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Hotline Miami review

Hotline Miami review

[hotlinemiami_01]Are you a psychopath? Do you enjoy violence? Why are you doing this? Hotline Miami doesn’t preach, but it will make you ask some questions. Players control a nameless protagonist who receives anonymous phone calls, instructing him to murder countless mobsters for no apparent reason. The questions apply to him in-game, but you as the player can’t help but wonder for your own sake.

Hotline Miami is what happens when you take the Eighties, intense electronica and slick arcade gameplay before filtering it all through the mind of a serial killer. Viewed from a top-down perspective, players are tasked with working their way through tightly designed stages, killing everyone in their path before advancing.

Numerous weapons are available across the stages and are dropped by enemies, broadly separated into melee and firearm categories. One hit from any weapon kills a foe, but the same goes for you. You will die, and you will die a lot. Respawning and trying again is only ever one button press away, and levels become a rhythm of refining your strategy as you try again and again to get from start to finish. It sounds irritating, but the gameplay is so fluid, visually exciting and fun to play that you rarely get annoyed.

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The purposefully crude retro visuals are a wash of hazy neon lights and sickening violence, shockingly brutal despite the basic graphics. A stroke of genius has you exiting a level in silence after completion, walking past your slain foes and really taking it all in for the first time.

Hotline Miami also features one of the best soundtracks we’ve ever heard, a mixture of thumping techno and fuzzy, drug-fuelled psychedelica. Combined with the visuals, this is a digital chunk of pastel pink nostalgia that looks and sounds fantastic.

Our largest concern going into Hotline Miami was that it’s a PC port. This was a game that relied heavily on precision mouse control – could it be accurately recreated on a pad?

For the most part, yes. Aiming with the right stick is fluid and responsive, and normally works fine. Unfortunately, the unavoidable truth is that an analog stick will never be quite as precise as a mouse. Dying due to a lack of control finesse rather than skill is occasionally irritating, but it doesn’t happen too much. Mainly, this is an excellent adaptation.

If you’ve yet to experience Hotline Miami for yourself, you now have even less of an excuse. It’s one of the most pure, fun and intense experiences in gaming, and might even make you ask some questions of yourself in the process.

 

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