Tight 2d top down game play, a psychedelic violent story, a heart-pounding soundtrack and challenging but not frustrating levels. This is Hotline Miami.
A thug in a white suit stands around the corner while his dog is patrolling the room. I have to be careful not to get noticed - yet. The bass drum of a minimal techno track is beating in sync with my heartbeat. The moment the dog is out of sight I run up to the thug and smack him to the ground, immediately grabbing his baseball bat. The dog sees me and storms up to me. I quickly throw the bat at the beast, taking it out in an instant. But the bat also smashes through a window, creating a noise. Two more grunts approach from across the hall following the commotion. I have to think quick. I run back into another room, cutting of the line of sight. As one thug approaches I smack the door into him, knocking him out. This leaves me open for a second, enough time for the second grunt to gun me down in a heartbeat. I’m dead. Respawn. A thug in a white suit stands around the corner. I have to be more careful...
These moments practically define the game play of Hotline Miami. Intense and fast action where split second decisions are the difference between winning or dying. In pixely top-down 2D graphics you play a nameless mercenary that gets orders via telephone and then commits massacres wearing a variety of animal masks. The games distinct graphical style that can be described as ‘neon-grimey’ gets only better by its excellent soundtrack: tracks by featured artists that range from sterile pumping to moody-melancholic – always fitting the mood.
Hotline Miami’s developer clearly had a vision and know exactly what kind of game it is: Fast, dirty, violent and precise. A story that leaves a bitter taste of decay in society, that it almost feels bat to enjoy the ride from one job to the next. I just hope the long announced Hotline Miami 2 will make its way soon.