Sunday, July 7, 2013

Hotline Miami moves from PC to the Vita

Here is a review on a title that is not so much in the way of new, Hotline Miami has been out for a while on Steam and GOG, but now this award winning indie title is available on the Vita. Known for it’s brutal story and gameplay, Hotline Miami takes place in 1989 sporting the retro look from the decade and the player takes on the role of a mysterious person that goes on rampages at the request of an answering machine. Packed with 20 unique fast paced levels, 35 highly effective weapons, 1,000 different sprites, and 25 animal masks that tweak gameplay. Lets see if Hotline Miami is that trying-too-hard brutal game overflowing with blood and violence or if it is a great game tailored to the dark side of every gamer.
This is as much strategy as it is bloody retro top down action. Stealth isn't relied on heavily but does make weapon decisions tougher as quiet is only effective at close range but guns are powerful and tend to draw a crowd. Gameplay is fast and very difficult, each stage is rather short, but took numerous attempts to complete each of the stages, I am talking Demon Souls level of frustration, making completion oh so sweet. In terms of the graphics, the retro look works incredibly well and plays similar to that of the original top down Grand Theft Auto titles. Aiming was the most frustrating part of the gameplay and twitching the joysticks while hitting the right buttons at breakneck speeds often resulting in pressing X to retry. The story is gritty, dark, and twisted which would be downright creepy had it used this generation's realistic graphics.

When all is said and done, I am very surprised that my Vita, it’s pricetag was the only thing saving this portable. It has been a long time since I played such a simplistic and difficult game that was so easy to lose yourself to  hours of cursing the small handheld while cheering and celebrating each stage’s completion. At first, I had no intention of going back for more, but after unlocking weapons and masks to change playstyle, it is a lot of fun to go back and work my way up the leaderboards. It is easy to pick up and play if you only have a couple minutes to kill, the bad part of that is you will be hard pressed to put down and find yourself playing until you beat the stage or have to recharge.