Monday, November 12, 2012

Hotline Miami impressions

After playing new indie game Hotline Miami...I honestly don't know what to say. It's almost as if my brain literally shut down while I played it. There wasn't much thought going through my mind, more doing.

I didn't really think as I burst through a door, punching a man in the face, before proceeding to do the same thing to his friend, the slight thought of hope creeping in that I might not get killed myself. There wasn't much thought as I moved swiftly into the next room, killing a man, picking up his baseball bat and chucking it at his charging companion, just before leaping onto him to beat his face in.

I never had time to think. It was either do, or die. But there are other things that I almost wish I'd thought. Why am I here? Why am I doing this? Am I Miami's greatest hitman? Or am I just some psycho on the warpath? The game gives only the slightest hint of a story.

The basic gist of it, is that you view a small area from a top down view. You move with WASD (though I hear using a gamepad is in the works, if not already useable), and use your mouse for combat. You'll equip a mask, which will give you unique benefits, at the start of each level. From there, you'll move through the level, killing everyone in your path, picking up a variety of weapons and guns, once everyone is dead, you move on to do the same thing over. If you die, which you will often, you restart in the blink of an eye.

I'm not sure if this is common, but for me, thought while playing this game simply ceased. It almost stopped being a game. It became more of a dance. Constant motion, trying to learn the steps on the fly.

I've never touched the stuff, but I honestly have to guess that the game's visuals are what an acid trip has to feel like. The screen shifts around like a ship on the ocean, the pink fog surrounding the area you're plowing through changes colors dramatically with each kill. Music constantly shifts. But then, suddenly, once all the bodies have stopped breathing, the music just stops. All of the sudden. You then walk back to the front of the level, passing every death you've caused. For once you actually can stop and think about what you just did, but by that time, it's obviously too late to question it.

The game's visuals made me honestly start to feel ill after a playing for awhile, so if you get motion sickness, count this into the factors of "buy or not".

Surprisingly, there almost seems to be more. In my mind, I constantly wonder to myself, "Why don't I care about all this death?", and as far as I can tell, the answer is simply because the game doesn't teach you to care. It teaches you how to kill, and not much else.

And you know? Maybe that's all you need...

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