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Hotline: Miami Review

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It turns out Dennaton Games’ Hotline: Miami is about crashes for me. Three crashes involving gameplay, reflection and frustration.


Hotline: Miami’s soundtrack makes the game. It sets the mood, tone and gets me pumped to start some trouble. In this game, trouble involves crashing parties and hideouts. I tend to do it while wearing a horse head mask and running through doors bulldozing whoever is unfortunate enough to be behind it.

Metal Gear Solid meets Super Meat Boy. It’s the best description of Hotline: Miami’s design that I could think of. It’s fast paced stealth action along with lots of experimentation and brutality.

Running around from an overhead perspective highlights the same issues that were present in the Metal Gear Solid games. I can’t tell if people are down a long hallway even with the added ability to actually shift over and look. This means I have to do some preliminary reconnaissance and watch for guard patterns. Or I could just run down it and hope for the best. Death is of little consequence in this game because like Super Meat Boy the reloads are quick and they don’t ask me to overcome a long series of obstacles.

The enemies follow a set of simple rules which meant they were easily exploited. They make up for their lack of intellect with their numbers and lethality. One shot, one kill. And that rule applies to everyone including me.

I can go bare fisted, with a knife, a bat, an M4 assault rifle or whatever array of weapons they shuffle through. Masks in the game offer different abilities to augment my play style. As I said earlier on, I am a fan of using doors to eliminate people so, I chose the horse head which makes door hits lethal.


After devising bold and daring ways to run in and slaughter room after room of nefarious men in white suits, the chapter finally ends and everything comes crashing to a halt. The music stops and I have to make my way back to my car. This was an eerie and surreal walk back because there was nothing else to do but review all the carnage that took place. The high and rush of the music and action was over and now it was just me and my thoughts.

Breaking that pattern was the sudden and unexpected arrival of cops and rival gangsters who were out to get me. I recall one instance where a van came crashing through the front door and ran me over as I was about to leave. Being twisted as they were, the subsequent checkpoint loaded me a second before the van came barreling in, so I had to react immediately. From then on, I never trusted the calm.


I also never trusted the game’s stability. It crashed often and inexplicably. Some have attributed to Windows 8 while others have noticed that it crashed more frequently when glass shatters. The latter point is incredibly annoying considering one of the levels was filled with glass.

Nothing kills a buzz like an “Unexpected error has occurred” message but I persisted. I saw it through to the end and came away wondering if it was worth it.

That’s enough crashes

Hotline: Miami started out white hot for me. The soundtrack alone will probably go through many listens on my iPod but the game itself wore out its welcome half way through the journey. Some of the weariness could be blamed on the frequent technical crashes but I also lay the blame on the filler levels. A few levels didn’t offer anything new in the way of strategy or gameplay, they felt like retreads especially when accompanied with the same hot soundtrack.

Leave them wanting more which is something Hotline Miami did not do. It left me wondering what I could have done to improve the experience which is not something a game should do.

Worth A Try

Ratings Guide

For more information on Hotline: Miami, visit the official website.

2010 PC Rev. 1.2 was used to play Hotline: Miami.

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