Community Review: Hotline Miami

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?


    Loved it... powered through the whole game in 2 sessions.
    Once you get the rhythm of things and smoke dudes left right and centre it's pretty rewarding.

    Side notes:
    (I died on that bomb stage a few times before I figured it out... and before I got the rhythm of the boss halfway through he was frustrating. Oh yeah and the swat team stage was CRAZZZZY until I figured it out).

    Overall great game considering the cheapness... looking forward to a sequel.

    Didn't play it much, but what I did play, I played with a controller... I was kind of turned off by how awkward the controls were.

    Is it better with mouse and keyboard?
    I haven't bothered to try.

      so so much better, you really need to be able to quickly snap your aim to any angle, something very difficult to do with a controller. you should give it a shot

        Thanks, at the time it looked like something that'd play well with a controller... but after actually playing with one, it's not so well at all. :p

        I'll give it a go with mouse and keyboard later.

    Game of the year imo. Had so much style and balls and tremendous ultraviolence. Plus any game soundtrack (and the soundtrack is superb) that uses Sun Araw gets a big fucking tick from me.

    Fantastic game, I loved it and played it twice. Can't wait for the sequel, I would love an open-world GTA style version.

    I hadn't heard about this until the Floppy viewers alerted me to it, then had some very long sessions. Good fun, also very encouraging from a development perspective, considering it was made in GameMaker!

    Such a good game, simple premise, incredible soundtrack and one of the best "in the zone" games I've ever played. So many times you just react, and waste everything around you, and then think, I couldn't do that again like that if I tried.

    A good game, with a fantastic soundtrack. Not perfect, but what game is? Reasonably good controls provided you take the time to get used to them. Frentic action, lasts a decent amount of time for the price you pay and I didn't experience any glitches (although I know of plenty of friends who did).

    About the only serious issue I have with Hotline Miami is the somewhat inconsistent AI. Sometimes enemies will hear you, but sometimes they won't. I know that some are scripted to never come after you even if you fire a gun, but I had some enemies come after me sometimes after I fired a weapon, but those exact same enemies would remain still during other times when I fired a weapon. That AI inconsistency made it somewhat hard to plan my actions.

    But other than that, a good game for the price you pay. Provided you don't mind graphic cartoony violence.

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