I heard hard work never killed anyone but I figure, why not...?
Well… this is a unique treat. This game surprised me, I got much talk about it on twitter so I decided to check into it myself.
That’s right, BODACIOUS.
For once, I actually agree with the other reviewers on a recent release, and not since Super Meat Boy have I found a game where death doesn’t piss me off as much as it should. Let me start at the beginning of my experience with this.
I started off watching the trailer for the steam release, a simple, almost noir affair of a man getting out of a car with a baseball bat. This simple trailer summed the whole game up in just a little bit, without showing the over the top gore. Yes there was blood, but it wasn’t like he bathed in it. So went and shelled out the ten bucks for this game.
This game starts out with a simple tutorial for it’s simple, yet unique controls. You use the mouse and the WASD set-up to move, space bar to ‘finish’ enemies, shift for fine aiming. Such simple controls for such a unique and challenging game.
After that, you receive your first bit of story, with the protagonist being accosted by 3 masked men. It all started on April 3, 1989…
Missions or levels, whatever you decide to call them arrive via phone messages. Thank god there is not a pager, because these enemies are quick to react, and vicious. I step into the metro for my first taste of real action, knocking people out, finishing them and grabbing a briefcase. On the way out, I’m greeted by a few more goons, before escaping in my Delorean (Well it looks like one). Then I get my next ‘cut scene’ of sorts when my character stops at a convenience store.
After that I get a new mask, and go on to the next mission. The masks each do a different thing, boosting your effectiveness in combat. Everything from small kill bonuses (as in ‘Lethal Doors’ above) to silenced shots, things to make the game more your style. I’m not subtle, I’m loud and proud, which goes to say Splinter Cell and Metal Gear aren’t my cup of tea.
Death will happen, eventually. It’s actually painless, it starts over from the last check point lightning fast and puts you back in the action immediately. Being that I don’t ‘do’ stealth, I died a lot, but didn’t get frustrated. I died a lot in RE6 because of control issues, the other player, me being cocky, but in Hotline Miami, with nobody to blame but myself, I didn’t get upset at all.
In closing, Hotline Miami is a mind-boggling bloodbath that doesn’t let up. From the beginning this game grabs you by the balls, pulls you in and drags you around for one hell of a retro ride. This game is one of the can’t miss titles of 2012. Go get it and start blasting, it’s more addictive than crystal meth.
Josh Flaherty is an independent game designer from Minneapolis, MN and owner of Queuethulu Games LLC. He has worked on independent video games since 2003 and is passionate about the art of games, unique stories, and long walks down dark alleys. Visit Josh at his personal blog, http://vonshmoot.blogspot.com/ and also at Queuethulu Games Blog (personal game design blog) http://queuethulu.blogspot.com/. You can follow him on Twitter as well @SWTZMBEJESUS. To contact Josh, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.