Hotline Miami, the super-gory 2D top-down gangsters and guns game that caused games reviewers to trip over their own superlatives when it first arrived on PC a few years back, has been specially re-mastered as a launch title for the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV.
For those that don't remember this glorious retro shooter, the game blends a top-down perspective with stealth and ultraviolent gameplay. It is a notoriously difficult game to master, which doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Just very challenging. It’s also notable for its splendid neon-spattered 8-bit style visuals and a soundtrack that thumps with deep, bass-y dub and crackles with 1980’s influenced electro.
Deep dub and crackly electro fizzes with a wired energy
The soundtrack, in particular, is worthy of special mention. You can listen to the soundtrack as a standalone experience – check it out over on Devolver Digital’s SoundCloud account - and it still sounds great - darkly atmospheric and fizzing with that wired energy that drives the game along.
Notably, the latest version of Hotline Miami on the NVIDIA SHIELD has never sounded so great, mostly because it lets you blast it out on your 5.1 or 7.1 home cinema surround system, should you be lucky enough to have one.
Listening in to the Hotline Miami soundtrack, there is a clear 1980s feel throughout. Though there is also a very strong nod to more recent influences, with the original devs Jonatan Söderström and Dennis Wedin, (jointly known as Dennaton Games) citing Nicolas Winding Refn's 2011 neo-noir crime drama film Drive and the hard-as-nails 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys as major inspirations.
Sounds like a murder hangover
At times, if you take the time to sit and listen to the Hotline Miami OST with a decent pair of cans on without playing the game (and it’s worth it, believe us) it’s reminiscent of some of the best of 1970’s Krautrock, in its more incessantly drony moments, and of classic 1980’s electronica, in it’s more blissed out moments. The music is absolutely central to the overall look and feel of the game.
One particular track that really stands out is Sun Araw’s “Deep Cover”, which, as one commentator on the Soundcloud version notes, “sounds like a murder hangover.” It’s a truly astounding, immense tune that is almost too good to be a track on a videogame soundtrack. Apart from the fact that it complements the dark, grimy feel of Hotline Miami so perfectly that it’s impossible to imagine where else it might have found a home or emerged from.
Other tracks, such as Jasper Byrne’s twinkling electro “Miami” are a far clearer homage to the direct inspiration of the movie Drive. The most amazing thing is that, as a whole, there’s not one duff tune from the twenty-two bangers on there. All killer, no filler. Much like the gameplay itself, in fact!
The bottom line is this. At $9.99 for the SHIELD remaster of Hotline Miami from Google Play, it’s a no-brainer to head out and invest in NVIDIA’s new SHIELD Android TV which itself is a steal, now available to own from only $199.