Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number has landed on Android, and its belated appearance is no worse for the wear: this is one of the most immersive gaming experiences available on Android platforms. It manages to perfectly live up to its console counterparts as a provocative adrenaline-rush of an action game experience.
Hotline Miami 2 is a top-down shooter that sees you commandeer a pixelated killing machine on a mission to mow down hordes of enemies as quickly and messily as possible. Dennaton Games has put together a thrilling experience with Hotline Miami 2, a pulse pounding romp of antisocial behavior and deviancy which both celebrates and condemns the standards of violence and profanity that exist in modern gaming. As a sequel to a massively successful indie game, Miami 2 ably shoulders its inherent hype by emphasizing variety in gameplay and story, while ramping up the outrageousness to levels rarely seen outside of the Grand Theft Auto franchise.
Much thought has been put into Hotline Miami 2’s level designs, which are significantly larger and more intricate than those of its predecessor. Randomly spawning enemies, coupled with level-specific quirks like hidden windows and passageways, ensure that you’ll never play the game the same way twice. The various characters and their special powers add a unique strategy component that makes planning your blood-soaked path through each stage even more immersive. The difficulty can be unforgiving at times, and occasionally you’ll find yourself going through dozens of trial-and-error runs, hoping to get lucky and dodge the never-ending bulletstorm to clear out cleverly placed death traps swarming with enemies. But more often than not, numerous playthroughs will reveal level-specific enemy fire patterns or strategic vantage points that allow you to efficiently clear levels, showing the subtle craftsmanship that went into fine-tuning each stage and character.
The game is equal parts hypnotizing and revolting: levels will see you clearing out room after room of bad guys with assassin-like precision, then, abruptly the mission concludes with a drawn out cutscene depicting the savage beating of a man begging for his life. Most notoriously, an early cutscene depicts what seems to be a harrowing sexual assault, before receding curtains reveal the perpetrator and victim to be actors on a set. While the scene is representative of the developers’ attitude towards the kind of casual atrocities regularly utilized by mainstream games like Far Cry and Assassin’s Creed, it’s also an example of how the game partakes (and occasionally revels) in the same questionable content that is the object of its satire. But what’s unique about this approach is how often it gives voices to the victims of violence and how this affects the dynamic between the player and the game. Hotline Miami 2 is often uncomfortable to play, and that seems to be exactly the effect the developers were aiming for.
The presentation of the game is impressive; the retro-style graphics, complete with exaggerated 16-bit character designs and a vibrant color palette look stunning on Android devices. The original Hotline Miami garnered much acclaim for its soundtrack, and here too Hotline Miami 2 doesn’t disappoint, boasting a powerful collection of throbbing techno and death disco tunes that give each stage an awesome 80’s action movie aura. No less exciting is the prospect of the upcoming level editor for PC, which will make hundreds of user-generated levels available for download.
Hotline Miami 2 is as much of a bold statement as it is a unique experience. It is challenging on numerous levels: it is a confrontationally button pushing game cracking open just about every hot-topic issue in modern gaming, while remaining a relevant work of video game art in its own right. Shocking and immersive, it’s quite unlike anything else out there, and easily one of the best Android games this year. Not for the faint of heart!
But is it Hardcore?
Hotline Miami 2 has just about everything going for it: excellent graphics, a terrific soundtrack, tight controls, and buckets and buckets of gore. While it’s envelope-pushing profanity won’t be for everyone, if you’re looking for a shocking, fun action experience that will test your skills – and your conscience – this is the game for you.