animasta's Hotline Miami (PC) review

excessive gore and excessive guilt

Hotline Miami made me feel guilty playing it. The last game I felt guilty playing was Nier (all y'all people who played Nier [all 5 of you] know what I mean), in fact. I think if you can make me feel guilty playing a game than you have achieved something great, regardless of how good the game is. Hotline Miami plays great, actually, which ties into the guilt in a way.

You play as a guy who gets calls from people who tell him some obviously fake story. "Come down to (address), I need you to babysit; they might need to be disciplined. Wear something discreet" and then you go there. You kill EVERYONE there (only one time do you not kill everyone), which usually takes 20-30 restarts, and then you get the go ahead to go back to the car. Stepping on the bodies you wasted on the way. With a dark ambient song playing in the background. Should you feel guilty? I don't know, that's all up for interpretation. The story is very abstract and people have come up with all sorts of theories, but the base story really isn't that complicated.

Hotline Miami is a 2d top down shooter/action game, but I found it more of a puzzle game. You go down as easily as the enemies do, which requires you to plan. Say there was 3 people in a room, two pacing on the outside and one guy in the middle, one of hte pacing guys having a gun. The way I got through that was to bust open the door to stun the shotgun guy, grab the shotgun and waste both at once and then I did the instant kill space bar move on the downed guy, which involved me banging his head into the ground way more than was actually necessary.

This game is also very brutal.

There are also masks you wear, and these masks infer bonuses. My favorites were George, which starts you off with a knife (why you couldn't just take a knife from your kitchen I don't know it's a video game) and Carl, which starts off with a drill (the drill isn't a good weapon, but doing the instant kill gives you a whole lot of points). You get masks by finding them at the levels, as well as by earning the high scores.

The soundtrack cannot be ignored, because it's goddamn amazing. Best soundtrack of the year and I don't see anything else taking it.

It's a bit buggy though, and the secret ending kinda makes the whole story seem really silly (though that may or may not actually be canon I don't know), so it's not perfect, but dang. I don't really like 2d games (with exceptions for the classics of course before someone jumps down my throat), especially 2d indies, but this is probably one of the best I've played, heartily recommended.

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