events.
Hotline Miami is an action game that requires both good reflexes and strategy. The game is played from a 2D top-down perspective and the object is to kill every enemy on level before advancing. You do this through a series methods like hitting them and then killing them when they are down, using a variety of melee weapons which are completely silent, or using guns which have longer range but alert nearby enemies. The trick is that when enemies see or hear you, they react to you very quickly, and you die in one hit. Hence, the idea is to remain unseen and plan out ways to take out enemies quickly before they can hit you. It's very challenging, but it's also incredibly fun. It's the kind of difficulty that makes you want to keep playing because you know you can overcome it.... usually. You can use doors to knock enemies over when they walk by, lure enemies into a narrow area and take them out, etc. The game also has a couple sections that act like boss fights. These are tricky and immensely challenging... sometimes too much so. However they are pretty fun. I enjoyed the game a lot. Sure it's basic and repetitive but it's incredibly fun and simple, and addicting. The most annoying thing is that some areas have immense difficulty spikes, usually in sections that throw sudden random fights with special circumstances where you have no idea what to do at first.
Music-wise, Hotline Miami boasts one of the best soundtracks for a game I've heard in a very long time. This is no exaggeration, the OST for this game is simply amazing. It has a techno/disco/80's type of feel that perfectly fit both the time setting as well as the pace of the game. It adds to the old school design and feel this game has, and so many songs are just brilliantly orchestrated.
Overall, I loved Hotline Miami. It's a short game, it's times a bit frustrating, but overall it's an addictive experience that's incredibly fun to play. If you like old fashion-style games in terms of design and gameplay mechanics, you like stories that confuses the heck otu of you, and you like plenty of violence and gore, you should try this one out. It's only $10 bucks on Steam, and that's if not on sale. It's certainly worth it.
-Addictive, fast-paced and strategic gameplay
-Unlockable items for achieving high scores
-Has some unfair difficulty spikes.
-Game is on the short side, only a few hours of game time at MOST.
Final score: 8/10
Rating: 4.0 - Great
Product Release: Hotline Miami (US, 10/23/12)
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