Now Playing: Hotline Miami

Posted: June 27, 2013 in Now Playing (Video Game Reviews)
Tags: , , , , ,

Nothing says “I’m a murdering hitman” in art deco, neon colored, cocaine filled, 1980’s Miami better than wearing a mask of a rooster, horse, or even a pig. Let’s look at the benefits. Nobody will know who you are other than some psycho vigilante with a death wish. Then again nobody will be left alive to tell the tale. No, this isn’t a plot line for an episode of Miami Vice. This is Hotline Miami. A game that’s all about doing one specific job, and it succeeds at executing that concept very well. It’s also the type of game that would make politicians, who are against violent video games, in Washington have a heart attack. As for me, I absolutely love this game!

After listening to a very cryptic message, my unknown protagonist was on his way (in a DeLorean that doesn’t go back in time when it hits 88 mph) to various shady establishments in underground Miami. My mission was to murder everyone in sight. Nobody was safe. Everyone had to die. Why? Well I don’t know, but it must be done all while wearing the mask of a certain animal. After completing each bloody and gory killing spree I was then on my way to a bar, a pizza parlor, and even a video store (curiously all owned by the same guy) where I found that everything was on the house. I guess being a hitman is a dirty job, but for free beer, pizza, and porn it sure does have it’s perks.

Hotline Miami has one specific objective. Kill or be killed. Obviously, the idea of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) is handled brilliantly in this game, however I learned very quickly that this is not an easy task. Death can be found around every corner, but rather frequently it was mine. Hotline Miami is a hard game. What I had to realize was that there is a method to the madness. Learning the layout of each map can lead to success, and there’s the fact that guns are not always the logical answer. Taking on a level in the stealth approach by using melee weapons like knives, baseball bats, and lead pipes are a better alternative than firearms like shotguns and assault rifles since the noise will alert other enemies to your presence and they also have a better aim than a Stormtrooper. Masks also play a key role in the violent gameplay. Not only do they make you look cool, but each mask also allows for a certain perk which will help transverse through levels a little easier.

If there is one thing that Hotline Miami has going for itself it would be the overall presentation. The old school 8-bit graphics are a great nod to my nostalgic side. Then again most 8-bit games never looked this good. I liked the top down view which gave me that blueprint look so that I could keep tabs on enemy movement and know where all my possible escape routes were just in case I got into trouble. Very helpful. I also have to commend the musical score (which is not in typical 8-bit style). The musical tones brought an atmospheric vibe of a Michael Mann Miami Vice episode. Very cool.

With the rise of so many indie games this year, Hotline Miami sticks out as one of the best. Sure it’s bloody, gory, and ultra violent, but that’s not going to stop me from having fun even if I end up dying a few hundred times (there’s a trophy for that by the way). Just desensitize yourself, and let the game take you into it’s sadistic world. You’ll thank me later.

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Developer: Dennaton Games
Platform: PlayStation 3, PSN
Players: 1
Price: $9.99

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