Hotline Miami and its sequel are the epitome of pulse-pounding arcade action. Not only that, but the vague story with just enough clues to piece it together combined with a tantalizing 80s electronic soundtrack make a truly remarkable experience. These two top-down twin-stick shooter games are some of my favorites of the past decade in games. Jonatan Soderstrom and Dennis Wedin formed Dennaton Games in 2012 with the first title. With their help, Devolver Digital was put on the map as one of the biggest independent game publishers we’ve seen thus far in gaming history.
In order to nail the late 80s aesthetic, inspiration for the drugs, sex, neon colors, and brutal violence had to come from somewhere. Some of these inspirations for the title include the film Cocaine Cowboys and the television show Miami Vice. The white suit and blue shirt outfits of the Russian mob are almost exactly the same as a character on the show. There are also many easter eggs hidden within the game. The mask “Phil,” is that of a fish. This is a reference to Phil Fish, the developer, and creator of the popular indie darling Fez.
Both of these games are regarded highly and are available on virtually any non-Nintendo platform. My experience with the franchise sparked on our favorite handheld, the PS Vita. It is the perfect fit for Hotline Miami. The dual analog sticks are easily manipulated for precise movement and aiming, the beautiful OLED screen captures the fantastic pixel art, all while the speakers pound out those insanely addictive 80s tunes. You could be stuck on a level for dozens of minutes and not even be mad about it, the music is that good.
Hotline Miami just has it all when it comes to evaluating a game’s value and appeal. The nostalgic soundtrack, the unsettling story, the mesmerizing graphics, and the “just one more level,” style of gameplay are all exceptional. After you complete your first playthrough, you’ll want to dive right back in. Hard mode offers up a higher challenge, as lock-on aiming for firearms is removed. Fast-paced and brutal but fair gameplay make for a great avenue for speed runners and high score seekers. I love these games so much by any conceivable angle, but I am ready to see what Dennaton Games cooks up next. I don’t think we have to wait too much longer to finally find out what it is either.
Looking at the official Twitter account of Dennaton Games will not yield anything of value, as the account has been inactive since 2015 and the release of Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. Dennis Wedin, the artist for the Hotline Miami games has made several posts on his Instagram over the past year with sneak peek pictures on their upcoming title. The look of these images is very Dennaton in style, as it looks like these characters could be in some sort of paranormal or dystopian Hotline Miami.
Dennaton has stated repeatedly that it is not interested in pursuing any more Hotline Miami titles. It would be hard to in the first place, judging by how the second game ended. The company is very much looking forward to developing something new. While I am indeed sad about not getting another title in the Hotline Miami series, I have accepted it. I want Dennaton to do what it wants, just as it did with their debut series. The art style appears to be the same, and that alone has me excited to see what the next Dennaton game turns out to be. Will it be officially revealed later this year? Maybe it will finally be at Devolver Digital’s E3 press conference in 2019?
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Life long video game player with diverse tastes in genre. Tactical RPGs, JRPGs, FPS, and Survival Horror are favorites, though. Follow me on Twitter @vebystry and let’s talk games!