Before we knew it, December was upon us and all the games had arrived in stores in time for everyone to buy them as presents. We've got the reveal of our Game of the Year coming after Christmas, but for 24 days starting December 1 we'll bring you a new contender for the title. Please note that these games are in no particular order, but feel free to speculate on where they might appear in our final list.
Neon Kelly, Video Production Editor
Everyone always mentions Drive when they're talking about Hotline Miami. But as big an influence as that film clearly had, I'm more frequently reminded of American Psycho. Not just because of the obvious homicidal overlap, but because they both remarkably good at climbing into my head, and then refusing to leave.
I'm not going to start talking about the soundtrack, because if I do I'll froth at the mouth and rabbit on for 1000 words. All I'll say is that even if Hotline Miami were a farming simulator, it'd still be worth getting for its music. As it turns out Hotline Miami is one of the most provocative games I've ever played - a violent, twisted and deeply troubling creation. It has a flash smile, a black heart and a mind of its own. It scares the hell out of me, and I can't stop playing it.
Martin Gaston, Reviews Editor
One of the general trends in game design at the moment, I think, is that your big-budget boxed games are starting to promise you absolutely everything under the sun. Take Dead Space 3 and Splinter Cell: Blacklist, two games which their developers repeatedly promise will cater towards two fundamentally opposed ways of playing each game. I believe these claims will almost certainly prove to be false.
But in the (often far more exciting) indie and downloadable scene you've got games like Hotline Miami, a game about murdering people which executes its singular goal with ruthless efficiency. If you ask me such clarity of vision and purpose only strengthens the experience; Hotline Miami is a very, very good game about killing people, apart from the one crap (but thankfully brief) level which asks you to be stealthy.
Also in VideoGamer.com's Game of the Year 2012 Shortlist: