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Hotline Miami Review

Being a gamer is full of making very hard decisions, not just in letting Shepard kill off an alien or if you can be bothered to save the princess once again, but also in the real world like what console to purchase or having to pass on many games, relegating them to the “to do “pile and kidding yourself that one day you may get a chance to play them. Hotline Miami was one of those games, but rather than sit gathering digital dust in my Steam library, Dennaton Games have released their much lauded title onto the PS Vita, giving me the chance to just see exactly what I missed.

Getting too deep into the story will not only spoil the game, but also confuse everyone as from the outset it tries very hard to set you on edge, not really knowing what is going on with your nameless character being talked to by three mysterious characters wearing frightful animal masks, Don Juan the horse, Richard the rooster and Rasmus the owl, asking questions and adding even more weird to this already strange game. Then through a series of flashbacks you relive previous events, mainly involving receiving mysterious phone calls in your flat asking for a favour like entertaining business men or cleaning, only for the following level to turn into a bloodbath, with you also donning an animal mask and killing anything that moves.

Hotline Miami has been synonymous with violence and it does not disappoint, with your character slicing baddies in half with a samurai sword or battering them with a poo cue, filling them with lead with a variety of guns like shotguns, machine guns and silences Uzi’s or just hurling weapons like a glass bottle, hammer or bricks. Though there a lot of weapons on offer, a vital aid to a successful completion are the use of doors, with catching enemies on the other side knocking them back, enabling you to either grab their dropped weapon or jump on them for the up close and personal final kill. The main aim of each level is to make your way, room to room, deciding the best action and killing everything in sight, though this is easier said than done as the enemies are quick to react to gunfire and its one shot one kill, resulting in many level restarts.

Each of the levels allows you to rack up scores in numerous ways, with variety being the best way to get high scores, which in turn unlock even more content like more weapons to a larger selection of masks to select from before you start your rampage. Starting with the plain old rooster mask, you gradually unlock more freakish mantles, each with their own special property, like Carl the grasshopper who starts missions with a drill, Rami the camel offers extra ammo, Ted the dog means dogs will not attack and my personal favourite Don Juan, who enables kills via the door rather than just knocking enemies back.

As I mentioned earlier, there will be lots and lots of restarts, with death coming from all angles, forcing you to work out the perfect path to success one death at a time, sometimes stealth is the key, others, a trusty shotgun will come in handy. The enemies, though they have their own patrol areas will be alerted and act swiftly to any noise, using windows and corners to their advantage just as much as you would.

The graphical direction is perfectly suited to the idea of the game, if it was hyper real graphics, the level of violence would have been too much and deter from the overall gameplay as opposed to the top down, 80’s pixel graphics which though still very violent, enables you to realise the stealthier, puzzle like properties of the game.

Not having played the original on the PC it’s hard to compare the control decisions, but for the majority they work fine, though take an awful long to get to grips with them, with even after a few hours of play you still find yourself pressing a wrong button or getting stuck locked onto the wrong baddie. The left stick controls movements whilst the right stick changes where you are looking, with a small reticule showing your current line of sight. Firing and using weapons is via the right trigger leaving the left to pick up and throw weapons with the left. The Vitas touch screen also comes into play here, with swiping of the screen used to move the map around, hoping you can get a good view of what lies ahead and also a tap screen option that lets you lock onto a specific enemy, very handy when you are planning what could be a very messy assault.

Hotline Miami is a great example of doing retro right, taking all of the classic looks and feel from a bygone age and giving the game that “video nasty” feel that came with films of that era; with hookers, decapitations and blood all over the place Mary Whitehouse, will be spinning in her grave right now.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: PS3/PS Vita)


+ Cross Buy for PS Vita and PS3.
+ Fast paced and very violent action with an interesting puzzle element.
+ 80’s inspired graphics
+ The soundtrack is worth the asking price a


- Vita controls can get a bit fiddly at times.

Edited On 26 Jun, 2013

( 1 )
Johno Muller's avatar
Johno Muller 4 years ago
ooo Cross buy, I think I've just made my mind up

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