Hotline Miami Review: Filled With 80’s Nostalgia and Electronic Music

If you like Grand Theft Auto I & II then chances are, you will enjoy Hotline Miami ($4.99 on Steam and $9.99 on Playstation Network, $7.99 for Playstation+ Members).

In this psychedelic, 8-bit, top-down shooter, you will be going through countless fast-paced missions that will require speed, timing and surprisingly, a plan of attack. At first I thought I could run in and start spraying bullets, but I quickly learned that as easily as it is to kill the enemy, it is just as easy for them to kill you in return. It only takes one hit, one bullet and you have to start over at the last checkpoint.

Gameplay and Controls

The controls are fairly simple: Pick up weapons, aim and shoot/punch. You can also pan the stage to see enemies ahead and plan your attacks (trust me, you need to do this often). It was shocking to know that it was a lot easier to play on the PS Vita than on the PS3. Since the Vita is a touchscreen, panning and locking onto enemies was extremely easy while the PS3 was jittery and awkward. Though it still worked, it took a little practice to execute quickly since time is of essence in some parts. Of course, the computer version was just as easy as point and click.

Visuals and Graphics

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The nostalgic, 8-bit graphics mixed with an an 80’s vibrant color scheme, works together perfectly. Each variant gradient in the background adds to that sense that you don’t need highly textured layers to make the game visually appealing. I don’t want to say too much, but depending on the situation and items equipped, the environment’s colors change drastically, lending to easy visual cues and enhancement in gameplay.

Music and Soundtrack

If you like the soundtrack from the movie, Drive, then you will honestly enjoy the way the music adds angst and anxiety to certain levels. Mixed with electronic music, you can feel you adrenaline pumping as you precisely “pump” lead into the enemies running towards you. As the the climax of the game picks up, so does the tempo. The music was one of the things I enjoyed the most. In fact, I had it on in the background while doing this Hotline Miami review.

Should You Give It A Shot?

HELL YES! For as low as $4.99, you get a well crafted, well composed gorey indie game that will easily become a classic. I’m certain that this will find it’s way onto mobile platforms. I recommend giving the demo a shot if you don’t want to pull the trigger just yet.

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by Michael Hoang, on July 15, 2013