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Hotline Miami

Moby ID: 58347
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Description official descriptions

Hotline Miami is a violent top-down action game set in Miami, Florida in 1989. The protagonist is a hitman, nicknamed Jacket by the fans, who receives messages on his answering machine from mysterious employers. Most of the game consists of various missions that always start in the killer's own apartment. He receives a new task through his phone and then hops in his DeLorean to drive to the location and do the job. After each mission there is a short story sequence where he stops by a shop.

Missions are always set in buildings with one or more storeys. Jacket has to enter and kill everyone inside. This can either be done in a silent way, taking out opponents one by one, or as a hectic sequence where everyone is attacked at once. When alarmed, usually all opponents on a single level will be drawn to Jacket. There are various ways to approach opponents. Enemies can be taken out with melee weapons or guns. They can also be knocked out by punching them or slamming a door in their face, but they will get up. When they are only stunned, Jacket can perform a brutal finisher or pick them up to use them as a human shield. Enemies include regular guards but also dogs. Usually there is no starting weapon and they have to be taken from the environment or from opponents. Some of these are specific to the location, such as a boiling pot in a kitchen environment. Other melee weapons are baseball bats, knives, crowbars and more. Guns usually have a limited amount of ammo. When taking out enemies silently, the field of vision and sound need to be taken into account. In certain missions, Jacket can hang on ledges to move on the outside to another part of the building. He also has to take into account glass and transparent surfaces as enemies can see and shoot through them. All weapons can also be flung at opponents, usually just stunning them, but only one weapon can be carried at all times.

After each mission a rating is handed out based on various parameters. Gathered points unlock new weapons (which have a chance to appear randomly during a mission), and new masks are unlocked after each mission and can sometimes be found and picked up during missions. Before each mission Jacket can choose a mask to wear. It provides a perk such as a starting weapon, faster speed, doors that kill, friendly dogs and more. Both action and gameplay are brutal with lots of gore and blood. Often a mission needs to be tried multiple times as a single hit is fatal. In levels with multiple storeys, completing one acts as a checkpoint. Jacket has the ability to preview the environment, but only slightly beyond his position, not all of the map. There are also some boss battles against a single character.

Control is done through a gamepad or the combination of the mouse and the keyboard. There are separate actions for movement and Jacket can also aim in any direction. Actions include shooting, throwing a weapon and dropping it. He also has the ability to lock his aim onto a single character. Missions are unlocked one by one and the apartment always has small changes tied to the story. Sometimes there are longer cutscenes. Optionally players can collect letters hidden inside the environment. These open up the Puzzle section in a menu where the letters can be ordered into a phrase. Once complete, the phrase can be used in a later part of the game for a different ending. The game's soundtrack consists of a collection of electro and synthesizer artists, from eerie soundscapes to a booming rhythm.


  • 火線邁阿密 - Traditional Chinese spelling
  • 火线迈阿密 - Simplified Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

93 People (71 developers, 22 thanks) · View all

A Game by
  • Dennaton
Game Design by
Graphics Artist
Additional Graphics
Additional Programming
Sound Effects
Mac Version
Published by Devolver Digital
Music by
[ full credits ]



Average score: 84% (based on 62 ratings)


Average score: 4.0 out of 5 (based on 85 ratings with 3 reviews)

Pure as the driven snow

The Good
Hotline Miami is complete in it's aesthetic. Everything from Cactus' art and visual style, which in over 40 games has never seemed more fitting, to the fusion of baseball jackets, late disco, neon, and ultraviolence, to the extraordinary hallucinatory pumping soundtrack which mixes 80s synth, hard techno, and some kind of wild-west folk music, to the fluidity of the game mechanics, which is the result of some kind of mad genius or luck, playing, as it does, like a stealth game, an action game and a racing game all rolled into one, with speed as the crucial element (the more you play, the more "press R to restart" seems redundant - you just want to get straight back in with no-one interrupting your racing line, furthering the utterly hypnotic effect it's all having on you), to the obtuseness of the story, which is definitely there but which you can't quite grab, to the simplicity of the systems and the simplicity of the violence and the simplicity of the motivations and to the enormous complexity which it then implies in terms of meaning, which has led dozens of writers to write long articles about the game even before it's release, to the animal masks, which are already iconic, to the directness of a character in the game asking you straight up "Do you like hurting people?" and then not providing anything like an answer or judgement or even bringing it up again.

It is one utterly complete package. It is not a story that is being told through the latest game technology. It's not a first-person shooter in the Unreal3 engine because that is the latest engine. The engine, the art, the sound, the mechanics of the game and even the experience of playing it are tied together. It is absolutely art. It's based heavily on the movie Drive, but it communicates...whatever it's trying to communicate...better than that movie. Hotline Miami is driven. Drive isn't, it's a slow examination of something that is empty. Hotline Miami doesn't give the character or the player space to examine the violence being created, only enough space to commit it. Seeing this game in passing, it looks ugly and stupid. Playing it, it's beautiful in it's ugliness and is the work of some serious intelligence.

It's also very fun.

The Bad
Upon completion, you won't get many answers. That might be the point, but there is a special ending where you will get them and which you have to go through a lot of work to obtain. Those answers, if taken at face value, imply the story could have been told better. Exposition right at the end is a bit weak, generally speaking.

The lack of a failstate and the speed of getting back into the action means the game is rarely frustrating (I once attempted a mission at least 150 times, convinced for the whole time that it wasn't actually difficult and that I was not trying properly), but there are exceptions.

The Bottom Line
Perfect, in the way a flower is perfect.

Windows · by Shazbut (163) · 2012

Crazy, Dark, and one helluva ride

The Good
In this day and age of gaming, games like this pass under the radar, luckily this game had success. What I love about the game is the theme, and how dark and crazy the story is. The difficulty of the game is another great feature, at times this game is tough as hell, and it will kick your ass. There are times when I was playing, I thought damn I am going to beat this level quickly, and then I would make one stupid mistake and I would be dead. The music for the game really sets the atmosphere, the music almost seems soothing, but at the same time you are going around slaughtering bad guys, it just fits.

The Bad
I wish there was more missions, sure the game has a ton, but I wanted more, luckily there is a sequel coming soon.

The control layout on a keyboard were a bit confusing at first, but once you get the hang of them, you should be fine, the good thing is, there is controller support.

The Bottom Line
Hotline Miami is dark violent, and pulls no punches, it is tough, but you will become addicted to the game.

Windows · by HeavyMetalGamer (2) · 2014

Vibrant colors, hallucinations, animal masks and lots of blood! Welcome to Hotline Miami!

The Good
First of all, happy New Year! I wish you all the happiness, love, success and good health that a year like 2015 has to offer. My personal New Year's resolution for MobyGames? Continue making reviews! I have a ton of great games I will be reviewing this year. And this baby is first!

I bought Hotline Miami from Steam during one of its fall season sales last year. The game's art style and content gave me a good first impression and after watching TotalBiscuit's WTF episode dedicated to the game, I wasted no time getting this game.

Hotline Miami takes place in 1989 Miami wherein you play a nameless thug (we fans call him Jacket) who takes jobs via telephone. These consist simple tasks such as "cleaning a house of vermin," "fixing a leak in another apartment" or "doing some babysitting." Simple translation: enter a building and slaughter everyone! Return home, answer your phone and get your new job.

I'll go and say right of the bat that this game is extremely violent. That may not say much as many games and the mainstream media nowadays do not sheer away from blood and gore, but I'm not kidding! Decapitations, dismemberments, sliced throats, bellies ripped open with guts hanging out of the gaping wound and corpses sliced in two. You also have gruesome finishing moves. Knock someone to the ground and bash the back of his head into the ground (leaving his brains leaking out of his skull), or stab his heart out with the sharp end of a broken pool cue. There is nothing glorious or over the top about this game's violence. It is realistic, gory and not for the faint of heart!

The game has a top down perspective, very similar to the first two GTA games. This perspective, combined with the game's dark atmosphere and realistic, high level amount of violence remind me a lot of the little known point and click adventure named Dreamweb. A great game I reviewed last year, check it out if you want to.

The game levels include apartments, bars, shops and even a police precinct. They all really feel like real-life locations. The disco level, for example, has a entry hall, restrooms, tables, a bar and of course the dance floor with bright flashing lights. There is litter scattered everywhere in the levels and I even remember finding a manager's office that was a mess with documents all over the place and even an opened drawer with a handgun in it. In addition, since we are in the 1980s, you can expect to see big CRT TV screens, mullet haircuts and in the protagonist's apartment, you can even find a video game console that looks very similar to the Nintendo NES.

The game is also very challenging. The levels are chuck full of enemies armed to the teeth and a single hit kills you right on the spot. A dog bite, a knife slice, a gunshot or a shotgun blast, they all lead to a quick, painful and premature death. The enemies are just as fast as you are and will hunt you down aggressively. If they have lost track of you, they will go separate ways in search of you. Also be careful of windows, as they allow both you and your enemies to shoot through them. I really can't stress it enough! Carelessness will be mercilessly punished with your character lying on your back with a bullet in his head!

Therefore, you have to think ahead and carefully make your way through the rooms and corridors of the levels. You can use stealth (and I personally recommend it) and silently dispose off your foes with melee weapons or your bare hands. You can also blast your way through each level, but this will alert nearby enemies. Weapons are scattered all around the place and you can unlock new stuff by beating the level's high score. Your tools of the trade include pistols, shotguns, knives, baseball bats and many more. In addition, you can also use the environment to your advantage. Throw a foe into a wall and kick his head in or pick up a pot of boiling water and throw it into your enemy's face. Getting fresh ammo, however, is only possible by finding a new weapon. You can however, always throw your empty gun at a foe, stunning them. You could say that game has a slight survival horror element into it. Expect that it has no horror in it, only survival of the fittest!

Before every mission, you get to choose an animal mask with gives you a particular perk. Such as a starting weapon, deadly fists of fury or faster movement speed. You unlock new masks by playing through the game as well as finding them hidden around the levels. Finally, after finishing a level, you get a high score and a grade ranging from C- to A+ depending on your overall performance. It gives the game a high replay value and despite its hard difficulty, the game is very addicting. Every time you die, you cannot help but ram that R button to try again.

I also love the game's presentation. The game combines vibrant colors and upbeat, 80s style guitar and synthesizer music with a disturbing, ultra-violent theme. This sharp contrast gives the game a very unique and compelling feel. Furthermore, the game has no voice acting whatsoever. All dialogue in the game is through text messages. The sound effects that the game does have are excellent. The guns sound very beefy and the sounds you hear while smashing someone's head in with a baseball bat are gruesomely crisp.

The Bad
Overall, there is little I did not like about this game. I would say that the only "bad" thing about this game is its unforgiving difficulty. This game doesn't mess around, make even the slightest mistake and you are dead. Particularly the later levels rely a lot on trial and error. Expect that R button to be buried into your keyboard after you have finished this game.

The Bottom Line
A unique and highly challenging game that I warmly recommend to everyone! Hotline Miami is a perfect example that awesome games are possible without having to rely on bombastic graphics and special effects, voice acting or a Hollywood blockbuster sized budget. Less = more is definitely the game's philosophy. It has a lot of value for a price that low (8,50 Euros, but that price often gets discounted). Its sequel will be out on Steam in a few months (I really can't wait for this), so spend some cash on this game. It more than deserves every bit of acclaim it has already received and will receive after you have played it. So go try it out and keep your letterman jacket, Tony Tiger mask and 80s style phone close to you. You may never know that someone gives you a ring to ask to DJ tonight at the local Miami disco, dressed to kill!! Have fun and enjoy the new year!

Windows · by Stijn Daneels (79) · 2015



All of the game's music tracks are available directly from the game directory in the OGG format.


  • Steam Awards
    • 2017 — The 'Whoooaaaaaaa, Dude! 2.0' Award — Nominated

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

Linux added by Veteropinguis. Android added by GTramp. Windows Apps, Stadia added by Rik Hideto. Macintosh added by Kabushi.

Additional contributors: Havoc Crow, Rik Hideto.

Game added November 18th, 2012. Last modified October 29th, 2023.