User Score
8.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 763 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 48 out of 763

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  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. Expand
  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
  3. Oct 24, 2012
    9
    1. This game has the best soundtrack I've ever heard.

    2. It plays like Super Meat Boy with GTA graphucs and a Fear and Loathing in Vice City vibe.

    3. It's ultra-violence at it's best.
  4. Dec 7, 2012
    5
    I'm fine with the 8-bit retro look. But there doesn't seem to be any real gameplay here. Just a very stylized look and increasingly graphic violence.

    You pick up the weapon on the ground, and use it to kill the next guy. Then you repeat those 2 steps ad infinitum. Theres not even much of a puzzle to it. You just have to click faster than the enemy.
  5. 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.
    Expand
  6. Oct 26, 2012
    10
    Excellent 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!
  7. Nov 5, 2012
    0
    80s graphics in a 2012 game. I know that hipsters and brain-dead people are gonna eat this up because "hurr-durr, it's indie", but this is pushing it.
  8. Oct 24, 2012
    1
    I can handle top-down shooters. I can handle terrible eye-straining graphics, I can even handle trial and error gameplay, but one thing I will never understand is when everyone in the game has a life meter but you. For the life of me you will die, no less then 300 times, in ONE-SINGLE-HIT with anything even a door. Yet enemies take two, three, sometimes five hits to die. The screen rotates as you move, it shakes constantly and the controls are completely broken. It would have been a hit in the year it's taking place in (1989) but for 2012, the eye strain, the aggravation and the urge to drive to the developers and beat them within two inches of their lives is not worth it, and $9.99 is defiantly not worth it. Again yet another pile of trash that will go straight to the top of the charts. Expand
  9. Oct 27, 2012
    1
    This belongs on Newgrounds, not Steam. This would've been average at best 10 years ago, now it's just sort of pointless, nostalgia will only take a game so far. There's a ton of free game websites full of this stuff.
  10. Oct 28, 2012
    10
    It's sadistic fun at its best. Think super meat boy in top-down shmup with awesome 80s disco soundtrack and some weird tripping story interludes. A game that rewards you for perfectly timing smashing through a door, jumping on someone's face, bashing it in, taking their baseball bat, throwing it into the next room at a mobster's head, taking his gun, then shooting his friend in the room that is rushing at you with a crowbar. Then he wakes up from his daze and you pop him in the head, then all hell breaks loose as every single enemy on the map proceeds to enter the room you are in, and you only have 4 bullets remaining in this auto shotgun... so you hold back behind a corner of the doorway as they rush in "CLICK, CLICK, CLICK, CLICK" goes your mouse, and "BAM BAM BAM BAM" goes your shotgun... there's bloody mess EVERYWHERE but there's one guy left and he's running in with an assault rifle.... so instead you right click... and your autoshotgun goes flying across the room in your single last chance of faith in the game.... knocks the bodyguard out and then you storm him and jump on his face and keep bashing away until he stops moving and the last breathe of air escapes his now-limp corpse. Then a voice yells "GO BACK TO THE CAR!" while the smooth 80s disco beat continues to kick in. Oh how sexy you feel. If that sounds like your kind of game. GET ON BOARD Expand
  11. Oct 29, 2012
    6
    It's a decent game. At its best, it feels really good; At it' worst it's a gamer's worst nightmare. I'm still fighting the controls despite many hours of gameplay. Notable issues are line of sight (you'll die from enemies you can't even see more times than you'd like, awkward character rotation (especially noticeable with a melee weapon) means you'll miss your swings like you're some kind of drunk brawler (missing a swing = death 99% of the time). I keep dying because I don't feel comfortable with the controls. I long for a gamepad, and that's really not a good thing when I'm playing on my computer. It really feels like one of those twin-stick shooters on XBLA. It could certainly work great with a mouse, but in this case it's barely functional, never mind reliable or enjoyable in the midst of the action (also, your cross-hair isn't visible enough, which adds insult to injury). The game is also quite full of other really weird oversights (or were they design decisions? I honestly can't tell). For instance: if you occupy the same space as an enemy, that enemy can't hit you (melee or gun), neither can you hit him. That alone could be fine, but when combined with the awkward controls and the lack of enemy friendly fire it's quite a **** pain. Also, the doors keep getting in the way, opening and closing wildly when touched with anything (bullets included), sending enemies in a concussion (i.e. not killing them), but blocking your precious bullets. Also, it's quite a shock when an enemy rises from a pool of blood because he was knocked unconscious by the door and not killed by your bullets, and then he kills you (of course). There's also the most horrible boss in recent history [*spoiler?*] : the one with the motorcycle helmet. He's fully invincible (of course you don't know that until he kills you 3 times as you're standing in disgust) until he trows his **** knife, at which point you can bash him; also, he rotates around you, sort of not attacking you outright even though's he's faster than you and he's **** invincible. It feels so wrong with how the rest of the game plays, I felt cheated. [*/spoiler*] Oh and then there's that "stealth" section, which I don't even feel like describing. However, the game does build up quite an atmosphere. The story is engaging, the music is pretty damn awesome and the graphics work fine, despite inducing confusion in pitched battles (the screen kind of moves about, scorepoints clutter the screen, blood everywhere, flashes of light -oh, you're dead aren't you, I bet you didn't even notice. I sure haven't.) So in the end, pros: cool atmosphere, aesthetics are poignant and engaging. cons: the controls don't do the game justice, some horrible bosses and a god-awful stealth sequence. Still a decent game, though I'm confused by the incredibly high scores. Expand
  12. Oct 23, 2012
    9
    An excellent little indie title that is not without its flaws. Currently (at launch) there are some stability issues though the developers are fixing them as quickly as possible. Also, the stealth mission (mentioned in the Destructoid review) does really suck. Thankfully, the rest of the game makes up for it. It has one of the best soundtracks in any game I've played; I'll definitely be listening to it outside of the game.

    The gameplay is fast paced and quite brutal but it requires you to be strategic or you'll quickly become overwhelmed. You can't zerg through this game, (nearly) everything kills you in a single hit. It isn't a very long game but what it offers is top notch (aside from that damn stealth level).
    Expand
  13. Dec 7, 2012
    5
    It's a top down shooter. You'll get bored of this like you got bored of Smash tv or the old Gauntlet games. Not that this is a bad game, it isn't, just this has all been done before.
  14. Oct 27, 2012
    9
    Hotline Miami produces an amazing atmosphere - a cross between a David Lynch movie and 'Drive'. The soundtrack is amazing, and mixed with the great game play, Hotline really gets your adrenaline pumping. A must buy.
  15. Apr 4, 2013
    10
    This game is one of the best indie games that I have played in a long time. I literally spent a whole day dedicated to this game. Its brutal, fun, and addicting, and that's all I need for a decent game.
  16. Feb 9, 2013
    5
    For a small little game that focuses mainly on gameplay you'd think they don't make it repetitive. But they did. You get bored of rooms and rooms of bad guys which you have to kill by positioning yourself well and mashing space or whatever. The story is pretty dull too in my opinion. A pretty disappointing game after what I expected seeing those reviews and ratings.
  17. Jan 4, 2013
    5
    It's not great, but it seems to do what it intended to... It's a Nintendo hard game in the overdone retro style. The only way it could be more cliche is if the enemies were zombies.
  18. Jun 20, 2013
    2
    I can not understand the general enthusiasm about this game. This is not an innovative indie title, but a rude, ugly and violent trial-and-error fest.
  19. Oct 26, 2012
    10
    There's been a while since I didn't play anything so addictive as this game. I'd even dare to say it feels far more immersive than nowadays boring and unchallenging AAA titles. If you have any real knowledge about video games and good taste, then you'll enjoy this game. The artistry and music are also awesome. It definitely is a must buy.
  20. Nov 4, 2012
    10
    Two guys. Old and primitive technology (Game Maker 7.1, 2007). One wonderful game in old-school hardcore style. Fantastic environment and atmosphere: from soundtrack to visual effects. Well designed gameplay / mechanics. It's godlike!
  21. Jan 2, 2013
    6
    Funny retro-looking game, but you have to be the king of hipster to even consider it a GREAT game. Wake up, guys. Nothing is "amazing" just because it's indie.
  22. Jan 4, 2013
    0
    This game is not retro, although it tries very hard to be so. The controls do not feel like an 8-bit or 16-bit console. The music is something out of Pink Floyd and sounds nothing like the chip tunes of the era. Overall it feels like a retro game from someone that has only heard about them second hand. I only paid $4.99 yet I feel cheated.
  23. Mar 9, 2013
    4
    Like others have said, it would have been a very good Flash game. If you're willing to pay for that, and have a very strong stomach for relentless and pointless gore, then this may be the game for you. I was willing to pay for it and I liked the few hours I played, but even as someone who's played and enjoyed FPS and fighting games (not to mention the GTA games) for twenty years the unpleasantness of this game makes me unwilling to keep playing it. Expand
  24. Jul 23, 2013
    3
    Gameplay is fun... for about 30 minutes. At that point it starts to become incredibly repetitive. I was glad that it was over after 3-4 hours, as the gameplay couldn't even support that much. It's also as eye-straining as it is ugly. It may be that way by design, but that doesn't make it any more appealing.

    Bottom line: There are plenty of great indie games out there. This isn't one of them.
  25. Oct 25, 2012
    10
    The game is rly fun to play.. it feels like loaded from psx or GTA1. It has a nice story that force you to use your imagination. You need skill to play this game.. at the beginning you will die a lot because the game is hard but with some practice you will get good fast and will start to enjoy the game. Hotline Miami is the kind of game that makes you rly use your brain.

    You can play
    this game like a thief using only melee weapons or like Rambo.

    Amazing soundtrack and old 16bit graphics.
    Expand
  26. Oct 30, 2012
    10
    Full review: http://newgameplus.co/pc/hotline-miami-review/

    Hotline Miami, from indie developer Dennaton Games, is a hard-hitting, visceral experience. It starts in a dark alleyway where a nameless observer instructs you to kill three men. The first two with your fists, the last one with a baseball bat. The violence in Hotline Miami is brutal. It isn
  27. Nov 4, 2012
    10
    A personal favorite and personal indie GOTY, Hotline Miami allows you to relive the days of newgrounds and Xgenstudio's "Stickman Arena" with it's arcade, top-down, style. The gameplay isn't the only thing really mesmerizing about the title, though, the music was flawlessly chosen for the title to portray the feelings of the protagonist. Definitely cathartic and worth a try for anyone who can appreciate a retro style arcade title. Expand
  28. Jul 23, 2013
    3
    The game play is sub par at best. The controls are awful, the hit boxes odd and the NPCs have a penchant to sometimes be dead eyes and sometimes have worse aim than a storm trooper. This is besides the point of the horrible semi moving screen that makes anyone who thinks this game is skill based sadly mistaken. The point is this game just doesn't click on any levels. It isn't a fun top down, it isn't a fun shooter and it makes little sense at all. Overall I have honestly played better quality flash game. I understand the concept of retro but polish your retro up. This game just fails on so many levels it makes me want to cry. Expand
  29. Oct 29, 2012
    10
    Ultraviolence, through and through.. just splendid for those who have the stomach. as far as game mechanics go, for me it took a little time to get used to, but the learning curve can be pretty steep, and it will definately sharpen your reflexes. ive beat the game, but i still want to unlock all the secrets and the alternative endings. not to mention the mask.. all in all its a true bargain. you get way more fun out of it, than you put money in. 9/10 Expand
  30. Jun 20, 2013
    7
    Pretty great game. You can tell its indie though. The soundtrack is fantastic. The art style and animations are great. The story was pretty cool, weird and novel. The gameplay is kind of niche: you will have to play the same level many times often until you finish it. So, the game involves memorization. The repeated play has some issues, because there's some levels that have "new" game mechanics that are sometimes not obvious to figure out, resulting in a lot of play throughs up to this one point until you figure it out (I think they should have offered gameplay tips at these obstacles). Some combat bugs, such as doors getting in the way of bullets oddly, which can become very frustrating, and the hit detection sometimes being odd. Expand
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. 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]
  2. Dec 18, 2012
    88
    A stylish slice of retro carnage. This is the bloodiest, least forgiving game of the year. [Jan 2013, p.85]
  3. Dec 17, 2012
    90
    A drug-induced coma of violence, strategy, death and rebirth. [Jan 2013, p.67]