So seeing as how we at HvZ:Athens based our entire invitational around the concept of this video game, I think it is only fair that I give it a review, post invite. After all, Hotline Miami is a lot of fun. It is UNGODLY difficult and frustrating on so many levels that will make you want to take a sledgehammer… But still a lot of fun. Developed by Dennaton Games, Hotline Miami is a 2D top down action beat ’em up game that is all about the glorification of ultra violence and a throw back to the 1980’s in style and in music. With call back to television shows like Miami Vice and really any 80’s movie/TV show that is set in Florida, it has all kinds of nostalgic feel.
Hotline Miami has an ‘interesting’ plot behind it to say the least. In fact, I’m not sure I can give you a legit synopsis of the plot of Hotline Miami without it being laced with copious amounts of spoilers so I will try to do my best to not give away as much as possible. But if you skip this part and just go straight into the pros and cons, then I understand.
Hotline Miami is a story told my an unreliable narrator. You as a character are given missions by a group of people by use of encrypted telephone calls to go to a location, murder the inhabitants, and then leave the area. After leaving you go to random locations in town where you meet a random friend of yours who gives you exposition dumps and send you on your way, then you repeat the process… That is the best I can give you and even then I feel like I am dousing this review with copious amounts of spoilers.
This is the best part of the whole game. The soundtrack is awesome. It adds to the ambiance of the game, gives you that 80’s feel, and provides you with the right amount of pumping beats to get completely lost into the game as you are brutally slaughtering people who you have never met before. There is not a single weak link out of the group. They are all solid tracks to complete a solid 80’s fuck ’em up game.
I love this design. I love the fact that the graphics are simplistic and that this game does not rely on a flashy and pretty game in order to draw in its players. With graphics that are more simplistic than something you would see on the Super Nintendo, Hotline Miami uses this simplistic design to their advantages with not only giving a nostalgic feel for gamers, but also allowing the story, the music, and the violence to hook them and keep them coming back for more.
The Story (Spoilers)
So this is the area where I can talk freely about the story of Hotline Miami and not give a shit about the spoilers I’m laying on the table so let’s do it! Hotline Miami is all about the glorification of ultra violence, Death upon death upon death. But then it delves into the why and targets the players as a person who blindly follows the narrators orders for the reasons of the plot. Just like The Stanley Parable, Hotline Miami attacks the player of the game for simply following the game’s every word and not once questioning why they are doing it in the first place.
It even says in the beginning that the narrator knows why they are there. “You do not care about a plot. You just like hurting people.” It gives the player exactly what they want and at the same time chastises them for wanting it in the first place. Games like this are a lot of fun just for the fact that they prod players for enjoying the ultra violence in the first place all behind the thin veneer of ‘the plot’. Not to mention, when they can give players that satisfaction at the same time, chastise them for it, and keep them coming back for more, it shows that they really knew how to reach their target audience.
It is VERY Difficult
I’m not going to sugar coat it. This game is INSANELY difficult. You will not be able to just walk through levels, even in the ‘prologue’ you are thrown right into insanity levels of difficulty. You will play individual levels for hours trying to figure out the proper way to slaughter the copious amounts of enemies. You will fail over and over and over and OVER AND OVER AND OVER again until you get it right.
For some people, this is a huge deterrent and it is a major con of the game. It is understandable that some people will enjoy this level of difficulty, but if you do not like monotony and doing something over and over again, then this is a game you need to stay far away from.
Hotline Miami is one of those special kind of games. Just like The Stanley Parable, it is hard to review simply because what you are reviewing, isn’t necessarily the game, but the message the game is attempting to convey and what the game stands for. Hotline Miami is ultra violence personified, it glorifies the fact that you are beating, shooting, stabbing, and strangling hundreds of people you do not know simply because the plot tells you to. The soundtrack and the violence will hypnotize you as you fall right into what the game desires. It has the 1980’s nostalgic feel in color and in presentation and even though the game is insanely difficult, it is worth the time and effort you put into it for an amazing adventure.
Final Score 4.5/5
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