Hotline Miami Collection (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 25.09.2019

Review for Hotline Miami Collection on Nintendo Switch

It was 2012 when Hotline Miami first reared its psychedelic head, and the indie gaming scene hasn't been the same since. Little did the people at Dennaton Games knew, when they wrought this adrenaline fuelled twin-stick action game, that they would set a very popular trend that the world is still feeling the ripples of. While the sequel that followed in 2015 did not make the same impact, it did provide most of what fans enjoyed about the original: ultra-violence, an '80s style synth score, and chaotic action. While it may not be the first time these titles have been portable, this is the first time they have been on a Nintendo platform. Are these still worth traveling back to the '80s for after all these years? Cubed3 grabs a mask and reviews the Hotline Miami Collection on Nintendo Switch.

The Hotline Miami Collection consists of two overhead twin-stick action games. One is a tight and memorable classic that is carefully balanced and the other is Wrong Number. While both have their strengths and weaknesses, the sequel did not refine things; rather, it took away options and had level design that was counter-intuitive to the game mechanics. To better understand what was lost in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, one simply has to play Hotline Miami. With the exception of one terrible stealth level, Hotline Miami is an almost perfect gaming experience. The designers truly captured the sensation of insanity, and with a minimalistic narrative, it was easy to project all kinds of concepts and ideas onto the silent protagonist.

The way the game maps rock like a ship at sea easily give the impression that something is not quite right. The effect can be almost nauseating for those with weaker stomachs, but it is ultimately necessary to illustrate just how far gone the hero is, and how reckless and self-destructive his life is. All of this is reflected in his heedless approach to combat. Players are all but expected to play as impulsively as possible in order to survive the patrolling Russian drug dealers and other assorted creeps. With very little exception, mostly everyone dies in one hit. This makes things very tense as some rooms can have almost 20 armed guys in them, but the hero has something they don't have: door power. Mastering how to use doors in Hotline Miami is crucial for survival since it is the best way to stun some enemies and buy some time to improvise a weapon on the fly. Throwing said weapon will also become a new reflex since the name of the game is to always be on your toes. Indolence will only result in getting utterly melted by threats. Thankfully, the immediate respawn time is still present in both Hotline titles in this Nintendo Switch conversion.

Screenshot for Hotline Miami Collection on Nintendo Switch

Hotline Miami excels by having stages that are structured as believable floor plans. They are never huge, nor do they have giant empty spaces, and they always have multiple routes thanks to the space planning. Wrong Number all too frequently pits the player in a huge open area where they can be sniped offscreen by some chucklehead who goes and giggles about his headshot amongst his degenerate friends. Expect to go up against a lot of guys with guns and guys who don't go down from guns. The overall experience of this sequel feels more like a Metal Gear Solid: VR Missions challenge pack than a sequel. Even the story has taken a greater precedent than before with layers of metaphors and a huge cast of playable characters - most of which are totally unreliable. Since so much of the cast is made up of people who are barely hanging onto reality, it's extremely difficult to understand anything at all. From the political intrigue, to the secret government experiments, and all the way up to the not-quite-meta slasher movie that blurs reality, it's easy to feel like one of these confused weirdos, not understanding anything that is happening and just killing anything that moves. The minimalistic and simple charm of the first game is completely gone in this sequel.

Each mask in Hotline Miami offered a unique passive skill. After picking one, the goal is to kill everything that moves by any means necessary, all-the-while listening to one of the best soundtracks ever compiled in an indie title. Wrong Number severely limits player choice, since the game features multiple protagonists and not all of them wear masks, and many of these characters are limited to their respective stages. They can never be played within other levels, not even after completing the game.

This was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the original, since it offered much more replayability, and allowed for more expressive play and options. This is the most disappointing part of the sequel, since most of its other issues could have been addressed by allowing other characters to be used in other stages, but this can't even happen because the experience is more story driven. As indecipherable as the plot is in Wrong Number, it does manage to be extremely entertaining by sheer spectacle. While what is happening may never be clear, it does manage to shock and amaze despite everything. While the road to the finale is rough, with some infuriating levels and cheap deaths, the insane climax ahead of the credits is actually worth the trip.

Screenshot for Hotline Miami Collection on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The Hotline Miami Collection is an uneven package. The first game is an undeniable indie classic, and the sequel - while extremely flawed and obnoxious - is still worth experiencing at least once, just to see how far and crazy Dennaton Games was willing to take it. One thing that is consistent between both entries is the indelible soundtrack. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a more stellar selection of pre-existing music that almost seems like it was tailor made for this duology. The original Hotline Miami was that watershed indie game that changed things and influenced others, beginning the trend of '80s nostalgia that has become so popular lately. It is hard not to see why because, this makes the '80s seem so cool, and reminds everyone of simpler age when it was possible to be cool and corny at the same time. Wrong Number has its issues, and most people in the future might even forget it ever existed, but anyone with the guts to make it all the way to the end will never forget it.




Devolver Digital





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   


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