Hotline Miami Collection from Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital brings together both games on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about this must-have release in our Hotline Miami Collection review!
Hotline Miami Collection gives us not one but two Hotline Miami games, packed to the top with fast-paced, brutal top-down action. The now-classic top-down stealth/action games from Dennaton Games and Devolver Digital were released back in 2012 and 2015, respectively. After releasing on PlayStation hardware – making the rounds on the PlayStation 3, the PlayStation 4 and even the PlayStation Vita, we now get a chance to play them at home or on the go on the Nintendo Switch.
The controls for this overhead pair of games are easy to understand. You’ll walk with the left analog stick, aiming with the right one. If you want to lock onto an enemy, do so by aiming at it and pressing and holding the ZR button. Once you’re ready to attack an enemy, you can do so with the R button, be that with a melee weapon or a firearm. If you don’t have any weapon, you can punch someone to death. If needed, you can throw away your weapon by pressing the L button or drop it with the A button. Since you can die in a blink, the games allow you to look around by pressing the ZL button. If you need to interact with a story object, do so with the B button as well. Oh, and if you want to finish off someone who is down, press the B button and gently shake the Joy-Con to smash his head onto the ground.
To give you a chance to get the hang of things, both games start you off with short tutorials that will teach you all the basics before throwing you into the real action. It is here that you will also learn that a door can become your best friend since you can use it to kill an enemy if he’s standing too close to it when you burst into the room. The first game offers you a short tutorial in which you’re under no potential danger, while the second one sends you into a short sequence that ends up being the film shoot for a rather dubious movie.
You first mission in Hotline Miami will be presented to you by way of an order of “cookies.” You’ll get a call from the bakery – “Tim” will be on the other side of the line – telling you that your cookies have been delivered and that you should make sure that you follow the recipe that is included. It turns out that the package includes instructions on the target for a mission you’re about to take on, which you will later learn was basically hit after hit against the Russian mob, which is a very dangerous thing to do!
As you take out enemies, you’ll get points for your trouble and bonus points for killing more than one enemy within the short window for a combo. Finish a level, and you will get points for killings, boldness, combos, how fast you completed a game, flexibility, and mobility. You’ll then notice your total score and the target score for the stage, as well as a message telling you how many points you need to obtain before you can unlock a new weapon for your arsenal. You’ll also get a grade based on your performance so that you can aim to beat your highscore and completion time. There is also an online leaderboard for the first game so that you can see how good you’re doing when compared to the rest of the world.
The masks that you will unlock, and which you can select to wear at the start of a mission, will grant you a special ability. The default mask of a rooster grants no special abilities, but the rest will give you access to things such as being able to find secrets, having your punches be lethal, having any door you slam unto an enemy kill them, being able to survive from the first bullet that hits you, being able to walk faster, adding a different color filter to the game, and more. It adds some extra variety on top of the “don’t be seen and kill everyone” gameplay mechanics.
Oh, and one last thing: if you want to 100% Hotline Miami, then you better be paying attention to every area you visit in a chapter because each chapter is hiding a tiny puzzle piece for a word puzzle! It’s going to be hard to find the puzzle pieces while there are bad guys out there that can kill you in a single hit, so I’d suggest you first clear a floor before you start looking for the small purple pixel that represents a puzzle piece. If you wear the Rasmus mask, you’ll be able to spot them easier as they will have a faint purple glow around them. You’ll need to finish a chapter for the puzzle piece to count, so there’s always the option of completing the game to then go back to each chapter to search for the puzzle piece.
Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, gets you started with a warning message stating the game contains scenes that allude to sexual violence, allowing you to be able to skip those scenes, which certainly sets the mood for what you can expect from this sequel. The second game in the series sees the return of the two playable characters from the prequel, and their “personalities,” as well as giving you the chance to play as more masks – personas if you will -, each offering a different special ability that could come in handy.
The second game in the series features more of the same, with the controls we know and a greater difficulty when compared to its prequel. It’s also more colorful and late 1980s early 1990s in its presentation, offering a solid soundtrack, just like the first game. The story is all over the place, taking us to events before what happened in Hotline Miami, as well as after. It’s certainly a trippy story, and one I won’t be spoiling here since it’s one of the highlights of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.
The Hotline Miami Collection on Nintendo Switch is a must-play. From its fast-paced action to its bizarre story setup to its amazing soundtrack, it’s a violent slice of video game history that is easy to get into when playing at home or on the go. It’s not going to be for everyone due to its gory violence – even with its 8-bit old-school evoking presentation, but if you give it a chance, you’ll find a very addictive stealth/action game. It’s available on Nintendo Switch right now for $24.99.
This Hotline Miami Collection review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by Devolver Digital.