Hotline Miami’s arrival on Nintendo Switch shouldn’t be missed by those who have long wanted to give the series a shot.
I didn’t realize until I started playing the Hotline Miami Collection on Switch recently that the original game launched almost seven years ago at this point. While I never got around to experience the first game until later in 2013, on my beloved PlayStation Vita, of all places, it has ever since been one of my favorite games of all-time that I have raved about to anyone and everyone. And while its sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, isn’t as talked about as its predecessor, it still remains a fantastic title that I put right alongside the original, even if it does have a few more problems.
In the years since, many games have tried to borrow elements from Hotline Miami and put their own spin on things. Mr. Shifty and this year’s earlier release of Katana Zero, another Devolver-published title, come to mind for me at first when I think about others that have tried this same fight-die-repeat formula that Hotline Miami seemed to popularize. But after revisiting both Hotline Miami games on Switch, I’m still convinced that these two games have yet to be beaten in terms of polish, style, and gameplay.
Hotline Miami Collection is a relatively straightforward bundle of both Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2, which is really the only thing that longtime fans have wanted. Ever since the Switch released, many, myself included, assumed that both games would feel like a perfect fit for the platform due to its handheld nature and after diving back into both, I can confirm this theory was true. Even though the Hotline games have always been good regardless of where you play them, there’s just something more engrossing when playing each on a handheld device. I think that’s why I always opted to play each on my Vita years back.
As for how both games run on Switch, the quality here is good. That shouldn’t come as a shock by any means, though. Even though the Switch is less powerful than its PS4, Xbox One, and PC counterparts in the current console landscape, both original Hotline games were readily available on last-gen hardware in both the PS3 and aforementioned Vita. As such, the games have been used to running on less powerful hardware for a bit now. In my time with the Collection on Switch, I came across no performance issues or technical problems of any kind regardless of how I played.
I think the only thing that did bug me a bit about playing each game on Switch was utilizing the Joy-Cons to play. I’ve never been a huge fan of the triggers/bumpers that Joy-Cons have at their disposal, and that again proved to be true here. The L and R buttons on each controller are too narrow and small and can be annoying to use for prolonged sessions, at least to me. The Pro Controller for Switch is still the way to go if you own one. Then again, I could probably say that about every game on the platform.
As for how each game still holds up now, they’re largely still fantastic. The gameplay is ever-so tight and getting that perfect run down on a single level feels as great today as it did when I first played. The original Hotline Miami is still likely the better of the two games as well, and overall just feels like a cleaner, more linear experience. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number still suffers from levels that get a bit too large at times, which means you’ll get blasted by foes you can barely even see on-screen. Still, I would contend that the sequel has a better soundtrack than the original.
Speaking of the soundtracks, man, I somehow forgot how good each one is, which is weird because I still frequently listen to both of them every now and then. The way that the music matches up with the gameplay helps you get into a zen-like state while playing to the point where you’re focusing on nothing around you other than what you see on the screen. Even if you’re not going to ever play these games for yourself, at least give this playlist a listen.
Hotline Miami Collection continues to verify that these games are still some of my favorites all these years after originally playing. If you’ve somehow never given either a shot, I really cannot recommend enough that you pick this bundle up for your Switch. If you’re a person who likes gameplay above all else in a gaming experience, you cannot do much better than Hotline Miami. This collection is packed with enough content, replayability, and sick jams to hold your attention for a while.