The big releases of 2013 await our tender gaming tendrils, which means it's time to look back to one of my personal indie favourites from last year in the form of the rather excellent Hotline Miami.
I love tough games, as long as they're fair-but-tough. Perhaps that's related to my gaming age; I grew up in the arcade era when it was all about racking up your 20c pieces on the grimy arcade monitor before anyone else did (remember that?), which meant that games were punishing to the point of being unfair.
Hotline Miami isn't just a tough game with a neon 80s setting, though. It's also an interesting (if at times incoherent) narrative with all sorts of style choices beyond the usual (and rapidly becoming tired) use of pixel graphics. It's insanely, over the top violent in a way that's both engaging and genuinely disturbing if you stop to think about what you're doing at any point. Because your own life is on the line in every single encounter, it manages a level of brutality that more explicitly visual games that use violence in a deliberately exploitative way utterly fail to achieve.
Hotline Miami solidly isn't a game for everyone, but it's easily in my own personal top five of 2012. I'm interested to hear your thoughts about it — did you find it fun, frustrating, engaging or offputting?