Review – Hotline Miami

HotlineMiamiLogoDennation Games’ indie title Hotline Miami was released for the PC last year and brought with it death, destruction, and baseball bats galore. Now it has been released upon the PS3 and the PS Vita. Did it make a great transition, or is it not even worthy of a beat down?

Read our review to find out.

Your hands are sore and blood soaked. You’re not sure if any of the blood is yours. All you are sure of is that the splinters from the bat in your hand will take a while to dig out. At least you’re alive to dig them out, unlike the corpses left in your wake.


Hotline Miami is a high-octane, dual stick, top down, action game overflowing with raw brutality, hard-boiled gunplay and skull crushing close combat. Set in an alternative 1989 Miami, you will assume the role of a mysterious antihero on a murderous rampage against the shady underworld at the behest of voices on your answering machine. Soon you’ll find yourself struggling to get a grip of what is going on and why you are prone to these acts of violence.

Thinking about Miami in the 80’s brings to mind images of Scarface and piles of cocaine. It also brings to mind old school 8bit NES games. Put those things together, with Quentin Tarantino style beat downs and soundtrack, and there you have Hotline Miami. An unforgiving, trial and error game that will have you gushing blood and getting your brains splattered constantly.

HLM PS Screen 2

This isn’t a game that impresses graphically, but does that really matter? Old school games never looked great, but when they are fun and engrossing, the lack of stellar graphics can easily be forgotten. Maze like layouts, with puzzle elements to keep you guessing, will have you hitting the start button again and again, respawning into a deadly situation with bad guys that only want you dead. The game play is so addictive that, even after clearing a chapter, you’ll be running to that answering machine with giddy anticipation, ready to go out and bash in more heads.

What better way to beat your way through the sorry excuses for people than with a pulsing, techno beat soundtrack. Quentin couldn’t have selected a more appropriate set of tunes to be bashing and shooting with. The tempo is almost always pulsating and keeping you on your toes. This is a soundtrack that you’ll want to download and listen to when not playing the game. It really is that good.


The formula for game play is simple. You listen to your answering machine, which tells you where you need to go, then you jump in your authentic 80’s Delorean (minus the flux capacitor of course) and head off to the place that needs cleaning. Of course by cleaning we mean annihilating anyone and everyone in the building. You’ll start out with only your fists, but after knocking a guy down and bashing his brains in by a second button press, you’ll be picking up better and better items to use in your handy work. Bats are nice, but sledge hammers and assault rifles tend to work more efficiently. The farther you get into the nineteen chapters, the better weapons you’ll be running across.

PlayStation platforms get some exclusive content that wasn’t available for the PC or Xbox 360. Cross buy is great if you own both a PS3 and a Vita. For $9.99 you’ll get a game that you can play at home on the big screen, then take it with you when you leave the house. If you’re worried about losing your progress when switching platforms, don’t be. Both versions use the cloud save feature so that you can pick up where you left off, regardless of which device you are using.


Also exclusive to PlayStation platforms is the Russel mask. This mask changes visuals to black and white with only the red from blood and the neon from the UI coloring the screen. Individual leaderboards are also included for each level ranking friends and players worldwide based on score with a note on which mask was used to achieve it. For the Vita only is Touch Lock-On Aiming. Just tap the screen to lock-on to a target as you stalk enemies room to room.

HLM PS Screen 1

Indie developers are really making themselves out to be the developers of the future and Dennation Games is no different. With a heart pounding sound track, head bashing game play, and old school graphics, Hotline Miami is more than worthy of your time and beat down prowess.


The Final Verdict


  • Heart pounding sound track
  • Classic old school gameplay at its best
  • Cross buy makes it twice as good

  • You will die many, many, many times
  • Did we mention that this game is unforgiving?

VerdictA fun little game at a great price