Simple, brutal fun regardless of technical issues.
It's a good thing I don't really discuss nor rate games based on narrative, because if I were gonna do that then I'd not know what to make of Hotline Miami. I believe I get the gist of it, but there's a fair bit of vagueness A lot being open to interpretation.
One thing quite clear however is that Hotline Miami is totally rad.
You play a dude who wears rubber animal masks. And he kills people.
Why it isn't immediately clear. You just go where the voice on the machine tells you to go and then you kill everyone in sight.
The games simplistic, but awesomely brutal combat is it's strong suit.
It plays something akin to a dual joystick shooter, but you aren't always shooting.
There's a vast variety of melee weapons with which to maim your foes and the mess they leave behind is super satisfying. A little ways into the game guns are introduced and they are equally as satisfying to use.
There's something of a puzzle element in the combat in that you'll always want to look ahead and see what you're up against. If you see a room full of melee dudes you could take them all down quite easily if you're quick enough and if you manage to kill people in quick succession then you'll be scored better.
Guys with guns are a little trickier. With at least one exception you can only ever take one hit, so if you can't get up on a heavily armed individual and take him out right quick then you'll bite the dust. Fortunately restarting a stage is as quick as pressing the "R" key.
That it's so easy to start over make's me think of this game as kind of the Trials HD of murder.
You do your best, you goof and then you press the key and get right back in it to inevitably fudge it a few more times before finally conquering the obstacle! And then it's on to the next one.
Anyway, back to the guns. Guns are noisy! And so using them can alert guys in other rooms, who'll come rushing to you. Which can sometimes work in your favor, but if that's not what you want then you're incentivized to use melee weapons or there's one animal mask at least that renders guns quiet.
There's a bunch of different animal masks in the game and they all have varying abilities.
For instance aside from the aforementioned gun silencing there's ones that make executions quicker, allow you to steal weapons off enemies you execute and one that renders hits with a door fatal.
Yeah. You can hit dudes with doors.
Guys pretty much always walk in a set pattern with little diversion from it - unless you disturb them.
But if they're walking past a door or you lure them toward one, you can slam it in there face.
With the specific mask this is a fatal action, but generally it'll leave guys stunned on the ground - open for a blood execution.
The blood and gore I keep alluding to, as well as the rest of the game is rendered in a graphical style somewhat reminiscent of games of the era in which the game itself is set - the 80's - and despite this they manage to cram an awful lot of detail into the characters and all their gory entrails. The games environments aren't quite as impressive, at least in the areas you play in. Your apartment and stores you'll pop into are much more rich in detail than most of the places you do your murdering in.
But on the whole it's hard not to find the retro stylings totally charming and this extends to the games rad as hell soundtrack, which if you care to listen to it outside of the game can be found in the games directory or you can find it on soundcloud.com.
As simple as the game is, it is not without challenge and what it does it does great.
If you have a healthy appreciation for a bit of the old ultra-violence then look no further than Hotline Miami.