Hotline Miami was a veritable hurricane of fresh air when it came out in 2012. The combination of top-down, violent combat with neon, surreal artwork offered an experience that felt like playing GTA 2 in the middle of a strange lucid dream.
And can you believe it’s been over a decade since the first game in the Hotline Miami franchise came out? Sure, we got a great sequel in the meantime and countless other stylish, violent games that looked up to the original title, but Hotline Miami 3 doesn’t seem to be on the horizon.
This means that you need to turn to other games with a Hotline Miami vibe to get the same thrills. With this in mind, we’ve created a selection of similar titles. We recommend checking out any of the games below.
Here are the top 9 games like Hotline Miami to pick up and play today.
The best indie games have a creative premise and precise execution. And by those standards, Superhot is definitely one of the best indie titles on Steam.
So, what’s it about? Well, Superhot is an extremely minimalist first-person shooter with a simple, but revolutionary twist. The enemies and bullets in the game only move if you’re moving. When you stop, everything else grinds to a halt as well.
If all of this sounds like it’s not fast-paced enough, you’re in for a huge surprise. Superhot is one of the most kinetic shooters you’ll ever have the pleasure of playing. And at the same time, it also manages to be more strategic than any game that’s not inherently turn-based.
Most enemy encounters require an approach similar to the one you’d have in a puzzle game. If there are multiple enemies, you need to shoot and move in a way that will keep you from getting killed.
To paraphrase Dua Lipa, one bullet is all it takes.
That means you’re constantly evaluating and reevaluating your options and changing your approach. It’s a thrilling ride from beginning to end, and these days there’s also a VR version of the game which takes the whole thing to an entirely new level of excitement.
If you’re specifically looking for a game played from a top-down perspective that also manages to bring the same stylish and violent fluidity that Hotline Miami offers, Ape Out is a fine choice. At its core, it’s a game about a gorilla pursuing freedom from its life-long captivity.
Unlike Hotline Miami, Ape Out puts more chips on its stealth elements but its beat-em-up parts are just as fun. The game’s combat follows a simple, two-rule premise:
- You’ve got more than enough strength to knock out most enemies with a single blow of your mighty ape fists.
- You’re extremely vulnerable to gunfire.
Not only is this quite realistic for a gorilla, but it also results in an interesting gameplay loop that’s as tactical as it is fluid. You’ll be spending most of your time attempting to close the distance between you and gun-wielding opponents.
Now, the game’s graphics aren’t really anything to write home about, but the soundtrack is as memorable as they come, especially due to how music always seems to correspond to your actions and attacks. It’s heavily jazz-inspired, and it more than makes up for the slightly dated, if tastefully minimalist graphics.
12 Is Better Than 6
What would Hotline Miami be like if it was set in the Wild West during its heyday in the 1870s? Well, there’s no better way to find out than to play 12 Is Better Than 6. It’s a 2D action game with a top-down perspective and a simple mission. You just need to clear each level of all enemies.
However, it’s easier said than done, as 12 Is Better Than 6 packs a challenging punch for even the most talented players.
It has an aesthetic that’s starkly different from Hotline Miami but remains just as interesting. Where Hotline Miami gives us a colorful, bright, neon-dipped aesthetic that screams ‘The Eighties’, 12 Is Better Than 6 opts for a simpler color palette accentuating a hand-drawn visual style.
In gameplay terms, there aren’t that many differences and though Hotline Miami is more original, we’d be lying if we said that 12 Is Better Than 6 wasn’t just as fun.
Have you ever played the tranquil farming game that is Stardew Valley? The countryside RPG is one of the best cottagecore games for fans of classic titles like Harvest Moon.
Lakeview Valley gives you a similar backdrop while answering a question you may not have thought to ask. What if you could brutally and indiscriminately murder the citizens of the eponymous Valley?
While this isn’t a straight-up 2D clone of Postal, it clearly shares something of that game’s murderous rampage DNA. However, there’s also a main story here. One where, ironically, you’ll be solving a murder instead of committing it.
Also, funnily enough, Lakeview Valley also has an entirely parallel path. You can become an upstanding, respectable member of your local community. The title gives you the combat of Hotline Miami, but on a single, much bigger map with multiple locations that you can visit at your leisure.
And unlike Hotline Miami, it allows you to entirely bypass your bloodlust and murderous urges — though that might be the less fun way to play the game.
If you’re looking for games like Hotline Miami to find more ridiculous, gratuitous violence, and you’re an older gamer, you probably remember Manhunt. It’s a title that was more famous outside of gaming than among gamers.
Back when it first came out, it triggered a massive moral panic across the mainstream media. Though, to be fair, these were the early days of gaming as a globally popular form of entertainment, and violent games still caused an uproar.
Of course, it didn’t help that Manhunt was particularly violent. The game had you play as a death row inmate with the gruesome task of murdering and torturing countless civilians, all to produce a snuff film.
At this point in time, game designers were still struggling to make games look more photorealistic than they were trying to create an original art style, which is why Manhunt has a grittier, more realistic feel to it compared to the likes of Hotline Miami.
Still, if you’re a fan of action games that are crazy enough to incite panic among parents and journalists worldwide, you’ll have some fun with this.
Ah yes, The Binding of Isaac. Another game that’s literally designed to cause trouble with its visuals and story.
Let’s just say that this is a roguelike game where you go through countless procedurally generated maps and dungeons and battle against grotesque abominations.
You’ll have to see the rest of the backstory and setting for yourself, but let’s just say that the game’s title is exceptionally clever. Anyway, onto the gameplay itself.
If you’ve played any twin-stick shooters or the older Legend of Zelda titles, the gameplay of this game will seem quite familiar. As you make your way through Isaac’s dungeons, you’ll collect power-ups and items that either empower you further or hinder your abilities.
All in all, if you’re a fan of the way Hotline Miami introduces frenzied mayhem into its combat system, any game like The Binding of Isaac is sure to be a hit for you.
Payday 2 is, unlike most other titles on this list, a multiplayer game. And it’s quite different to Hotline Miami in most other aspects as well. It’s a realistic co-op shooter in which you take on the mantle of a hardened criminal and proceed to carry out (relatively simple, but varied) heists.
However, in its loudest and most high-octane moments, Payday 2 may actually remind you of Hotline Miami, due to its assortment of wacky face masks and wildly varying aesthetics.
Visuals aside, the game will have you mowing down hordes of rival criminals and cops that want to stop you in your tracks. And when it’s great, it’s really great.
Of course, as with most multiplayer shooters, your mileage may vary depending on who you’re playing with and what kind of co-op games you like. Still, it’s a darn good time. And there’s also a Payday 2 DLC that actually brings Hotline Miami to its world of heists, even letting you play as Jacket.
So, want to experience some of the ridiculous Hotline Miami characters in a different setting? This is certainly the game for you.
Devolver Digital has made some of the most visually arresting and addictive indie action games of the past decade, including all the entries in the Hotline Miami series. However, they’re also the proud authors of Katana Zero, an exciting action platformer set in a neo-noir world.
If you’ve enjoyed games from the SNES era at their peak, you’ll be right at home in Katana Zero. And there are a lot of elements that harken back to Hotline Miami, such as instadeath from the first shot that lands your way and all of the gameplay challenges that come with it.
Due to the one-shot-kill rule that works the same on you and your enemies, Katana Zero can easily pull you into the intrinsic ballet of pulling off a series of excellent combos before unceremoniously dying to the most basic enemy attack, and it’s all the more fun for it.
The best action games make failure frustrating, but also the fuel that nudges you to play further and right your previous wrongs. And Katana Zero replicates that feeling every minute of its gameplay.
Project Downfall answers the question many gamers have posed in the past ten years: what would a Hotline Miami title be like if it was an FPS?
Well, Project Downfall was clearly designed to be just that, from the trippy, psychedelic graphics to the static effect that permeates the entire game.
The gameplay also follows a similar formula, though, naturally, it uses a first-person perspective. As a result, the combos and subsequent scores you get from killing enemies in inventive ways are at the core of the gameplay loop.
All things considered, Project Downfall is a great choice if you liked Hotline Miami but found its 2D camera perspective tiresome, or, alternatively, if you’re just looking for more games like Hotline Miami.