Hotline Miami: Much More Than Gore
Recently I had the pleasure of experiencing a game that has turned out to be one of them ‘love-hate’ games. Some people classed it as nothing but a repetitive gorefest that had little to offer bar a brief novelty. Others claimed it was yet another showcase of indie genius. Personally I find Hotline Miami to be one of this year’s more interesting games. It’s interesting in the same way films like The Wicker Man and Videodrome were interesting on the first viewing. It’s a strange game, with a strange story and atmosphere…but it works.
The plot is a mixture of brutal criminal exploits mixed with sheer insanity. A number of events within the story are simply bizarre and normally wouldn’t work, but in this instance it feels in canon with the game. The storyline gives off a strange sense of exploitation cinema, mainly due to the nature in which the game is presented and its love of brutal kills.
The whole game is a love letter to 80′s culture; from its visuals to its soundtrack. Although the gore and violence seems to garner the most attention, it’s the soundtrack that first grabbed my attention. It’s simple (at least for the most part) but manages to be perfectly suited to the game and the feeling its aiming for. It’s a crafted blend of typical 80′s sounds that work perfectly with the visuals. The soundtrack also compliments the mood of each level by providing eerily dark beats when appropriate. As bold as a statement as this may seem….Hotline Miami captures a dark 80′s mood just as effectively as the film ‘Drive’.
There’s more to the seedy world of Hotline Miami than gore and the 80′s feeling. It’s a genuinely slick game that combines a number of elements you wouldn’t normally expect to see. The combination of arcade style action with stealth and minor strategy is a strange but wonderful mix. One hit is enough to kill the player (normally in a burst of blood and guts), which creates that much sought after sense of challenge.
Forming a plan of attack on each room is a nice touch, adding an extra sense of depth to the overall game. Taking out a group of enemies one by one, without anyone else being alerted, is forever fulfilling. Kicking down doors and unleashing hell one shotgun shell at at time also has its charms. There’s a surprising amount of ways to approach to each level in what could be seen as a rather shallow game on the surface.
In a industry where things tend to be getting bigger and louder, atmosphere and charm get lost along the way. Hotline Miami may be one of the weirdest titles this year but its packed with a charm; a dark, brutal and oddly seedy charm. Simple in concept, slick in execution (in more ways than one) it’s certainly one of the games to sit down and check out. All that is required is an open mind, a slightly opened wallet (Hotline Miami is under £10) and some decent headphones for that awesome soundtrack. It’s much more than a simple ‘gorefest’ and as a fan of video games you owe it to yourself to check Hotline Miami out.