Each week, Tom Evans will provide insight into a PC game that could be a great addition to your collection. From old AAA titles that you never took a risk on to delving into the thriving PC Indie scene, Tom Recommends will feature games from every point on the spectrum. If you’re looking for a new game to play, or for something to put on your wishlist for that perfect flash sale, hopefully this feature will cover something helpful.
My first choice is Hotline Miami, a top down perspective shooter by Dennaton Games, published by Devolver and released for Windows on 23rd October, 2012. Initially it must be noted that Hotline Miami is an extremely violent video game. Hotline Miami is the kind of game that would confirm all your modern media fearing grandmother’s worst fears about video games. Therefore, gamers who dislike violent roles should maybe give this one a miss. If you’re someone who can’t help but reluctantly enjoy the grim satisfaction of a retro style gangster being cleaved in two by a katana, then Hotline Miami has much to offer you.
“Do you alert the whole building with a tirade of gunfire or kill your enemies silently with a snooker cue?”
The core element of Hotline Miami is solid gameplay. From a top down perspective you fight your way through goon filled floorplans using a varied arsenal of weapons. The mechanics for locking on, striking, and shooting are simple, but robust and unfailing. They also allow for a lot of flair and choice. Do you alert the whole building with a tirade of gunfire or kill your enemies silently with a snooker cue? Clearing each level can be treated as a puzzle or a test of reaction speed, offering a good sense of achievement as a reward.
Further choice is offered to the player through the use of rubber animal masks. At the start of the level your character dons a mask, each with an alias and perk. Choosing a mask which suits your play style might help you get higher kill combos, alternatively pick the most pleasing aesthetic choice. Playing the game more unlocks more varied weapons to be found in the levels.
“Surreal and employing an unreliable narrator, Hotline Miami’s mind bending story may get you hooked”
Hotline Miami itself states as a tip: “enemies are predictable”. They don’t seem to be alerted by the rising piles of dead colleagues and tend to follow similar paths. Using these behaviours to your advantage is key to success, as levels can be difficult despite this. As with other challenging titles such as Super Meat Boy, the frustration of frequent death is offset by the opportunity to restart the level without a painful loading screen or excess time. Another developer tip: “Don’t be afraid to die.”
The gameplay plays out to a highly intriguing story line, another piece of the plot puzzle is a great incentive to finish the next level. Surreal and employing an unreliable narrator, Hotline Miami’s mind bending story may get you hooked. The game has a brilliantly atmospheric sound track, perfectly fitting the tone of moments during and outside of levels.
At only £6.99 at full price on steam, this game is a brilliant title to add to your library. Its main downfall is its short length, but there’s a lot of replayability to be had in high scores and puzzle collectibles that I’ll just say are well worth picking up. For some violent arcade-like fun, I suggest Hotline Miami.