Hotline Miami is a top down action game that originally started on the PC and has now been ported on over to the Playstation Vita by Abstraction Games (If you are curious I have not played the PC version). The first thing you notice when playing this one is that it has a certain 80’s feel with the music and design of the environment. Considering this game takes place in the 80’s it makes sense. The music is great and while I went through all the levels I definitely thought the music fit the atmosphere of the game. The game even tells you to put headphones on, which I did!
Hotline Miami puts you in the shoes of a random fellow who keeps getting mysterious phone calls that tell you to do a certain task at a certain location. After receiving the call you head to your car and arrive at the location. The objective of each level is to kill everyone in the building by any means necessary. The game controls surprisingly well considering it was designed with mouse and keyboard in mind originally. The beginning of each level starts with you choosing your mask for the task. Each mask has its own specific ability, some include starting with a knife, seeing further, or having lethal punches. One of the most important things to remember is to never just run in oblivious to what’s around you – it only takes one hit from any of the enemies and your dead. Same goes for the enemies of course. The combat in this game is extremely fast, one mistake and your dead. Luckily this game starts you right back in the action so dying doesn’t anger you too much. I think one of the most overlooked aspects of the game is that after murdering everyone on the level you then have to walk all the way back to your car. This may sound tedious, but when you see all of the carnage that you had just caused and the music stops, you realize just how brutal this game really is. After completing a level fully you are then graded on how well you did; if you finished the level fast with lots of combos and using a lot of variety in your methods of mayhem you will be graded higher. If you plan to go for the platinum trophy in this game you better be good… one of the trophies involves getting an ‘A+’ on every stage.
The simple controls and fast gameplay really make this one a fun one on the Vita. I was a little surprised to learn that there is a small story to the game and it was good enough to make me want to see how it ended. If your not good at shooting or quick at making decisions this game may be a little too hard for you. I did find myself dying a lot on levels, but even dying can be fun – especially when your not expecting it from a guy off screen with a shotgun. Killing people in this game is quite graphic and I love it. Each weapon has its own style which makes the game a little different each time. Shotguns rip people’s guts out, swords cut people in half, and clubs bash their skulls in.
The game has quite a bit of replay value in it. You unlock more masks and weapons as you go, and even after beating the game I still hadn’t unlocked everything. The level designs are great and sometimes you will look at a room and be like, “how in the hell!” As you progress through the levels they become much more of a challenge. You will find yourself trying to kill 3 enemies all at once and then throwing your weapon at the guy too far away without missing or he will blast you with his shotgun.
If you like fast action packed mayhem in the palm of your hands, Hotline Miami is definitely one game you’re going to want to try. With cross-buy and cross-save you can take this experience on the go or on the big screen if you’ve got the PS3 to back it up. If you’re just a casual gamer then you may want to avoid this one just from the pure chaos, but if you’re looking for a challenge this is the one for you!