Hotline Miami

Game review by
David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media
Hotline Miami Game Poster Image
Popular with kids
Extremely violent puzzler intrigues with gunfire, mystery.

Parents say

age 16+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 13 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

There’s the implication your actions are wrong, but that's very subtle.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It’s kill or be killed, wall-to-wall rage.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, easy to learn.


Lots of blood, brutality. Lots. Stabbings, shootings, bludgeonings happen with wild abandon every few seconds.


Nothing explicit; some tawdry acts implied.


Loads of harsh language, cursing. Some is derogatory against women; also callous and hard commentary, discussing murder and violence with extreme coolness.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Hotline Miami is a downloadable adventure game that's packed with lots of mature content. It's gory and a bit disturbing, since the objective of the game is killing everyone you cross paths with. There are shootings and stabbings, with loads of blood splattered everywhere. There's also loads of harsh language, derogatory commentary about women, and discussions about murder in a callous manner. Though there's no sexual content, tawdry acts are implied. In many ways, this is really a title about how some video games encourage players to do that blindly. That means there's some satire at play, which probably will go over younger players' heads.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 13 and 14-year-old Written bySouthernMom March 10, 2021
Adult Written byPaul R. June 8, 2018

An indie pillar

Extreme emphasis on violence and anger.
Fantastic soundtrack, the story is a bit hidden, but if you pay attention you will piece it together

Also for any pare... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byacidl3ak February 3, 2021

Best game I've played in a while

To start the game is incredibly Gorey Which is why I recommended the game for 14 and up. But this game isn't just a gore fest the game story is amazing and... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byTF141 September 24, 2020

One of my favorite games of all time, though not for everyone

I absolutely love about this game, from the brutal gameplay to the surreal plot and electrifying soundtrack, all of which is set against a lurid, neon-drenched... Continue reading

What's it about?

In HOTLINE MIAMI, players step into the life of a tortured man living in a mental fog. He's either been abducted by or is trying to be saved by a group of people wearing animal masks. It’s unclear which is really the case, but regardless of what you end up believing, you murder a lot of people trying to figure that out. There's no other way the game can be played, and that's the game in a very bloody nutshell.

Is it any good?

You won’t be able to tell this from the adjoined screenshots, but Hotline Miami is really a puzzle game, wherein you have to use guns or melee weapons -- only one at a time -- to mow down people who want to kill you. Missions take place from a bird's-eye view of houses, so it’s like being set loose in an architect’s blueprints that you increasingly paint red. It really can't be overstated how gory and grisly Hotline Miami is.

But don't let the violence distract from the fact that deep down, this is a tightly constructed puzzle game wherein the pieces you try to fit together are the chronology of your kills, recording when to start dispatching enemies and where to go from there. Deeper down still, there's satire in Hotline Miami's bones: The protagonist keeps answering phone calls telling him to go to locations, and although there's no other course of action, you choose to murder everyone there. If you don't, they'll kill you. In time, it's revealed there's a vague conspiracy at play here, but what it means and who's behind it isn't disclosed. But the overall sense is that the bloody action and the game itself are a commentary on violent games and the antisocial behaviors that players commit. A game like Hotline Miami that's both so action-focused and intellectually brain-teasing is rare yet fantastic, and it's definitely for mature audiences only.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in games such as Hotline Miami. Is the violence in this game tolerable because it's so completely over the top and could be considered satire? Should games never go as over the top as this game does?

  • Discuss conspiracies and conspiracy theories. Why do some seem so far-fetched and others so plausible?

  • Talk about right vs. wrong and when to think for yourself when you're expected to follow orders. Are there really only two choices in most circumstances, or is there a third way?

Game details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Themes & Topics

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