Generally favorable reviews - based on 51 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51
  1. Oct 31, 2012
    Hotline Miami is pure gameplay, a videogame with personality and bloody heart.
  2. 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.
  3. Nov 23, 2012
    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.
  4. Oct 25, 2012
    Hotline Miami is difficult and violent, but it's not aggravating when you lose, and it's very rewarding when you win.
  5. 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]
  6. 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.
  7. Oct 23, 2012
    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.
  8. Oct 31, 2012
    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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Oct 25, 2012
    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.
  12. 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.
  13. Nov 6, 2012
    Finishing each level is as exhausting as rewarding, making Hotline Miami an extremely intense experience.
  14. Nov 19, 2012
    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.
  15. Nov 13, 2012
    The First Grand Theft Auto. During a Rave. On Acid.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Nov 26, 2012
    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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. Dec 18, 2012
    A stylish slice of retro carnage. This is the bloodiest, least forgiving game of the year. [Jan 2013, p.85]
  25. Dec 2, 2012
    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.
  26. Oct 29, 2012
    An intoxicating celebration of violence that will have you pounding the restart button for more.
  27. Oct 30, 2012
    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.
  28. 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.
  29. Dec 13, 2012
    Hotline Miami has managed to captivate me from the beginning to the end.
  30. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 934 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 20 out of 207
  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 »