TheIndieJar: Hotline Miami Preview
Hotline Miami is game that will consume your day with a combination of saying “damn that’s cool!” and “fuck! Why can’t I kill that guy?!”. That being said the premise is just as strange; a weird looking guy in his apartment gets mysterious phone calls from an unknown source, giving him cryptic instructions. If you’ve seen the game before I’m sure you know that these messages mean there are some bad guys at a place and you have to go there and murder them all. They also gave an interesting comparison for those who haven’t seen it before, “If you’ve seen the film Drive, this game is like the violent parts from that but constantly.”
That is when the fun starts! Select one of a variety of fashionable animal heads to wear before you begin. You get repeated attempts to clear out the building and earn points for speed and combo kills. Normally you don’t start with a weapon and have to wrestle one from the first guy you find. Once you have a baseball bat or crowbar it’s much easier to sprint around the level and smack a gallon of blood out of the face of three people in a row and see it spray against the wall. If you only manage to knock them to the ground then you can stand over them and make sure they don’t get back up with repeated bashing. The thing is that you are just as fragile as they are and any tap from them can send your head going in a different direction to the rest of you. The good thing is that it only means it you will be instantly transported to the last checkpoint.
This game can go from hilarious to tense and back again really fast. So you’ve knocked a guy to the floor by opening a door into him and scrambled his brains with the crowbar he dropped? What next? The person round the corner has a shotgun and once he starts firing the whole floor will know you’re there. Your best bet is to throw the crowbar at him before he can kill you. Those few seconds without a weapon are dangerous if the guard comes through from the next room – he has a baseball bat. Indeed he does come through the door and chases you round the house yakety-sax style.
There are vibrant colours everywhere in this game; if it isn’t the bright red flowing down the walls it’s the incandescent pink of the menu or scoreboard! It’s aesthetic is very 80s and it looks great. Some combinations of the gruesome action and the look of parts of the levels remind me of the ultra-violent Clockwork Orange film.
The story is vague and open to interpretation. Is your guy a psychopath or a contract killer? Who are the people he murders? Who are the phone calls from? Speaking to the two developers doesn’t help. I asked them if they knew who he was – “Yes,” they said, “we know exactly who he is. The problem is we both think he is a different person!” Thanks guys. From what I’ve seen he must be an awesome bloke cause at the end of the level you escape in a car with gull-wing doors!
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