Making its console debut, Hotline Miami is a gore-filled shooter that blew away the PC world with its trippy visuals and visceral gameplay. For fans of indie games and Humble Bundles, Hotline Miami has been a bizarre treasure since it was released last October. However, hitting consoles is something completely different. Will this indie success story make the transition to the PlayStation Network or will it succumb to its mainstream masters?
For those of you uninitiated, Hotline Miami is a balls-tripping kind of experience like no other. It features 16 bit-like graphics that emphasize excessive blood, violence, and neon colors. Imagine traveling back to the time of Miami Vice but with Patrick Bateman as your tour guide. Hotline Miami owes a lot of its atmosphere to movies like American Psycho, Drive, and the TV series, Miami Vice. But don’t be fooled into thinking this is one of those games that hands over the narrative on a silver platter. Without hesitation, Hotline Miami is a game that makes you work to earn more exposition. And even then, who the hell really know what is happening here.
The word enigma comes to mind while playing this game and while a player could easily consult the internet and Wikipedia for the Cliff’s Notes version, I recommend that you absorb the experience without influence. The cool part about a trippy game like Hotline Miami, is that the interpretation is up to gamer. Experiencing this game is akin eating gourmet food or interpreting an episode of Lost. Everyone will have an opinion about what happens (or what the food tastes like), and therefore will want to discuss it ad nauseum while hanging out. Hotline Miami is truly an interesting experience.
I have some good news for fans of the PC release, despite this game being ported by a company other than the original developer, Hotline Miami plays perfectly on the PlayStation 3. The controls translate well to the PS3 controller allowing for precision control and pixel-perfect movement. In fact, I was much happier with the controls of the PS3 version than I was with the PC controls. Initially, I just couldn’t coordinate my keyboard and mouse to make the PC version traverse various stages. I found the PS3 version easier to pick up and play. This made accepting the game’s challenging difficulty that much easier to slog through.
About that difficulty, Hotline Miami is a trial and error game to its core. Expect to die a lot and in the most minute ways. That’s just how the game works. Previously, while playing on the PC, I found the targeting system a bit clunky for my tastes and it perpetuated my frustration with constantly dying. With a controller in hand, the targeting is easier and the constant deaths rest entirely on my shoulders. The upside to this is that I can only blame myself for my death and not the game itself.
Hotline Miami is a great game for those with patience, a taste for the ultraviolent, and fans of movies like Drive and American Psycho. If you have sensitive tastes or cannot dig the bizarre, you’d be better served trying something more mainstream. I had a blast tearing through level after level of bloody goodness. I highly recommend this game to those looking to try something a bit different from the norm.
This review is based on a publisher supplied copy of Hotline Miami for the Playstation Network.