It's been a while since BlueMaxima has dropped a reader review, and this one is a humdinger. Hotline Miami is a heavily hyped top down indie effort that's on the receiving end of some seriously solid reviews. Thanks to BlueMaxima for putting this together!
The hardcore score-attack genre is well and truly alive the indie scene; with games like Super Meat Boy, Dustforce and now Hotline Miami. A wonderfully presented and fun-to-play shoot-em-up is only dragged down by the smallest of imperfections.
Neon and Grit: Hotline Miami does a great job with its visual style – it’s bright but somehow dim tones manage to perfectly convey the seedy underbelly of a late 80s hitman who’s there to kill everyone. Blood and guts are used very realistically and it never really becomes over the top, a hard sort of thing to do for this sort of game. Presentation remains simple and efficient however, which keeps the gameplay mostly unobstructed and easy to follow.
Difficulty with Simplicity: Hotline Miami is extremely simple – you’re there to kill everyone. One hit and you’ll probably go down, same for your enemies. They’re predictable, but dangerous. Making a good route and going for the highest possible score is a real challenge, but the game is balanced well and it’s very hard to become frustrated. Chaining together a well-planned set of actions such as knocking out people, slamming people with doors, throwing their own weapons at their friends and finishing off the last guy with a shotgun to the face is incredibly satisfying and fun. It never gets old.
Deep Tunes: Every single piece of soundtrack in this game is placed incredibly well and is incredibly immersive - from the main menu track which you can picture sitting on a beach drinking out of a coconut to the electronic stylings of M O O N through several levels of the game helping you to get pumped up and ready to shoot for a highscore, everything just fits, and it’s a pleasure to listen to.
Bugs: (Disclaimer! I received a pre-release build of this game which may have bugs that are fixed in the final version) The game can bug out here or there – legs appearing off bodies, guards with eyes in the back of their heads, internal Game Maker engine errors that can cause the game to lose half its framerate or crash entirely…it’s not very common but it can happen, and some of the bugs can cause you to need to restart the game, which is a real pain. At least every stage in the game is unlocked from the very beginning so there’s no real problem with losing savedata.
No Online Highscores: This is a shame really. It’s a missed opportunity to not give a game about score attacking no highscore boards.
Despite a little bit of a bug here and there, Hotline Miami is a lot of fun to play – simple gameplay mechanics with satisfying rewards means there’s plenty of fun to be had here if you like your hard score attack games. Hotline Miami is now available on GoG and Steam for $10.