User Score
8.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 914 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 55 out of 914

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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, soHotline 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. 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!
  5. Aug 2, 2013
    6
    Unique perspective and approach to the classical style of retro-walkie shooter. However, the gameplay comes down to your reaction skill run and slash that's all there is in this game. Found it really boring and frustrating after one hour of playing. Waste of money.
  6. Aug 19, 2013
    7
    Awesome game, amazing soundtrack. Fast paced, very challenging, will have you trying to beat the same level 20 times.

    Only one complaint. It crashes, a lot. I'm on Windows 8 and certain levels crash almost every time. Seems like when too much is going on, the game will crash. This has made it very hard for me to get through the game.
  7. Jwv
    Jan 9, 2014
    7
    Hotline Miami's simplistic graphics and concept feels refreshing in a time where a lot of releases focus on complex game mechanics and life-like graphics. Simple but one of the most addictive games I ever played. I also liked the myriad of approaches to each level, especially with the masks, that makes for a high replay factor. A confusing and open storyline, but that just let's you focusHotline Miami's simplistic graphics and concept feels refreshing in a time where a lot of releases focus on complex game mechanics and life-like graphics. Simple but one of the most addictive games I ever played. I also liked the myriad of approaches to each level, especially with the masks, that makes for a high replay factor. A confusing and open storyline, but that just let's you focus on the nutty gameplay more. Utterly fun. Expand
  8. Sep 5, 2013
    7
    Despite its minor technical issues regarding the engine, bugs, and glitches, the game manages to impress on all fronts. The action is engaging and loads of fun even when it gets slightly frustrating. The music is great and compliments the atmosphere perfectly. The various masks are also a nice addition.
  9. Jan 27, 2015
    9
    A little game with good game, art and sound design. Retro feeling is unique and killing methods are brutal. Fast paced, ruthless and colorful. Highly recomended.
  10. Mar 11, 2014
    9
    It's got the Kill Bill style bloody weaponised mass murder expertly merged with the very up close, personal, drug-fueled ultra violence from A Clockwork Orange.
  11. Jun 10, 2014
    9
    Exigente pero visual y conceptualmente interesante juego que nos retrotrae a cuando probamos por primera vez el GTA1. Sin duda uno de los juegos indies de 2012 y una fantástica compra.
  12. 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.
  13. 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 beAn 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).
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  14. AWG
    Jul 19, 2013
    6
    Hotline Miami starts from a good point but it fails to deliver a continuosly interesting game experience. It's not like you're playing BIT.TRIP RUNNER (i.e. you die 45 times in a row, spend one hour on one, single level, finally beat it and feel like a God): here you die 45 times in a row, spend one hour on one, single map, finally beat it and you feel like an idiot for wasting so muchHotline Miami starts from a good point but it fails to deliver a continuosly interesting game experience. It's not like you're playing BIT.TRIP RUNNER (i.e. you die 45 times in a row, spend one hour on one, single level, finally beat it and feel like a God): here you die 45 times in a row, spend one hour on one, single map, finally beat it and you feel like an idiot for wasting so much time of your life. I guess it's just a matter of atmosphere; they wanted them to be stylish and witty but in the end they're pretty plain. Expand
  15. 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 roomIt'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
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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" gamePretty 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
  19. Nov 1, 2013
    10
    Its simple and fun and definitely on my list for Indie game of the year. It just feels like an 80's exploitation film, and reminds me of a lot of crime films from the time. Its easy to get addicted in its clever gameplay and you'll never get tired of cracking a dude over the head with a baseball bat, or finding other gruesome ways to kill your opponents.
  20. Sep 25, 2013
    10
    Hotline Miami gives what no other game can do, it has a perfect mix of strategy, stealth, and action, and it also has unique music and graphics, people may say it's hard but it makes the player strategize and make lots of different tactics on each stage.
  21. Jan 31, 2014
    10
    Probably the best game I have ever played! As of writing this review, this is the only game I would give 10/10 to.
    PROS:
    +The controls are tight and well flowing. +The story is interesting, and makes you think more than you would expect an arcade style game to make you. +The soundtrack is one of the best I have ever heard! +It is so satisfying for even the most simple of kills - not
    Probably the best game I have ever played! As of writing this review, this is the only game I would give 10/10 to.
    PROS:
    +The controls are tight and well flowing.
    +The story is interesting, and makes you think more than you would expect an arcade style game to make you.
    +The soundtrack is one of the best I have ever heard!
    +It is so satisfying for even the most simple of kills - not to mention how amazing it feels when you finally beat a level.
    +It is very difficult, which normally annoys me a tad-bit, but this game adds re-playability through it's extreme difficulty.
    +The simple graphics make it easy to continue through the game; what I mean is the kills make you cringe in the 2D style - imagine if it was 3D and realistic! Yuck!
    CONS:
    -I don't know, maybe you don't like the colors?
    Expand
  22. 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
    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.
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  23. 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.
  24. 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!
  25. Mar 20, 2013
    9
    I found Hotline Miami to be a great game. The story was vague but you could make it what you wanted it to be, that's why I liked it. I admit gameplay was repetitive but it was still fun throughout. Besides aren't all games repetitive? While Hotline Miami wasn't groundbreaking, you can still call me a fan. Can't wait for the sequel.
  26. 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 whoA 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
  27. 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 trueUltraviolence, 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
  28. Oct 29, 2012
    9
    I enjoy the fact that this game kicks my butt. I'm fairly good at games and this thing is tough! I like the fact that it actually takes skill. There are things I don't like about it (lack of options, minor physics issues, and even more minor control issues) but they are mostly blurred in the background while I'm killing people mindlessly. There are different masks to be worn which give youI enjoy the fact that this game kicks my butt. I'm fairly good at games and this thing is tough! I like the fact that it actually takes skill. There are things I don't like about it (lack of options, minor physics issues, and even more minor control issues) but they are mostly blurred in the background while I'm killing people mindlessly. There are different masks to be worn which give you certain advantages and unlockable weapons to use which generate randomly. The replay isn't fueled so much by that though, its more just the release of stress you get from bashing in a whole bunch of sprited heads (they are bad guys though and they deserve such treatment). Expand
  29. Nov 3, 2012
    10
    This is not a game that everyone will enjoy. It presents a disconcerting, neon-glowing underworld through which the player is propelled by addictive, ultra-violent game mechanics. These actions, and their motivations, are turned on the player by posing them as questions - both outright, and implicitly, when the violence reaches its stomach-turning peaks. Hotline Miami presents one of theThis is not a game that everyone will enjoy. It presents a disconcerting, neon-glowing underworld through which the player is propelled by addictive, ultra-violent game mechanics. These actions, and their motivations, are turned on the player by posing them as questions - both outright, and implicitly, when the violence reaches its stomach-turning peaks. Hotline Miami presents one of the strongest explorations of video game violence and player motivations ever put to binary. It is also an important game. It brings to a mass audience what indie games are capable of: tackling issues that mainstream games **** around to avoid offending the press and the public, as well as eschewing the linear criteria of what's considered "quality" presentation in games. The game would be no better with more advanced graphics - in fact, the themes would be diluted by a greater focus on realism. The neon lights coupled with streaking blood and bright pink gore act like a scribbled highlighter on a page. The iconography of the character art works towards setting the player up: each enemy is faceless, their silhouettes only changing to convey what type of threat they are. They are set up to be classified as problems to be solved. This is what makes the questions posed to the player so powerful.

    The game is fun. But it's a strange kind of fun. I would implore you to try it with an open mind, without trying to frame it or categorize it at first. Like a great art-house film, it feels very "complete" in what it sets out to do, which goes above and beyond trivial issues such as "I don't like 2d art" or "why is there no health bar". Those who fail to open up to new experience miss out on a lot in life, this game being no exception...
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  30. Oct 30, 2012
    8
    The brutal action, intoxicating music, and vibrant pixel-art push the satisfying brutality of tactical murder into a surreal dream-like experience that you simply can't forget. The story and gameplay fit together perfectly, and the small amount of randomization keeps things fresh as you constantly pound the restart button after getting your brains splattered across the floor. The plot isThe brutal action, intoxicating music, and vibrant pixel-art push the satisfying brutality of tactical murder into a surreal dream-like experience that you simply can't forget. The story and gameplay fit together perfectly, and the small amount of randomization keeps things fresh as you constantly pound the restart button after getting your brains splattered across the floor. The plot is intelligent, vague, and overwhelmingly surreal to the point of simultaneous satisfaction and confusion. In the end you'll be left with your thoughts, and you'll probably have questions. But, after a little brain power, you'll think you have the plot figured out when all of the sudden you realize that you already knew the plot. You WERE the plot. If that sounds weird, it's because this game is weird, as well. While the game has some flaws, they can be overlooked for the most part, and you'll find yourself almost oblivious to the problems during gameplay. For now, I'll give the game an 8. Mostly due to technical problems that the developers are already working on, and because of the severe lack of options. If the game had been in development just a bit longer I think it could have been a perfect 10. 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]