The design is minimalistic, yet has a clear and unique soul. The entire game is played in a top down view with blocky, pixelated graphics. While very gory and filled with blood, decapitations and the occasional disembowelment, the retro, 8-bit visuals means it still looks rather innocent. A psychedelic soundtrack that mixes rhythmic beats with electronic noise also adds to Hotline Miami’s old school vibe, while somehow remaining modern.

Car Review: Hotline Miami (PS Vita)

Hotline Miami loves the 80’s

The levels are well decorated with plenty of detail, though the outside of any building in the game world is simply a pastel colored gradient calling back to the 1980’s. Much of the game makes references to the 80’s: The previously mentioned graphics, the soundtrack, your in-game car (a DeLorean). Of course, much of the game’s inspiration, both in terms of its 80’s-like styling and the over-the-top violence, comes from the recent Ryan Gosling film Drive, which featured Ryan Gosling wearing a cool jacket and jumping on a guy’s skull in an elevator. The game’s designers have admitted that Drive was an inspiration and even thanked director Nicolas Winding-Refn in the credits.