Hotline Trail Is The Complete Opposite Of Hotline Miami

By Nathan Grayson on December 6th, 2013 at 11:00 am.

Who ever said the '80s went away? Because they didn't, and they're probably never going to leave.

Though the name might suggest a pulsating, acid-hazed version of Oregon Trail, that’s not quite what I had in mind when I said “opposite.” Shame, but Hotline Trail is nonetheless sublime in its simplicity. The infinite biker takes clear aesthetic inspiration from Hotline Miami (or perhaps the same sources as Hotline Miami), but its immediate vibe pulls an engine-roaring 180. Instead of ratcheting up the stakes and drowning the proceedings in schizophrenic chaos, Hotline Trail’s soothing electronic soundtrack and voiceover encourage you to find a groove and lose yourself in it.

Granted, Hotline Miami is also about flow and hitting an infallible “zen” sweet spot, but that often takes time, trial, and error. Hotline Trail wants you to sink back in your seat and enjoy the ride right off the bat. Also, you’re not murdering anyone in horrifically (and satirically) brutal fashion, so that’s a very, very big difference.

The short version? Using the arrow keys, you steer your bike as a randomly generated road snakes and weaves and meanders ahead of you. Sometimes there are diabolical roundabouts, and other times things get precariously twisty and turny. Other times still, however, you’ll hit dreamy straightaways with trees and mountains blooming psychedelically, beautifully on all sides.

It’s the little things that  really make this one great. Beyond the soundtrack and a voiceover so deep and reassuring that you can practically feel it resonating in your ribs, I really like the way the bike sparks a bit when you’re a hairline wobble from going over the edge. It’s a nice touch that offers just enough leeway to allow players to get back on track, minimizing frustration.

Hotline Trail won’t Change Gaming Forever, but it’s a nice, handsomely produced diversion, and it has “OK, just one more try” appeal in spades. Give it a try here.

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20 Comments »

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  1. Stardreamer says:

    Loving the soundtrack. Now proceeding to go about the rest of my day with that beat in my head and that voice telling me what to do.

    “FOOD SHOPPING”.
    “AISLE FOUR”
    “PAYMENT”

    bmm-tscchh bmm-tscchh bmm-tscchh bmm-tscchh bmm-tscchh bmm-tscchh

    “LUNCHTIME”

    • Serpok says:

      I want that guy to do a dota narator.

      and that soundtrack to replace dota’s default music.

  2. Snargelfargen says:

    Narrowing roundabouts are brutal.

    Music can be downloaded! Gonna jam with some Serious Sam for maximum dissonance.

  3. 12inchPlasticToy says:

    Normally I mute any noise coming from my sat-nav, but I’d gladly turn the volume up if I had that soundtrack and that sultry man telling me what to do.

  4. Beartastic says:

    This looks great, and it’s a challenging little devil. I’m a big fan of the CGA palette.

  5. Janichsan says:

    Interesting. I played the game a while ago, and it was pretty different back then. It was much less forgiving and had some very finicky mouse controls. There’s a RoosterTeeth Rage Quit with that old version: http://ah.roosterteeth.com/archive/?id=8296

    • rezoner says:

      This video is one of the reasons why I’ve decided to make a bigger version of the game. Cheers :)

  6. AbigailBuccaneer says:

    I played this when it was part of the 0 hour game jam. It’s nice to see both how far it’s progressed and how it’s managed to remain almost exactly the same.

  7. KillahMate says:

    It’s a lovely aesthetic and looks to be fun mechanically, but the fact that the camera is not fixed in relation to the bike (I mean how the bike moves around on the screen in each turn) plays havoc with my orientation – I keep overcompensating for turns. And since the turns are random and unpredictable this means that the bike is essentially randomly drifting around the screen. It’s like trying to drive an eel.

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      cpt_freakout says:

      I thought I was absolutely terrible at this game but I’m going to go with your point. ;)

  8. Tei says:

    Humm… is a html5 game, and uses canvas. Nice :D

  9. plugav says:

    How can I live now, knowing that the neon soaked, acid fuelled Oregon Trail could exist – but doesn’t?

    • Noburu says:

      If i knew how to code, I would so be making that right now after reading your comment and thinking how awesome it would be.

  10. satan says:

    I don’t have a delicate… inner ear? At least not anymore… At least I didn’t think I did anymore… at least…

    Ok long story short I wish that game carried some kind of motion sickness warning.

    Now where did I put my bucket…

    =/

  11. Frank says:

    Good stuff. I guess you’re looking for “ineffable” not “infallible”…?