A Demented Tour Through The Mind Of A Killer - Hotline Miami - PC - www.GameInformer.com
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Hotline Miami

A Demented Tour Through The Mind Of A Killer

Disco synth thrums against my ears as my shotgun thumps back against my shoulder. I don’t know why I’ve come to this shady nightclub. I don’t know who the dozens of faceless thugs I’ve murdered work for. I don’t know why I’m wearing an animal mask. And I don’t know what to make of the shadowy ghosts hanging out in my apartment. I feel like I’m going crazy. In spite of Hotline Miami’s simple 8-bit inspired graphics, this inventive indie title does a great job of putting you inside the head of a deranged criminal trapped inside a nightmare of criminal wetwork. The game is entirely unsettling, but that’s what makes it worth playing.

Before each level, you wake up inside your apartment and receive a call from some random person claiming to be a store clerk, office manager, or babysitter who gives you an address and tells you to pick up your order, tour a rental property, or come in for a medical checkup. What’s going on isn’t clear, but the world around you is obviously not as it seems. As these missions progress, they tell a subtle and unnerving narrative about the history of the silent protagonist. The final revelation at the end of the game doesn’t answer all of your questions, but it provides an interesting commentary on game design and the video game medium as a whole.

Dennaton Games did a great job infusing Hotline Miami with the neon-lit, cocaine-fueled vibe of 1980s Miami. Unfortunately, the gameplay is more frustrating than fun. Hotline Miami action is energetic, but the game lacks controller support (though since I played the game they added controller support), so navigating each level with a keyboard while engaging in frantic combat is often a bear. The goal for every level is to kill everything that moves, and a combo system encourages you to keep your kill streaks going. Achieving higher scores allows you to unlock new weapons and animal masks that give you special properties such as the ability to walk faster, silence your gunfire, or increase your ammo.

Test Chamber - Hotline Miami

Moving slowly through rooms and silently eliminate your enemies with bats, crowbars, and knives occasionally pays off, but guns make much more effective killing tools. Unfortunately, a single gunshot will send a stream of enemies running into your room to investigate, so you need balance, speed, and caution. Once you find your flow, Hotline Miami opens up. Systematically working your way through each room and murdering every thug is a harrowing experience, but the faster your move, the more reckless you get. And the more reckless you are, the more likely you are to end up a bloody stain on the floor.

Even if you are cautious, you still die a lot. Enemies move nearly as fast as you do and sometimes sneak up on you from behind. Thanks to the clunky controls, many of these deaths feel unfair. Much like Super Meat Boy, you have to play each level over and over again until you get it down pat – continually perfecting your strategy and learning to react to the occasional curveball thrown your way.

Hotline Miami has more style than substance. The music and story presentation perfectly place you inside the mind of a serial killer. I loved the intensity of the basic design and the challenge of trying to think on my feet, but the clunky controls and repetitive action inhibit what is otherwise one of the most creative indie titles of the year. Despite all of my frustrations, after extended breaks, I found myself coming back for more. Hotline Miami’s uneasy ambiance and frenetic action have an odd allure.

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User Reviews:

  • 8.50
    Hotline Miami has received a lot of attention lately for being somewhat of an indie darling on the PC and with the game gearing up for a PSN release, we figured now is a good time for the AO crew to dig into the game and give you our two cents on the bloody romp through 1980′s Miami. Please enjoy...
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  • 9.00
    Yo the G.I. reviewer was just totally mad that he got rocked by the goons in this game. I'll admit you have to replay the stages a lot but the game is totally consistent, there are no cheap deaths. Nothing happens that you wont be able to see coming and prepare for if you have your head in the game...
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  • 9.75
    At first I didn't know what to think of Hotline Miami. I was frustrated at times, and completely enraptured at others. It started as a mixed bag of an amazing presentation mixed with unfamiliar design. Once the game took hold of me, it never let go. The incredible sound design, the strange, disorienting...
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  • 8.75
    You wake up, you get a call, you kill people. You wake up, you get a call, you kill people. Such may seem to be the gentle tediousness of Hotline Miami but underneath this rut remains an ostentatious display of style and substance. The murders are gruesome, the environment equally so. But what may lack...
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  • 8.75
    You kick the door open, smashing into the goon standing behind it, without flinching you smash his head into the ground, and grab his crowbar, swinging it into two other goons' heads, their brains splattering everywhere. What I described is a pretty gruesome scenario, but its what you do in almost...
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  • 8.00
    I run down a hallway and wait by a door. A guard walks past the door and I swing it open, knocking him down. I dash at a shotgunner before he has time to react and swing my katana, decapitating him. I turn back to the stunned guard and finish him off with a quick sword swipe. I check the next room. A...
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