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Indie spotlight: Hotline Miami

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By Ben Coullie

Are you bored of good versus evil storylines and cliché plot devices? Do you consider yourself an art and animation enthusiast? Do you have a thing for beautiful and/or emotional soundtracks? Or are you simply a hipster? If you answered yes to any of these questions then indie games might just be the thing for you.

However, it is important to note that indie games are not always glamorous and pretty – actually the majority of them are just plain bad. So how can you find those one’s which are worth your time and, on occasion, your money? Well hopefully I can help clear that up for you with the indie spotlight series where I will cover some top-rated indie games of the past few years (chosen with the utmost deliberation and care).

Hotline Miami 

Dark, cramped and dirty. A distorted bassline drops like a corpse from the ceiling. Flies litter the air as the electric cries of a misused guitar rub the scene wrong. Wading through the twighlight you find a door and push it open. Three men in poor-fitting animal masks sit silently. The room shivers in the tired green static of an unseen lamp; cockroaches roam the grease stained carpet. Looking up, the man in a horse skull mask rocks his head backwards and forwards. “And who do we have here?”

Welcome to Hotline Miami – a game so overpowering that you can almost taste the thick sweat of delirium… delirium and death. Developed by the indie studio Dennaton Games, Hotline Miami is nothing short of a triumph. This simple 2D top-down shooter presented the world with the opportunity to revel in meaningless violence, moral nihilism and a savagely satisfying digital trip – an alarmingly successful combination.

Released in October 2012 the game leapt onto the scene like a machete wielding madman demanding mass attention and immediately garnering praise from a number of the industry’s leading game reviewers (including IGN’s ‘Best PC Sound of 2012’). It stands today as one of the highest rated games of 2012, indie or otherwise. The soundtrack is, I believe, key to its success – a glorious collaboration between 9 independent electronic musicians.These guys will boil even the most resilient blood.

If you’re looking for a stress reliever, something to zone out to or just a fast-paced shooter then Hotline Miami is the game for you. Be warned: it is seriously addictive.