Hotline Miami is a top-down shooter game developed by Dennaton Games and published by Devolver Digital. It was released in 2012 for Microsoft Windows and later for other platforms. The game is set in 1989 Miami, where the player controls an unnamed protagonist who receives mysterious phone calls instructing him to kill members of the Russian mafia.
The game is known for its violent and surreal gameplay, its retro-inspired graphics and music, and its minimalist and ambiguous story. The game has received critical acclaim and has been considered one of the best indie games of all time. A sequel, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, was released in 2015.
In this article, we will explore the gameplay, story, influences, and reception of Hotline Miami.
Hotline Miami is divided into several chapters, each consisting of several stages. Before each mission, the player chooses an animal mask to wear, which grants a unique benefit, such as faster movement or a starting weapon. The player then enters a building and must kill every enemy inside using various weapons and tactics. The player can use melee weapons, firearms, or environmental objects to attack enemies. The player can also perform stealth kills or execute stunned enemies.
The game features a high level of difficulty and permadeath, meaning that the player dies in one hit and must restart the level from the beginning. The game also rewards the player for playing aggressively and stylishly, giving higher scores for killing enemies quickly, using different weapons, and performing combos. The game also features a dynamic soundtrack that changes according to the player’s actions.
Hotline Miami follows an unnamed protagonist who is referred to as “Jacket” by fans. Jacket lives in a run-down apartment and receives phone calls from unknown callers who tell him to perform seemingly random tasks at certain locations. These tasks are actually euphemisms for killing every person at those locations, who are mostly members of the Russian mafia.
Jacket does not question his orders and carries them out without hesitation. Along the way, he encounters various characters who are either allies or enemies. He also experiences hallucinations and nightmares that hint at his past and his motives. The game’s story is nonlinear and ambiguous, leaving many details open to interpretation.
Hotline Miami was influenced by various sources of media and culture from the 1980s and 1990s. The game’s lead narrative influence was David Lynch, whose films inspired the game’s surreal and dreamlike atmosphere. Another notable influence was the 2011 film Drive, which influenced the game’s minimalist plot, use of dialogue, portrayal of violence, and musical style.
The game’s setting was influenced by the 2006 documentary Cocaine Cowboys, which depicted the rise and fall of the cocaine trade in Miami in the 1980s. The game’s protagonist was influenced by Gordon Freeman from the Half-Life series, who is also a silent character who wears a distinctive jacket.
The game’s graphics and music were influenced by various retro games and genres, such as pixel art, synthwave, outrun, and chiptune. The game’s soundtrack features original songs by various artists who specialize in these genres.
Hotline Miami received widespread critical acclaim upon its release. Critics praised the game’s gameplay, graphics, music, story, and themes. The game was also praised for its originality and innovation in the indie game scene. The game has won several awards and nominations from various publications and organizations.
The game has also been recognized as a highly influential indie game and as a notable cult video game. The game has inspired many other games that have adopted similar gameplay mechanics or aesthetics. The game has also spawned a large fan base that has created fan art, cosplay, mods, fan fiction, and fan games based on Hotline Miami.