Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. Oct 27, 2012
    It deserves to be played.
  2. Oct 29, 2012
    An intoxicating celebration of violence that will have you pounding the restart button for more.
  3. Nov 5, 2012
    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.
  4. Oct 23, 2012
    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.
  5. Oct 30, 2012
    Hotline Miami is a visionary piece of work, with so much personality and a brilliant, bloody and satisfying gameplay.
  6. Games Master UK
    Dec 18, 2012
    A stylish slice of retro carnage. This is the bloodiest, least forgiving game of the year. [Jan 2013, p.85]
  7. Oct 25, 2012
    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.
  8. Oct 31, 2012
    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.
  9. Oct 31, 2012
    Hotline Miami is pure gameplay, a videogame with personality and bloody heart.
  10. Nov 2, 2012
    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.
  11. Oct 24, 2012
    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.
  12. Nov 1, 2012
    Transgressive like Grand Theft Auto hasn't been for years, Hotline is violent, quick and compulsive but lacking in depth.
  13. Nov 13, 2012
    The First Grand Theft Auto. During a Rave. On Acid.
  14. Pelit (Finland)
    Dec 12, 2012
    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]
  15. Oct 26, 2012
    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.
  16. Nov 8, 2012
    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.
  17. Nov 5, 2012
    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.
  18. Oct 28, 2012
    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.
  19. Oct 29, 2012
    Wonderfully strange, outrageously violent, and unexpectedly intelligent. Hotline Miami is indie video game design at its very best.
  20. Oct 31, 2012
    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.
  21. Nov 9, 2012
    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.
  22. Nov 2, 2012
    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.
  23. Nov 10, 2012
    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.
  24. Oct 23, 2012
    Hotline Miami is an outstanding title that manages to stand out despite both retro-styled games and overhead shooters being crowded genres.
  25. Oct 29, 2012
    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.
  26. Nov 2, 2012
    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.
  27. CD-Action
    Nov 29, 2012
    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]
  28. Nov 13, 2012
    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.
  29. Oct 25, 2012
    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.
  30. GameStar
    Dec 13, 2012
    Hotline Miami has managed to captivate me from the beginning to the end.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 1015 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 21 out of 218
  1. Oct 23, 2012
    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 butHotline 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
    INDIE GAME OF THE YEAR FTW, Great music soundtrack, Brilliantine gritty knife throwing game play, engading and interesting story, AN ORIGINALINDIE 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. Oct 26, 2012
    Excellent game. The tension, the artistry, the speed, the strategy... A commendable and highly artistic rendation and critique of violence inExcellent game. The tension, the artistry, the speed, the strategy... A commendable and highly artistic rendation and critique of violence in popular media and an immense retro throwback make this game an instant cult hit. Granted, it's not for everyone but if you like vintage, tongue in cheeck humor and the 80's... go play it! Full Review »