In March, "Hotline Miami" finally came out for Mac platform and this week, I downloaded the blood-soaked retrofit to experience the carnage for myself. Set in steamy Miami Florida, Hotline promises classic graphics, overhead (early GTA) style gameplay and a host of aesthetically pleasing elements involving euro-synth scoring, dark-psychadelic imagery and a mutual decent into insanity from player to main character.
The trailer (below) gives you the same sort of feeling that the movie "Drive" does... Emotionally detached psychopath, placed in a supposedly "beautiful" landscape where nothing but horror and murder prevail. So far so good...
In playing Hotline, I realized that the best part of this game is the teachability of it. The learning curve for this game (Mouse and WASD controls) is sharp but given the unlimited life restarts available, players can pick up the how-to's pretty quickly. Witchy house music blasts as you make quick movements from room to room, picking up an array of weapons and executing your marks in an almost Hitman-like fashion. Blast your way through and suffer the consequences, or sneak up behind most of your enemies with a crowbar and kill them one-by-one...
Players are awarded points based on accuracy and execution of kill and once everyone is dead in the room, you move on. Masks are unlocked for different bonuses and secret weapons/upgrades are awarded for kill points. Pretty simple. The levels become harder as you progress from mission to mission and the bumps/breaks in between levels become more interesting. Who is the bearded man in EVERY break? Who is leaving messages on your phone?? Why even do these mediocre activities in the first place??? Hotline Miami reveals the answer to each mystery after a few mission accomplishments and keeps you wanting SO much more. This is a near-entheogenic, heart pounding hit of a game. I really couldn't stop.
One thing I wanted more of from Hotline was the ability to act out during breaks. In the pizza shop I wanted to do something destructive, in the bar I wanted to lash out at the fat guy covered in puke...I WANTED 100% CARNAGE! In these moments, your attack controls are left neutral and become pick up commands. Something that I think limited the game a bit.
Aside from that, I haven't gasped harder or jumped higher out of pure fear and surprise than while playing Hotline Miami. This game is completely addictive and utterly thrilling. I will play it again and again to beat old high scores and talk about it with friends over drinks.
Get your Mac download here: