Top-down action games were given a special place in my heart after I received a large CD case containing the first three of the Grand Theft Auto Series (GTA, GTA2, GTA: London) with my first Playstation and I was instantaneously hooked. Hotline Miami takes the aesthetics of the original series and throws you into a dance of wits, forcing to you slaughter your way out of tight situations and escape the clutches of brutal 8-bit foes. You are given the freedom to use a variety of weapon drops and work your way through the maze-like levels, taking advantage of stealthy back attacks when available or charging in with your guns blazing, using human body shields as you please.
Your silent protagonist is provided with a choice of masks at each mission kickoff with each including their own unique boosts. The additional traits include abilities such as One hit punch, Faster Movement and for the masochistic gamer in us, Reverse controls. You are summoned by an ominous guide who leaves cryptic messages detailing your next hit. Our Anti-hero is thrown into a neon soaked crime frenzy with each dialogue scene encountered promoting a growing sense of paranoia. The impending danger and sense of urgency is continuously heightened with each narration we receive. With 3 separate endings available, secrets to be found and a wider range of masks to be unlocked the replay ability factor is a god send, considering how addictive this game can get.
Despite its 8 bit design, at times the game can get quite graphic and gory. With hallucinations of mutilated faces plaguing the protagonist and no shortage of blood during combat, it is a wonder the game was able to be released in Australia at all, and whilst I'm thankful that it is, I still wouldn't recommend providing the game to any children in need of entertainment. Best start them off with crushing universes in Katamari Forever first.
Hotline Miami is currently available on PC through Steam and on Playstation 3/PS Vita through the PSN Store. Its more than worth the purchase and of course throwing our money to developers like this ensures we continue to receive this amazing gaming content in the future.