Note: Backtrack articles only include our ‘fun level’ factor while playing an old game. It is not a review, and is meant to be similar to a person-to-person conversation. These articles may contain spoilers. You’ve been warned.
I didn’t understand the hype when Hotline Miami was released. I’m still not as hyped as some, but I did thoroughly enjoy my journey through 1980s Miami!
You will die a lot, yes, Hotline Miami is one of those games. Hotline Miami reminds me of playing through N+ or even Geometry Wars. Every time I died, I mashed on the A button repeatedly to restart the level, only to die, then die again, and again, and again. You will quickly learn what to, and what not to do. However, even if you have played through 8 levels, you’ll find something new in level 9 that you weren’t expecting. Hotline Miami doesn’t have much to work with, but it has mastered what it has.
If you’re Agent 47 (Hitman), you don’t need a mask. However, Hotline Miami doesn’t focus on a professional hitman, your character is an average guy that is being told what to do ‘or else there’ll be consequences’. Masks in Hotline Miami not only conceal your identity, but they give your average character a leg-up on his foes. Masks can buff your character to run faster, have one punch KOs, to game changers like more weapons, starting with a knife, or being able to see more of the map. Hotline Miami offers 26 different masks, it is likely there is a mask to fit almost any playstyle.
Although, the ‘mask system’ in Hotline Miami does not provide any motivation to try different masks. I used Tony (Tiger) throughout the entire game because I liked running up to enemies, punching them, and boom, they’re dead. No need to find a weapon, or worry about attracting unnecessary attention while firing a weapon. My playstyle throughout Hotline Miami was strategically planned stealth attacks. I would try levels over and over again to see how fast I could move, dodge bullets, and remember patterns of enemies. Some levels were more difficult than others, but Tony never let me down, we conquered the entire game by punching everyone in the face!
BRILLIANCE! Is one way to describe Hotline Miami’s music. It captures ’80s synths with the feeling and mood of the time. I wouldn’t want any other soundtrack for Hotline Miami.
While intriguing at some points, most of the time I didn’t know who was who or why they were important. But it was easy to understand that you are working your way up the chain of command to find the head bossman that is responsible for everything. Since all characters look more or less like the same gobbledegook, it was difficult to find emotion or reason for your actions. All you want to do is get through a level as quickly as you can and avoid dying. The main challenge to Hotline Miami is figuring out a level’s nuances. Where you can and can’t go, which enemy to attack first, second, third, and so on. What happens when you go through a specific door, or who reacts when you fire a gun. All of this and more go into the strategy of completing a level in Hotline Miami.
Hotline Miami is a solid game. It is more fun than I thought it would be, and I am looking forward to the series’ future with Hotline Miami 2, not to mention the DLC deal Hotline Miami developers have with the folks at Overkill for Payday 2. I’m unsure if my experience will force me to buy and play Hotline Miami 2 on day one, but you can bet a dollar that I’ll be giving it a real strong eye on the day of release.