Okay, so I really didn’t know what to expect from this game only having the trailer and people’s tweets to go off of, but I’ll show you the trailer and let you make your own assumptions and draw your own ideas about it, then we’ll do the review.
If that wasn’t enough to make your head tilt to the side in a sort of “Whaaaaat?” gesture, then you’re a better person than I. However, I spent the $10 on Steam and downloaded the game. It’s amazing. You can quote me on that. It. Is. Amazing.
While it may not look like much, the game is a cleverly constructed piece of top-down shooting and crazy story. You may not understand it right away, but it is just enough to keep you from going, “Is this game just killing people randomly?” If it was, there would honestly be no real lasting appeal or motivation to continue playing after you got tired of it the first time.
Fortunately for us, the game has an eerie sort of Stanley Kubrick/QuentinTarantino thing going on that is both disconcerting and incredibly hypnotic. The music is just the right kind of late 80s lazy with a creepy indie vibe to it that makes you cringe but also entranced. Honestly, the game is a cross between one of their movies and “Super Meat Boy.”
This game is not for the faint of heart.
The game expects you to die and even encourages you not to give up. I found myself not frustrated or angry when I got killed, but motivated to do better and to keep trying. It does a wonderful job of teaching you that none of the situations in the game are impossible, only that they require a solid bit of thinking.
You’re able to shoot, stab, cleave, throw, punch and crush people to death. But be warned, every shot and hit is a one-shot-kill, even to you so there’s no stand-offs and there’s no way to charge into a room guns blazing without feeling like you’ll get mowed down yourself. You have to be smart in how you tackle certain situations.
Luckily, you’re able to move the screen a bit to see what’s ahead, if only a little. But the biggest help are the masks. The main character, a nameless man who is killing all of these people at the behest of mysterious voicemails on his phone, goes to each job with a rubber-animal mask on his head.
You can unlock new masks that have different powers. Some make throwing weapons automatically lethal, others make it so that dogs don’t attack you or display certain secrets spread throughout the missions.
It’s not an overly complex game, and there’s not a lot to talk about because you truly have to experience it for yourself. It’s worth the $10 and it has a lot of replayability because at the end of each level your score is tallied and calculated off of your combinations and creativity of kills. That, and the secrets and unlockable masks are fun to get.
Yeah, this is a pretty accurate description of the game in a single frame.
This game could have been done wrong in so many ways, but it’s so good that I’m thankful to find an indie game that shows the ability to remake an old type of gameplay and make it fresh and innovative. If you haven’t played it yet, you really should. It’s only just been released, so there will be bugs, but if you have the patience and the will, you’ll really have fun with “Hotline Miami.” It’s a 10/10 throwback to crazy arcade games with an interesting story to keep you going.