I played through most of Hotline Miami years ago, but I never finished the game. On a whim, I reinstalled the game last week and started again. Here are my thoughts on the game:
Hotline Miami positively oozes style with it’s coked-out 80’s retro aesthetic. It’s a blisteringly fast game, full of gratuitous pixelated violence set to a murderously good sythwave soundtrack.
Hotline Miami is a difficult game. You will die quickly and frequently, but the game is so fast that there is no penalty for trying again and again until you execute a flawless run of… er… executions. When you lock in and find your flow, Hotline is like a dance where all of the beauty and grace is replaced with brutality. There’s something alarmingly satisfying about rapidly eviscerating a building full of enemies, climbing into your shiny DeLorean, and driving away from the scene of the crime as your carnage score is tallied.
There is a story here told in small vignettes between the game’s 15 main chapters. It may be slight, but it is effective in its attempts to confuse and unsettle the player.
The only thing “appropriate” about Hotline Miami is how concise the game is. I played through the entire game in about 6 hours, but the experience is clearly designed for horrible people who want to optimize their slaughter for high scores and unlock different animal masks to hide your face when you commit unforgivable atrocities.
I know that I’ve decried the narrowing of video games into a medium that primarily uses violence to craft narrative, but Hotline proves that I’ll be a hypocrite if the action is fun and dressed in a stylish aesthetic.
I’ve ranked every game that I’ve ever finished, and Hotline Miami is tentatively ranked 144 out of 246.