Action - PC
1 Save Slot
This is my kind of game. But let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
Hotline Miami is an indie action game that debuted last month. It's a little unfortunate that it came out a couple weeks after Retro City Ransom, as many gamers believed HM to be a gorier, more immature take on RCR. That's really a shame, because Hotline Miami has so much to offer other than its silly gory visuals.
At its core, Hotline Miami is a frenetic and strategic action game. It’s displayed in a top-down 2D perspective with 8-bit graphics, where your goal is to pretty much annihilate the many enemies scattered throughout a location. You’ll use fists, pick up metal pipes, wield shotguns, and push doors to disable and gut each and every one of them. It gives me the same feelings of suspense and exhilaration as Ninja Gaiden Black. Enemies have pretty decent AI, where if you’re spotted, they will rush at you. If you fire gunshots, you alert everyone in the vicinity to your presence. Hence, the game has a stealth-like twist to it, but it never slows the action down. Enemies here will one-hit kill you, so the difference between life and death is dependent on planning and pinpoint execution. Your abilities are generally pretty limited, so the focus is on scoping out your environment and figure out the best tactics for survival.
Deaths are frequent, but restarts are instantaneous. That's what makes everything come together. Because there's no load time and the game doesn’t bombard you with cutscenes, that means that each death and restart just propels you to plan better and try harder. The game is hard, but the challenge is reasonable. If you do something stupid, you will die.
Hotline Miami encourages perfect runs through stages, by grading you on how fast you clear stages, combos racked up by killing enemies in succession, accuracy in your kills, etc. Even if you don’t care about scoring, Hotline Miami gives you the flexibility to take your time through levels or go for speedruns. You can take out enemies one by one or set up mass slaughters. You can go for perfection or you can go for survival. And that’s what makes Hotline Miami so rewarding. It has infinite replay value.
Did I mention the fantastic bumping synth soundtrack? They not only add to the fun, but they’re great tunes to listen to away from the game. As a bonus, they’re available as .ogg files in the game directory for consumption.
Forget all those combo games called “visceral” and “flowing”. Hotline Miami offers a true flowing experience that is brutal, smart, and engaging on all levels. Love it.