Hotline Miami Review
Hotline Miami is an intoxicating celebration of violence that will have you pounding the restart button for more.
- Responsive controls let you play recklessly
- Outstanding soundtrack
- Entrancing visual design
- Levels are tough but fair
- Gloriously violent.
- Boss battles can be frustrating
- No gamepad support.
Hotline Miami is a top-down shooter where you murder everybody you see. You require nothing more than an answering machine message and an address to butcher each and every soul within the game's pixelated, 2D walls. But you're never given a reason for your psychotic actions--the focus is on the joy of murder, and though Hotline Miami can be frustrating at times, its frantic gameplay and slick presentation make for some gloriously satisfying bloodshed.
The game opens with the nameless protagonist standing in a room. And, mysteriously, there are three men wearing animal masks making cryptic comments about your identity and actions. Is this real, or some drug-induced fever dream? You're not given much time to contemplate it. The screen fades to black, and you awake in a filthy apartment in April 1989. A bloodstained shirt lies in the hall as an answering machine light blinks on and off. This is the setup for most of the 19 chapters that make up Hotline Miami. A short message asks you to "clean up" or "visit" a certain address, which is followed by a trip to a building full of supposed criminals that you must slaughter floor by floor.
You move around using the keyboard, while the mouse controls the direction you face and where you shoot. You can expand your viewing radius to spy further into the levels--an important factor, given that even a single distant gunshot can kill you. If you’re trying to be stealthy, you can opt to throw your weapon, allowing you to knock over and disarm an enemy. You can then stand over your downed foe with a tap of the spacebar and several clicks of the mouse will finish them off to brutal and nauseating effect. It's a clever system that lets you react quickly to the twitchy gameplay, which is just as well considering Hotline Miami currently doesn't support a gamepad.
Before the start of each level, you choose from a selection of animal masks, most of which have useful perks. For instance, if you wear the Tony the Tiger mask, you have faster executions, while George the Giraffe allows you to see farther. They're a neat companion to the combat system, which initially sees you taking down enemies with your fists and with a selection of melee weapons that you pick up, such as baseball bats, iron bars, knives, and swords. Enemies die with a single blow, as do you, so not being overrun by a group of bloodthirsty malcontents is key to making it through a level alive. Mixing up the weapons you use and the order in which you move through the rooms is just as important, as is getting into a close position for a brutal takedown. The environment plays its part too. Doors can be used to knock over enemies, while certain walls can be shot through. This variety ensures the action is consistently engaging over the course of the game.
If you choose to go in with guns blazing, there are lots of shotguns, automatic rifles, machine guns, and silenced pistols on offer. Gunshots attract the attention of nearby enemies, who quickly come to investigate the disturbance. And while you often find yourself shooting wide of targets, your enemies have fast trigger fingers and always hit their mark. Despite that, enemy actions are largely dumb and predictable, but this works in the game’s favour, With death always a second away, manipulating and herding baddies into your gunfire is very enjoyable. It may also seem odd that dead bodies often go unnoticed, and they sometimes stand so close to your character that they can't hit him. But the action is so frenetic and entertaining that you barely have time to notice.
@BellyRay ... but it isn't.
1) You can't judge a game by its looks; on top of that, there's a difference between a bad-looking game and a game with a graphical style that doesn't suit your personal preference.
2) The game plays like heaven, so if you neglect this game by its visual style, then be my guest. You don't know what you're missing; this is one of my favorite games of all time.
Great game...I JUST LOVE IT...! and the soundtrack gives me goosebumps allover totally amazing! the gameplay is mind wrenching and heart pounding and insanely entertaining!
I love the hydrogen song.. one in level 11 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O0ILqWcd214
Picked it up for 5 on steam, and it's definitely worth that but not much more. Really short, but good while it lasts.
Theses retro games are getting bad and lazy on graphics give us 16 bit graphics at least. I mean we could have 32 bit symphony of night quality graphics and its still a retro game given all games now are 3d. Also the game needs to be long if the graphics are from days of nintendo the least you can give us is a long game.
@abcdefgabcdefgz Dude, the game was made by literally two people, and you pay five dollars for it. What the fuck do you want from them?
I wasn't interested in this game at first but I'm glad I played it, it's really great. And what a soundtrack. Everything about it reminds me of the movie Drive, which is more than awesome.
But also, I'll admit the way the reviewer glamourized the violence was kinda creepy.
got it from steam-deal worth it every single cent, but im hoping they'll release Level-Editor and mod stuff, and someone may convert this game to a full-gunfight-action ot stealth-base assassination game.
I'M LOVING THIS GAME!!! Buy this game it's fun as hell!
Check out my Hotline Miami vid!
Fantastic game, most fun I've had in a while. Simple, stylish, fast, and fun. The soundtrack will surely go down as one of the best of all time. Also I disagree with the "frustrating boss battles" aspect of the review. I beat all the bosses in far less tries than most of the floors.
Played it,LOVED it,story was cool,Bloody as hell satisfied my GORY tastes and they should put a zombie mod in it!+being able to reload!if they add RPG aspects like leveling up and having a work shop of weapons like the weapons you open you actually choose one of them to begin the stage with!also being able to choose your path as a good guy or bad guy with different endings depending on your actions rather than finding the secrets...would make the squeal get a 10!
@piedude67 It was patched in later. I'm playing with an Xbox 360 controller and I must say I vastly prefer it. It's easier to move with the stick, it's quicker to look at the next rooms with LB, and way better to lock targets with R3. The downside is general targeting, which is obviously more precise with the mouse as opposed to the right stick. But better lock-on compensates for that.
@commuter1991 Little shuriken thingies fall down after you kill the girl, throw one, duck behind cover until he reloads, and then throw the next one.
The best Indie game I've ever had the pleasure of playing. I'm glad I decided to pick it up on the steam sale
Not worth the score. I bought it and it is a solid game but cmon an 8.5 for this? it's very repetitive and not as challenging as these reviewers claim. Maybe a 7-7.5
@Merciless704 That is outdated info - they added Xbox 360 controller support some time ago. Althrough I have't tested it yet, mouse+keyboard feels good enough for me.
"Outstanding soundtrack" is an understatement. This may be the best soundtrack in the history of videogames weather it be early 90s Megaman or more recent stuff, it just blows everything way. Worth the price for the soundtrack alone. It's that good, no joke.
@k3ck i agree... incredible soundtrack. its like owning and cd you like and having a great game to play it to.
@Yams1980 Actually the graphics aren't like that on purpose, they are like that because the designers have no money, no budget. The charm is actually in the old school graphics, and the brutality of the violence. Indie designers can't compete with AAA companies with unlimited resources and personnel, so they have to fulfill their desires by making games that do something the big developers don't want to do. Look at the success of Minecraft...
@eddieham13 @iHarlequin @00J @Yams1980 I'm with you on this. I do believe Hotline Miami has graphics like this on purpose, it has nothing to do with being capable of doing better or not. Few games are more beautiful than Braid and it was mostly done by one guy. Dust: An Elysian Tail is also great. This isn't an excuse anymore. You can't compete with AAA *realistic* graphics, sure, but there are tons of other ways to make really good visuals. Realism is only one of a thousand possibilities.
@iHarlequin @eddieham13 @00J @Yams1980 Actually I was referring to the fact that he says small companies/indie can't do good graphics, and he used Minecraft as an example of this. I know his point was that it doesn't make it any more or less successful but I was adding that these small companies or indie can do good graphics and I gave the example of Natural Selection 2.I read just fine, you just misconstrued my point.
@Yams1980 You look like crap.
@Yams1980 The graphics are like that on purpose. The game is creating a theme using old-school sprite models with a vintage-esque soundtrack. This game relies on learning where is what and the skill of doing it quickly. It's a fair score. It's frickin hard too.
I personally thought the same thing when first seeing the review. it's worth ten bucks if you're looking for a quick, simplistic, brutal thrill.
Ha. while Tom is writting an article about nonsense justification for the shootout and killing, danny is celebrating the nonsense violence with this game. I wonder what gamespot thinks about non explanatory violence in general after all. As a gamer, i play what is fun and good. If this one is the one, so be it.
What struck me most about this is that it's the only 2D game I know of where bullets travel as quickly as real bullets. You can't dodge them, ever. It's all about reaction time and surprise, and a split second's hesitation will kill you.
In that respect, it's more realistic than any other top-down shooter.
@Granpire Well I dodged some bullets for real... :) level 10
@Granpire i believe keeping graphics simple could be a great way to increase realism in a lot of genres that focus too much time into unnecessary and detrimental features and aspects of games. one day games like this will embarrass the big budget developers.
@Granpire I'm pretty sure there are a lot of 2D games that have done that... a lot actually. But it's still a nice feature none the less.