Whenever PlayStation Vita is mentioned, one of the first things brought up is the fact it apparently has ‘no games,’ which simply isn’t true. Granted, there doesn’t seem to be a huge budget for titles from big name developers but that doesn’t mean there aren’t good games; it’s time to look beyond just triple-A offerings. A growing number of great games on Vita come from the indie community, which is going through something of a renaissance at this time.
This weekly feature will highlight some of the best games the Vita has to offer on its glorious OLED screen. First up is Hotline Miami.
What is Hotline Miami?
Hotline Miami, from Swedish duo Jonatan Söderström and Dennis Wedin, (together known as Dennaton Games), is a top-down beat-em-up/shooter, referred to as a ‘f**k-em-up’ in some areas, with a graphical style reminiscent of games from the 80s, which is deliberate because the game is set in that time period. It was originally released on PC last year and was brought to PlayStation in June, courtesy of Abstraction Games.
The game is centred around a man named Jacket, because of the baseball jacket he wears, some sound logic there. Basically, Jacket receives anonymous phone calls with cryptic clues as to where he needs to go to carry out a duty expected of him. That duty is to kill everyone.
Before entering a building, you have an opportunity to pick a mask to wear, each based on an animal and each modifies the game in some way, except for Richard the cock which doesn’t do anything. Hotline Miami is fast-paced with mafia grunts coming thick and fast and Jacket can only take one hit before he succumbs to a bloody death.
Speed and precision are key to attaining the best scores in the game. A final score and rank is given after completing each level. Don’t worry about dying though since it doesn’t hurt your score. But, you will die a lot and a lot of trial and error is required to succeed. Finding a pattern for each level is a good way of moving through the level. Finding enemy movement patterns is also important but they aren’t always consistent.
You score points for kills, either by a gun or a melee weapon and a bonus is given by chaining these together. To get the high scores, knock enemies onto the floor, either by punching them or throwing a gun, and then pick up a melee weapon, such as a baseball bat or knife, and finish them off by pressing X. Watch out for nearby goons, who may end your run swiftly if you are too slow.
There are bonus masks hidden in the levels, as well as tiny letters which are the key to unlocking the true ending and finding out who is making the phone calls to Jacket. The letters are really tiny and are easily missed.
Why should you play it on PS Vita?
There are many reasons why you should play Hotline Miami on any platform but Vita is the best way to play. The Vita’s screen brings out the colours and it looks great. The soundtrack is also excellent, and headphones are definitely recommended. Hotline Miami can be consumed in small chunks, since levels can be completed in just a few minutes if good enough, but can also take hours, especially if going for the top rank A+. There are Trophies in Hotline Miami as well, including a nice shiny Platinum. You know you want it.
The controls are also great on Vita: R is used for a weapon or punch., L throws said weapon, Square is lock-on and X is the action button. The touchscreen can also be used to lock-on by touching an enemy and also allows you to look around the level to see what you’re going up against.
The PS Vita is perfect for Hotline Miami because it allows you to appreciate the fast and furious nature of what is ultimately a strategy game. The one-hit-and-you’re-dead gameplay makes it so as you have to find a strategy when playing. Streets of Rage this is not. The Vita makes Hotline Miami a more intimate experience and lets the strengths of the game shine.
Hotline Miami is a must play for any PS Vita owner, no question. If you haven’t already then I suggest you head over to the PS Store and buy it. It’s cross-buy too so you get both PS3 and Vita versions for one price, though the Vita version is the better version. It’s totally worth the price of admission. In fact, you may find yourself thinking you robbed the developers. Don’t worry about that though, you’ll have another opportunity to give them more money when Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number arrives next year on Vita and PS4. A must have for both I’m sure.