Metascore
85

Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. Dec 2, 2012
    100
    Hotline Miami is proof that it is possible to create a fresh and addictive action game, even with the game's emphasis on retro. At the same time it evokes truly human feelings the modern-day shooters die trying to deliver.
  2. Nov 6, 2012
    100
    Finishing each level is as exhausting as rewarding, making Hotline Miami an extremely intense experience.
  3. Nov 6, 2012
    100
    Enjoying Hotline Miami doesn't make you a worse person, though you may find yourself wrestling with just why the act of deftly delivered murder is so damn much fun. It is because it's a lovingly crafted game, well-designed and deeply addictive.
  4. Oct 31, 2012
    100
    Although its grim presentation and hearty challenge won't be for everybody, Hotline Miami is a rare game that articulates its own design thesis not only thoroughly, but with palpable enthusiasm. Underneath its moody graphics, stellar sound design and masterfully tuned combat is a strong feeling that this game's creators love making video games.
  5. Oct 23, 2012
    100
    It only works as a whole, and it doesn't hit you like a flavour; it builds up in your system like an intravenous solution. If you took away the masks, or the blinking colours, or knocking over guys with doors, or the stuff about answerphone messages, or the DeLorean, or the wobble on the screen, or the super-fast movement, or walking back through what you've just done, you probably wouldn't understand why it stopped working, but it would definitely stop working.
  6. Oct 27, 2012
    95
    Hotline Miami is one of the very few games that is a perfect union of gameplay mechanics and production values.
  7. Dec 17, 2012
    90
    A drug-induced coma of violence, strategy, death and rebirth. [Jan 2013, p.67]
  8. Dec 12, 2012
    90
    Hotline Miami is a gem of a game. It has satisfying gameplay, an atmosphere that is both disturbing and gripping, and it provokes thoughts like no other game this year. What more could you want? [Dec 2012]
  9. Dec 2, 2012
    90
    Lightning fast gameplay with an unexpected depth of subject matter. A surprise indie gem. [Dec 2012, p.76]
  10. Nov 26, 2012
    90
    If you're worried about getting your $10 worth of gameplay out of Hotline, don't be. I would have paid at least twice the price for the game as is. With the promise of more levels, I can't see anyone being upset about the value of the game.
  11. Nov 10, 2012
    90
    Rather than preaching, Hotline Miami asks the questions and forces the player to confront the answers himself, without exculpating its own creators. That's the real mark of maturity.
  12. Nov 5, 2012
    90
    Hotline Miami is the rare breed of game that feels as smart as it is bloody. It is unabashedly gratuitous, but there's a context to its mayhem that escapes most ultra-violent operas. There's really nothing quite like it: its unique blend of tactics, tension and a cracked-out fiction bleed together to form a coherent experience that is equal parts cool and disturbing.
  13. Nov 2, 2012
    90
    It's a puzzle game and a strategy game as much as an action game, then, and like Rockstar's Manhunt, it will sicken you even as it provides its murky thrills.
  14. Oct 30, 2012
    90
    There's enjoyment in the game's mechanics, in the way it hones your abilities until you're a taut, efficient, angel of death, but little joy to be found in the unraveling of your subconscious and the consequences of your new-found talents.
  15. 90
    The combination of simple graphics, terrific soundtrack, grotesque violence, creepy and nightmarish atmosphere, and the blistering fast and demanding gameplay makes Hotline Miami one of the best action games we've played in ages. Buy it. Buy it now.
  16. Oct 30, 2012
    90
    If you're of age, buy Hotline Miami. It's a great, emotionally heavy game with superb mechanics. It's a bit expensive and offers only a few hour of fun, but it's worth the price for the opportunity to ponder on man's nature. I wouldn't mind, if it was longer. You could appreciate simple, old school graphics, an excellent soundtrack and unique gameplay more. Still - the game's great!
  17. Oct 29, 2012
    90
    Hotline Miami wants you dead! And he'll get satisfaction. The worst is, despite certain, repeated humiliation, despite death and outrages, you'll love it.
  18. Oct 29, 2012
    90
    Wonderfully strange, outrageously violent, and unexpectedly intelligent. Hotline Miami is indie video game design at its very best.
  19. Oct 26, 2012
    90
    Gore, violence and blood have never been so beautiful like in this "new" 8-bit game. Hotline Miami is pure gameplay, addictive and thrilling like no other. With an incredibly intriguing storytelling and a stunning techno-electronic OST powered by Jasper Byrne, Dennaton's game shouldn't be missed for any reason.
  20. Oct 25, 2012
    90
    Not only is Hotline a shoe-in for Indie of the Year, it represents a masterful, artistic achievement that generates equal parts frustration, enjoyment and addiction, and therefore comes highly recommended.
  21. Oct 24, 2012
    90
    Hotline Miami is a fair game, as much as it is hard, and you always know why you're dead, even if it was a fickle turn of the controls.
  22. Oct 25, 2012
    89
    A weird experience, short, unique and disturbing. A mix of action and strategy that will absorb you and won't let you stop until you finish it. Not for everyone, but absolutely recommended for those players looking for something new.
  23. Dec 18, 2012
    88
    A stylish slice of retro carnage. This is the bloodiest, least forgiving game of the year. [Jan 2013, p.85]
  24. Oct 27, 2012
    88
    It deserves to be played.
  25. 87
    From the get-go, Miami’s presentation has a unique style, with vivid colors, generous amounts of post-process filtering and a stunning soundtrack (you will just let the game play on, only to hear the tracks). But at the same time, all notions of continuous fast-paced action gameplay disappear. Hotline Miami is essentially a top-down stealth game, that rewards the player with imaginative (and quite violent) kill animations. [January 2013]
  26. Nov 9, 2012
    87
    For all the careful planning that might go in a stickup, it all usually comes down to clutching out impromptu, split second shootouts. Sometimes these quirks manifest as incompetent A.I. behavior or exploitative gameplay, but for the most part, it all congeals in a remarkably tense and satisfying experience with depth to go with its style.
  27. Nov 2, 2012
    87
    Hotline Miami is a gift for those who are willing to enjoy the old-arcade essence of the 8 and 16 bits era. Furthermore, the gameplay mechanics are superb and the strong 80ish atmosphere adds to a really twisted travel.
  28. Nov 1, 2012
    86
    Transgressive like Grand Theft Auto hasn't been for years, Hotline is violent, quick and compulsive but lacking in depth.
  29. Nov 8, 2012
    85
    Hotline Miami is addictive, has a good story and perfect ambiance. It's violent, hard but everything is for a reason. With that said, this indie game deserves to be played.
  30. Oct 30, 2012
    85
    Hotline Miami is a visionary piece of work, with so much personality and a brilliant, bloody and satisfying gameplay.
  31. Oct 29, 2012
    85
    An intoxicating celebration of violence that will have you pounding the restart button for more.
  32. Oct 28, 2012
    85
    Let's just say it: Hotline Miami isn't for everyone. It's brutal, bloody and extraordinarily unforgiving. Thanks to Hotline Miami, the 8-bit top-down shooter genre gets put in the spotlight again after Retro City Rampage. It deserves the attention. Well, if you can stomach countless retries and a dozen smashed skulls.
  33. Oct 25, 2012
    85
    Hotline Miami is exceptional not because it's violent, but because it's violent for a reason.
  34. Oct 31, 2012
    82
    Hotline Miami is pure gameplay, a videogame with personality and bloody heart.
  35. Nov 29, 2012
    80
    Huge pixels, old school top-down perspective, 8-bit animation and choice of colours convincingly recreate the mood of 1989 – the year Hotline Miami's story takes place in. Fortunately there's also plenty of excellent, unconventional and engaging fun for mature gamers. [CD-Action 13/2012, p.76]
  36. Nov 19, 2012
    80
    Despite a few bugs the game plays so intense it at times feels like it's playing in your mind and not on your screen. It will make you feel really badass one second, only to disgust you with its over-the-top violence in the next. A few strange design choices interrupt the flow but all in all, Hotline Miami is a special experience not to be missed.
  37. Nov 13, 2012
    80
    Hotline Miami is a prime example of how awesome indie game can be. It's creative, it's free spirited and it's cool as hell. This really is a must to buy for fans of highly original games.
  38. Nov 6, 2012
    80
    Those looking for a challenge in planning, reflexes and dexterity – and those with the intestinal fortitude to witness the scads of gruesome deaths that result – will be well served by Hotline Miami.
  39. Oct 31, 2012
    80
    While it may lack a certain technical finesse, Hotline Miami manages to take players down a road not many games do. It's as much fun to play through the game as it is edifying to reflect on what we've done, and for that, it is quite powerful.
  40. Oct 31, 2012
    80
    With its retro-style visuals and surreal story, Hotline Miami is a brutally challenging but engaging 2-D shooter that'll have you coming back for just one more mission.
  41. Oct 31, 2012
    80
    Hotline Miami is an odd experience. Missions flow between stealth and combat with split-second tactical choices reinforced through trial-and-error. The context for that gameplay is brutal beyond measure, though the game also provides a rare opportunity for reflection.
  42. Oct 25, 2012
    80
    Sometimes, videogames are thought of as a means of escapism into worlds and universes you always wanted to immerse yourself and spend your time in, but in reality never could. I truly hope I never encounter someone who thinks this way about Hotline Miami.
  43. Oct 25, 2012
    80
    Hotline Miami is difficult and violent, but it's not aggravating when you lose, and it's very rewarding when you win.
  44. 80
    Hotline Miami is an outstanding title that manages to stand out despite both retro-styled games and overhead shooters being crowded genres.
  45. Nov 5, 2012
    78
    Despite all of my frustrations, after extended breaks, I found myself coming back for more. Hotline Miami's uneasy ambiance and frenetic action have an odd allure.
  46. Nov 2, 2012
    77
    Lunacy, anarchy, drastic violence and stealth tactics wrapped in absurd amounts of pixelblood and psychedelic electro. You can love this game. You can damn it into the deepest hell. But you can't ignore it.
  47. Dec 13, 2012
    76
    Hotline Miami has managed to captivate me from the beginning to the end.
  48. Nov 13, 2012
    75
    The First Grand Theft Auto. During a Rave. On Acid.
  49. Oct 23, 2012
    70
    The game may tease you, exhaust you, and possibly destroy you with its boss encounters and awful forced stealth level, but it all builds toward a focused, dark vision unlike much else in the medium.
  50. Oct 30, 2012
    50
    I found myself eager for Hotline Miami to end before it did (after about eight hours) and had little desire to return to improve my scores.
  51. Nov 23, 2012
    30
    I wonder if the developers themselves knew what exactly they were trying to create. Is it a stealth game? a tactical strategy? a top-down arcade? Kitschy, bold artwork is only there to cover up the lack of cohesive ideas, and crude execution.
User Score
8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 738 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 18 out of 179
  1. Oct 23, 2012
    8
    Hotline Miami is just as fun as it is punishing, that is to say that it's a whole lot of both. It's a top-down fmup (think shmup but extremely brutal) with a pretty heavy tactical element to it that keeps you thinking about how to approach every situation more and more efficiently each time you die--and you'll die an awful lot. Any enemy can kill you or knock you out in one hit, so you'll be trying one idea, failing, and then refining that idea a few times until you have that glorious satisfaction of overcoming all the odds against you. The level design is pretty complex and the enemies are varied enough that the trial-and-error gameplay doesn't become stale. There is almost always a genuine challenge (apart from two absolutely ridiculous boss battles and a pretty cheap stealth segment), making the "trial" in "trial-and-error" something really, really compelling. The AI isn't great at picking up on signs that you're in their midst, but if it was, the game would probably be absolutely impossible. The campaign follows a narrative that isn't very strong, but it's definitely something interesting. It complements the stressful gameplay with some really weird hallucinations that actually make you wonder what the hell is actually going on, and then, even though it's not very complex, it ties up loose ends in a pretty fascinating way. The graphics, despite the really ugly face drawings, are stylish and give off an extremely eighties vibe, though there are no options to turn off some features like screen sway, which will probably end up hurting the game's accessibility. The real aesthetic star is the soundtrack, though. For 2012, it's one of the absolute best game soundtracks, right up there with Vessel. Because of its extreme challenge, Hotline Miami is probably not a game for most people, but it's extremely good at what it does, and despite a few caveats it's one of the best games this year. Full Review »
  2. Dec 10, 2012
    10
    INDIE GAME OF THE YEAR FTW, Great music soundtrack, Brilliantine gritty knife throwing game play, engading and interesting story, AN ORIGINAL CONCEPT DIFFIDENTLY WORTH ALL YOUR MONEYS Full Review »
  3. Feb 3, 2013
    4
    Personally, I didn't enjoy this game at all. I won't begrudge the devs the $2.50 I spent on it given the obvious care and attention that's been put into the music and aesthetic, but the gameplay style just left me cold. It really requires an absurd level of repetition to get through any part of the game in order to just learn the mechanics, and that's just not my cup of tea.

    The in-game brutality is matched only by how brutally the game treats the player. If that sort of gaming masochism is your thing, then have at it.

    For reference sake, I think Super Meat Boys is hard too. But this is harder a LOT harder. I enjoyed SMB up to a point. This, not so much.
    Full Review »