10 Games Like Hotline Miami

Image credit: Dennaton Games

Hotline Miami was a veritable hurricane of fresh air when it came out in 2012 — the top-down yet ultra-violent combat and its surreal brand of neon, psychedelic graphics gave us a game that was much like playing GTA 2 on acid-spiked mushrooms.

And can you believe it’s been more than a decade since the first game in the Hotline Miami franchise was released? Sure, we got a great sequel in the meantime and countless other stylish, violent games that looked up to the original title in the series.

However, there doesn’t seem to be any sign of a Hotline Miami 3 on the horizon — which means you need to turn to other games like Hotline Miami 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!

Superhot

The best indie games come from an extremely creative premise, followed by an equally precise execution. And by those standards, Superhot is definitely one of the best indie titles out there.

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 and tactical 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 — taking the whole thing to an entirely new level of excitement.

Ape Out

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 we experienced with Hotline Miami — 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 is based on 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 — but you’re still 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 before they can use their firearms to suppress you — and this gameplay loop will likely keep you entertained for a while.

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 another 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 skillful players. Plus, 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.

Lakeview Valley

Have you ever played the tranquil, relaxing farming game that is Stardew Valley? The countryside farming RPG is the modern PC version of the famous Harvest Moon series usually found on Nintendo consoles.

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.

Manhunt

If you’re playing Hotline Miami for the 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 was first released, 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.

The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth

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 you’re playing a roguelike game, where you go through countless procedurally generated maps and dungeons — in which you 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 powerups 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, you’ll probably have a fun time with The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth.

Payday 2

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 can actually remind of Hotline Miami — also due to its assortment of whacky 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.

Katana Zero

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 at 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

Basically, 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 was translated to a first-person environment. 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 games like Hotline Miami.

Gunpoint

As you’ll soon see, the only thing that Gunpoint has in common with Hotline Miami is its 2D graphics — at least partially, as Gunpoint has a side-scrolling camera that provides a starkly different experience to Hotline Miami’s top-down view.

Its gameplay is also totally different — Hotline Miami’s combat encounters are designed more like a puzzle approach; or something like a gory, violent dance routine that sees you practicing how to dispatch enemies effectively in a specific way over and over again.

Conversely, Gunpoint is almost completely a puzzle game — one where you’ll use your wits and revolutionary electronics-hacking technology to outsmart guards and complete heists. Of course, from time to time, you’ll still punch a guy’s lights out; but that’s far from the main focus of the game.

Its real beauty lies in the moments where you carefully orchestrate a Rube Goldberg sequence of events, like rearranging a building’s electronics so that a security guard knocks himself out with a steel door by flicking a light switch. And yes, it’s just as fun as it sounds.

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