When I fired up Hotline Miami (PC) for a late night stream, I only knew to expect excellent music, for my ears were graced with two tracks at a local game shop early that day. My eyes were pleasantly assaulted over the next hour or so with neon bloodied walls, baddies heads vomited upon, and thumping music in a fucked up 16bit universe. If that doesn’t grab your attention, I don’t know what will.
The story laid out in the beginning is a bit hazy, even your character doesn’t know what the hell is going on. All he knows is this: wake up in apartment, check voicemail, provide killing services for the unknown. Rinse. Repeat. Bits of story break up the onslaught of levels nicely, but the heart of the game beats in the levels and game play.
There are a range of weapons that become available to you as the levels progress, such as a samurai sword or rifle. I personally liked the crowbar and baseball bats for starting a level, as the enemies become alerted with gunfire and you only get so many bullets. I ended up playing this shoot ‘em/beat ‘em/fuck ‘em up in a stealthy manner…which is quite humorous. If one of your plans doesn’t work, the level resets at the tap of an “r” and you may try again. Players of Super Hexagon will be familiar with the “we expect you might fail a few times, so we won’t waste your time with loading screens” philosophy, and it works.
Unlockables include guns, melee weapons, and masks. The masks aren’t very visible in the levels if you choose to equip one, but each one has a unique buff. Performing killing combos will rack up your score and help when you are graded at the end of each level.
And the soundtrack. The soundtrack is perfect for this game. Various times I found myself nodding my head while sticking my thumbs in some guy’s eyes.
Hotline Miami (PC) is usually $9 bucks on Steam, and it’s worth every dollar. It’s fun, it’s brutal, and it’s accessible. Accessible to those who like 16 bit violence. And vomit.