#1015 Hotline Miami

Posted: 8th December 2020 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

914th played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: PC
Year of Release: 2012
Developer: Dennaton Games
Publisher: Devolver Digital

It feels like Hotline Miami is one of those indie darlings that started off the indie explosion that mostly happened after the list, where smaller games had a bigger scope. I’ve heard people say good things about it for a long time and I’m not sure whether I would have played it earlier without the list – I certainly would have tried it, even if it wouldn’t have been my thing, but I’ve held off for the blog.

It also feels like one of the main games that put Devolver Digital on the map – we covered Serious Sam before, where they released the HD remake, but that’s their only notable set of titles before this time. Since, though, they’ve published plenty of other big games, including a number of them that former colleagues of mine worked on, so the team certainly stands out here.

Our Thoughts

The closest immediate reference I have for Hotline Miami is Grand Theft Auto – the original, top down action game rather than the later 3D sequels. It also has the same hyper violent feel of its gameplay – bloody with plenty of weapons and enemies to kill. That’s where it ends though, as Hotline Miami takes place in small stages, rather than a large city. You go into a building and use stealth to defeat enemies and reach one of several goals. The stages are a puzzle of sorts, where you play through section to figure out how to deal with the enemies a few at a time. You iterate on the levels to get a bit further each time, while also dealing with the random changes that you get on each playthrough. For a lot of levels, this is quite fun – it takes time to learn the last few sections, but they are often small enough that it’s not that frustrating. Well, most of the time – sometimes it really got to me.

With that said, there was a limit to my patience, and that was at a boss battle where the boss was chasing you as you tried to get a golf club from a bag. Only part of the bag could be interacted with, which felts rather arbitrary as there was no indication you couldn’t pick up the club. You then have to trick it to knock itself out and beat it several times to kill it, without checkpoints in between. It moved to being repetitive to a point where you know the trick and have to dance to repeat it a bit too often. It became a bit much, and seemed to be the best point to leave the game.

Final Thoughts

When Hotline Miami follows its own rules, it’s an interesting action game, a puzzle on how to best execute your violence without being caught and offering lots of methods and modifications to do so. The story it tells seems bizarre so far, and I’m not sure it will explain much more as I go on as it draws enough David Lynch influences to keep things ambiguous. I’ll need to go back, just figuring out how to get past the most annoying bits.