Hotline Miami, first released on the PC last year, has made its way to the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Vita. With it’s retro visuals and over-the-top nature, can it capture audiences on Sony’s consoles like it did on the PC? Read the full review to find out.
Game: Hotline Miami
Developer: Dennaton Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Reviewed on: PlayStation Vita
Hotline Miami’s story isn’t really up to much and, for most part, is rather confusing. Basically, you take on the role of an unnamed man who starts getting answer machine messages from three random people to collect certain stuff or go on errands for them. As you progress, the mysterious people do tend to try and explain things to you, but I can’t really say that I was gripped by the story throughout the game. It’ just plain bizarre, leading me to think the developers had more important things on their mind with this particular title.
Hotline Miami has a fantastic soundtrack, there are no doubts about that. Each mission sees you being accompanied by some really funky tunes, complimenting the nature of the game extremely well. When you fire up the game for the first time you’re advised to plug a pair of headphones into your Vita to get the full audio experience, which (trust me on this) is great advice! I can’t remember playing an indie title with audio this good, it’s a real treat for your ears!
It’s safe to say that Hotline Miami doesn’t exactly use up the full power of the Vita, but in this case that is very much a good thing. The graphics are most certainly retro, with the colours popping out of the Vita’s gorgeous screen. This might be a strange analogy, but it’s like playing an extremely polished SNES game in HD!
The top down view really suits the style of the game down to a tee. So much so that anything more technically advanced would’ve probably ruined the overall experience. If you liked the early Grand Theft Auto titles and their top-down approach, I am certain you will come to more than appreciate the visuals in Hotline Miami.
If I had to sum up Hotline Miami’s gameplay in one word, it would have to be frustrating. I don’t mean that in a bad way though, far from it. If you like a good challenge on your Vita, then you need not look any further than Hotline Miami. The game is incredibly hard! Get hit by one bullet and your dead. That’s it. This might sound incredibly harsh, but much like something like Dark Souls it adds to the charm of this brutal title. Each chapter poses a new challenge, pushing you to take a strategic approach in your butchering of every single enemy so you can progress.
There are multiple ways you can kill an enemy, such as your bare hands, a gun, metal bar or baseball bat. However, when you use your hands to kill an enemy you’ll still need to ‘finish’ them off with a press of the X button. The further you go through the game the harder it becomes as environments all of sudden become congested with seemingly no way out or no weapons to get yourself out of trouble. I lost count how many times I got down to the final couple of enemies only to find myself get shot and return right back to the start of that particular level.
I suppose having an unlimited amount of lives does help, but when your plan goes wrong on multiple occasions that’s when you start to get rather frustrated. You’ll certainly need your mind fully focused to get through the latter stages of the game or else you will find yourself back to square one as quick as anything! Still, it has to be said that not once did I feel cheated by game. If I died, I always knew that I had poorly planned an attack. Plus, it was great to know that progression was based purely on my skill and not luck.
Hotline Miami is the perfect game to pick up when your bored for a few hours on a long journey or just have some time to kill. Although it’s not the biggest title ever, it will take you much longer than anticipated to complete mainly due the brutal challenge Hotline Miami offers. There’s no easy or super easy mode either, so you either go hard or you go home!
It’s fantastic to see a development team make a game that focuses on retro visuals and audio, taking you back to the more simpler time of your childhood. Hotline Miami shows us that how such a simple game can offer a great challenge and be such fun in the process. It’s a truly wonderful title, one I urge you all to pick up for your Vita as soon as possible!