A keyboard breaker, that’s how I would call Hotline Miami. A game that makes me want to smash my keyboard against a wall and after 5 minutes pick it up again and give it another shot (after I put it back together).
Hotline Miami is a top down, 16bit (or whatever bit) 80’s inspired hack & slash & shoot game.. I’m not sure that is the correct genre or a genre at all. What I do know is that the game is massively “indie” and it shines through in every aspect of the 5 hours it takes to finish the main story both in a positive and negative sense.
I’m not going to talk about the story, it’s too short without spoiling any thing. The gameplay works in a way that at the start of every level you get to pick a mask, which gives you an extra power. Like having more bullets for the guns you find, start of with a knife or walk faster. Picking the correct mask could mean the difference in restarting a stage 15 or 30 times, and you will be restarting… Dying in Hotline Miami is easy and it will happen a lot… like a shitload. But with the restart button being nothing else that just R it’s heaps easy to jumping back into the action.
Every chapter starts you at the beginning of your house, you answer the phone, get a mission and you set off. The game really starts when you enter the building you are going to “clean” of bad people.
Damn Hit boxes
Even with the graphics being in a 90’s bit form, the game is still full of blood and gore. People being chopped in half or heads being shot off. Something else that is quite 90’s is that the game can be frustratingly hard (see first paragraph about breaking keyboards) and unforgiving. Dying resets the game to a “floor” so if you made your way all the way to the last guys to kill on a floor and you die you start all over again. I wouldn’t find this much of an issue if it wasn’t for the annoying controls or the INSANELY bad hitboxes.
In many instances you have the feeling you should be hitting a baddy but he’s actually standing on top of you. Or an instance you try to throw your weapon towards the guy but it goes right through him. This is where the whole “indie” development kinda stops.. These issues look like they could be fixed with a couple of patches and some hard work But the game is from 2012, and within 2 years it’s still the same. I don’t even think there ever was any updates for Hotline Miami at all.
Luckily Hotline Miami stands out by it’s pace and variety in weapons, everything is so quick. You can keep going, even when you die a zillion times on one stage, you want to keep going. And with around 20 stages to play, all with multiple floors, there is a lot to explore.