Community Review: Hotline Miami

I played Hotline Miami for an hour when it first came out on PC and didn’t go back, so what made me love the PS Vita version? The port, the controls? Probably not. It’s a great port, but I have no doubt the game works better with a mouse and keyboard. In the end it was just timing.

Timing and convenience.

I had been looking for an excuse to brave the various challenges that turning on a PS Vita that had lain dormant since launch. And there were challenges. Finding the charger was first on the list. Then there would be updates, of course. Then, if I wanted to buy a game on the PlayStation Store I’d have to remember passwords I created years ago. I feared that challenge the most.

But it all went past in the blink of a broken bottle being lodged in a Russian gangster’s eye. Before I knew it I was stomping on heads, dislodging limbs and engaging in various other types of brutal behavior. The kind I might complain about in other games.

Why not with Hotline Miami?

Maybe it’s the style of the game? The visuals, the clever framing device of the game’s narrative. Maybe it’s just the little things. The way the game forces you to walk back through the corpses you just decimated in the heat of a music inspired frenzy of violence, like an owner rubbing a dog’s nose in shit for defecating on the carpet.

Maybe it was all of that, but I really think it was that beneath the violence in a brilliantly pitched experience that is part puzzle/ part performance. Hotline Miami is about as arcade as it comes and the violence has a strange distance to it, a deliberate one that makes you question why you’re engaging in all this killing and why you’re so unable to stop.

It even asks the question: do you enjoy killing? Well, no, not really. But I am enjoying the process of killing in your finely tuned video game experience.

Hotline Miami is incredible. In the end it may go down as one of my favourite games of all time. This port, in the end, has been one of my favourite gaming experiences all year.

What did you think? Anyone playing this on the Vita? Anyone play it last year on PC and want to chime in? Let us know in the comments below.


    I only played Hotline Miami for the first time on Vita, and love it. Played hours and hours of it the first weekend I had it. I've finished it, and am still yet to get all the masks and puzzle pieces, etc.

    Interestingly, I played it on PC with a 360 controller, and actually found the controls a bit lacking. For some reason, they felt slightly 'floaty' or vague. The Vita's controls felt much more direct and responsive.

    Brutally hard but excellent. I got this on PC at the start of the year and it quickly became an addictive game that I'd go back to in between playing other things.

    Plus it probably had the best soundtrack of the year in my opinion.

    Played it and finished it last week on PS3. Liked it a lot, started another playthrough on the weekend.

    One question - where/how do you find the puzzle pieces? I'm about halfway through my second play through and still haven't found a single one?

      They appear as little purple gems, there's one on each map! I think the Owl mask makes you see them easier?

      Anyway, this was the surprise hit of the year for me. Heard a bit about it, picked up on Steam for cheap and immediately played through it twice in a row. Still go back to it occasionally, such a fun experience. Challenging too, but never frustratingly so.

        Yeah, I've been using the owl mask all the way through on my second play through, but just not seeing the gems. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough... it can be hard to spot things given the low-res nature of the graphics, so perhaps they're kind of blending in a bit.

          They're pretty hard to see as they're quite small. I never collected all of them and found that other masks were better to use anyway which made finding them more difficult.

          That music... oh man that music. *chucks on the soundtrack again*

          They'll be like a single bright purple pixel that moves a little. If you use the owl mask they're (slightly) more visible.

    The puzzle pieces are small purple squares on the ground, which you can pick up. They aren't terribly obvious, so wearing Rasmus, the owl mask helps you to spot them, as the pieces are more obvious when wearing that mask.

    Playing it simultaneously on the Vita and the PS3. Stuck in the same spot on both, but compelled to just keep trying. There's something about it. And yes, the soundtrack is brilliant too.

    I agree with various reviewers - including you Mark - who have noted the curious disconnect between the hyper-violence and your reaction to it. Actions I would baulk at in almost any other video game I have very little reaction to here. I'm not enjoying the violence as such, more it feels like a necessary part of whatever job I have to do. I almost feel like a delivery boy who happens to have to kill people as a part of the delivery - the delivery is important, the people are not. Of course the art style, perspective, neon vibrancy and instant restarts all assist in this disconnect. But it is something I feel while playing, and I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in that.

    One of the games of the year for me (and it prompted me to pick up Monaco on XBLA last night as well - quite different in terms of play style but enough similarities to make the comparison. It's worth a look too!)

    Really dug it, but the difficulty can get frustrating at times, especially due to the keyboard/mouse controls (I'm used to PS3 controls, hardly ever use PC). I played it till past the first boss (the big guy you have to keep shooting), but as it got harder and more frustrating (and I got busier with less game time) I've fallen off, although I am keen to get back into it and finish it.

    im having a hard time playing this on ps3. control is floaty.
    P.S Im a ps3 only gamer

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