Hotline Miami is a brutal, weird-ass game. It takes place in an alternate 1980's Miami in which you have to kill guys based on the whim of voices on your answering machine. Seemingly straight forward, right?
To help sink in the 1980's Miami is the lavish and gaudy visuals of bad rugs and overall design of loud colors and pixelated graphics match the games of this era. Sound design is good, with solid sound effects. The music is slow, but stands out the most as it's moody. You'll receive answering machine messages to go to locations to murder some bad folk who are doing bad things.
It plays from a top-down perspective like the original GTA games, but you aren't driving around so much as the game takes care of that in cutscenes. You're on foot, clearing out levels room-by-room for combos to increase your score. At first you'll focus on melee and takedown kills as your primary means of execution. Soon enough you'll have access to guns, but with limited ammo. Using guns also makes a lot more noise than melee, for obvious reasons. Make too much noise and you'll have the entire level coming for you and they'll be armed with a mix of melee and range based weapons and likely kill you in one hit.
In my preview build, there were 12 chapters to explore and plan my attack. Before you jump in to one, you can choose from a series of masks like a snake, owl, horse and so on that provide no statistical advantage, but makes it something personal. Additional masks get unlocked by achieving high scores. You'll notice that each level is different and actually quite tactical in the approach. Sure, go ahead and rush into a room and hope you make it out alive. You likely won't. You'll have to plan and watch the patterns of the enemies to take full advantage.
That speaks to another degree of difficulty in Hotline Miami, is your fragility. It takes one shotgun blast or a few bullets to put you down for good. Should you die, the entire level restarts from the beginning. It's a sad reality, but one you'll come to grips with often. Luckily for me, you, and everybody is the ultra-fast load times from death to life. Just press 'R' on death, and you're back in, ready to
die play again. You'll eventually get into a rhythm and start to be successful. But one level is not like the other, so you'll have to pay close attention to avoid death.
Hotline Miami is coming out real soon, this October 23rd on Steam and GOG.com for $14.99 (now on a pre-order sale for cheaper). Its uniqueness and pixelated brutality is seemingly worth the price of admission in this carnival of chaos.[divider]
Call or Text 1-786-519-3708, it's the actual hotline for the game. Try it!