In this post, I’ll be talking about 8 games you can try that are like Hotline Miami. Hotline Miami is a top-down fast-paced shooter set in 1989 Miami Florida. It was developed by Jonatan Söderström and Dennis Wedin, collectively known as Dennaton Games. The game was published by Devolver Digital in 2012 for PC and was an instant success. Since then its been released on multiple platforms including the Nintendo Switch earlier this year.
Dennaton Games have stated many times that Hotline Miami 2 would be the final game of the series. So if you’re still itching for more, you’re going to have to look for other games. Hopefully, this list gives you what you’re after.
Ruiner is a top-down shooter developed by Raikon games and is published by the same company as Hotline Miami, Devlolver digital. In Ruiner you take control of a masked protagonist, shooting and slashing your way through a futuristic city set in 2091. The game is presented in a cyberpunk aesthetic, taking influences from the likes of Blade Runner and 80s Retro Future art.
The Core gameplay of Ruiner is similar to Hotline Miami. It’s a top-down ‘twin-stick’ shooter that has an emphasis on twitch reactions and weapon rotation. You fight a large number of enemies in enclosed spaces, relying heavily on movement to avoid shots while landing your own. Like Hotline Miami, it’s not about just killing your enemies, it’s about doing it in style. You get rewarded for successive killings and the variety of weapons you use to accomplish this. The game also shares large amounts of gore and a blood-pumping synth-wave soundtrack.
Unlike Hotline Miami, Ruiner has some RPG elements. You can gain experience and use it on the customization of your character’s abilities, such as a dash or a shield. Ruiner is also slightly less linear due to a small hub area. It is a suburb where you can move freely and talk to various NPCs to obtain side missions. Hotline Miami’s core gameplay and 80s aesthetic are well captured in Ruiner, if you’re a fan of Hotline Miami, you won’t be disappointed.
2. Katana Zero
Katano Zero is a 2D action platform game. It is developed by Askiisoft and once again published by Devolver Digital. In Katana Zero you play as a professional assassin, Zero. Zero is working with an unnamed association operating under a military government. You slash your way through various missions over a stylish neo-noir backdrop. Both games share a similar ambiguous storyline with fragmented timelines, similar to that of a Tarintino film.
Coined as the ‘Samurai Hotline Miami’, Katana Zero shares a similar aesthetic and presentation to Hotline. Even though the genre of the game is different, they both play alike. One of the most obvious similarities between the games is the neon color palette. Shades of hazy pink, blue and purple are seen throughout, creating an 80s feel. In combination with the euphoric dance music, the games share a trippy, sadistic atmosphere. Although one is a side scroller and one is top-down, they have a similar gameplay loop, both games are 1 hit kills and require many deaths to learn and get through levels. But once memorized, you are once again rewarded for executing the levels in style.
The main gameplay mechanic unique to Katana Zero is having the ability to slow down time. This adds a methodical element to the game, giving you the option to slow time and plan every move. This also allows for stylish tricks like slashing bullets. If you enjoyed the deep narrative and 1 hit kill gameplay from Hotline Miami, You can’t go wrong with Katana Zero.
3. Mr. Shifty
Mr. Shifty is a Top-down beat ’em up game developed by Team Shifty and published by tinyBuild. You take control of Mr. Shifty, whose aim is to steal a dangerous weapon called the ‘mega-plutonium’ to prevent its use for nefarious purposes by the evil Stone Corp.
At first Glance, Mr. Shifty looks the most similar to Hotline Miami. It’s from the top-down perspective and you fight small groups of enemies in segmented rooms, infiltrating offices and government buildings. The fast-paced gameplay and one hit death mechanic are all present here. The game has a heavy emphasis on melee combat. Enemies take several punches to take down, giving the game more of a beat em up feel, however throwing weapons will kill in one hit, reminiscent of Hotline. The levels are set out similar to Hotline Miami ones: Quadrented rooms with a small number of armed enemies inside with many ways to approach them.
The defining difference between this and Hotline Miami is a teleport mechanic, of which the game is based around. You have 5 charges on screen, each of those being a teleport you can use. You can shift through bullets and perfect a fast-paced approach to all the levels. Aesthetically, Mr. Shifty does not share any of Hotline Miami’s 80s color palette or music, but the gameplay here is similar. Give this a try if you like top town action with a twist.
4. Enter the Gungeon
Enter the Gungeon is a top-down rouge-like shooter developed by Dodge Roll and published by Devolver Digital. The player can play as eight Gungeoneers, each with their own stories and regrets. The goal of each of them is to enter the Gungeon in hopes to claim a weapon that can change the past.
This weapon-based top-down action game shares a similar blood pumping feel to Hotline. The constant barrage of enemies and projectiles require slick movement and pinpoint accuracy. Graphically they share a pixel style and have a heavy emphasis on weapon-based combat. You storm through various rooms, each acting as a mini arena in which you clear out all the enemies.
With this game being rouge-like, death means starting the game from the beginning. This also means you have a health bar, so no one-hit deaths here. Everything in the game is gun/bullet themed, which includes Enemies, projectiles, and environments. The game is based around a massive amount of weapon variety. If you want to play a game similar to Hotline but with rogue-like elements, give Enter the Gungeon a shot.
5. Not a Hero
Not a Hero is a side-scrolling shooter developed by the studio Roll7 and published by Devolver Digital. In this game, you play as one of 10 characters under the instruction of a politician who has come back in time to save the city. You go around killing gangsters in high rise buildings in an attempt to clean out the streets.
Many call this game “The side-scrolling Hotline Miami”, and based on the story of the game, you can already see similarities here. Graphically they are very similar. Not a hero hosts a pixelated graphical style with an 80s neon aesthetic. There is lots of pixelated blood and gore, and it doesn’t hold back on the weapon variety either. An 80s synth-wave soundtrack is also present here.
The main difference between these games is, of course, the genre. Not a Hero is a duck and cover side-scrolling shooter. You automatically snap to cover and when moving you snap out to shoot enemies. The game also has a host of characters, each with a different movement mechanic or weapon. Similar to the masks in Hotline. If you want a game that shares many aesthetic traits with Hotline Miami but from the side-scrolling perspective, Not a Hero can’t go a miss.
Superhot is a first-person shooter published and developed by Superhot Team. In this game, the player delves into a complex story. You act as a fictionalized version of yourself as you play this brand new pc game Superhot.exe. Launching the game immediately thrusts the player into a series of seemingly unconnected levels, all based around killing hostiles.
Although vastly different in aesthetic and perspective, Superhot and Hotline Miami share a similar gameplay loop. Both are based on tackling rooms full of enemies with the use of multiple weapons and melee attacks. Like Hotline, there is an emphasis on planning your attack on each room and executing it stylishly. There are also multiple ways of approaching each scenario.
The main mechanic of Superhot is that time only moves when you do. When you stop and do nothing, time is so slow that it almost stops. But when you move, time accelerates and travels at normal speed, during which you need to plan your moves carefully. This includes getting weapons, attacking and dodging attacks. If you want a game that captures the puzzle-solving elements of Hotline Miami, this innovative shooter is worth trying.
7. Grand Theft Auto – Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. In this game, you take control of Tommy Vercetti, who has just been released from a fifteen-year prison sentence. His boss Sonny Forelli then gives Tommy various jobs to undertake as a member of the mafia. These include taking down rival gangs, overseeing drug deals and more.
The game is set in Vice City, a recreation of a 1980s Miami. The game is laced with neon colors, 80s disco music, gang wars, and punchy gunplay. This is a game Hotline drew influences from. Gameplay-wise they do not share too many similarities, but the mission-based gameplay and emphasis on gunplay and taking down gangsters are still present here.
Vice City is played from the third-person perspective. It is a completely open world, letting you choose how to approach the game. You also have access to an array of vehicles to help you traverse the large city. If you want to play something that Hotline Miami took influence from, give this game a try.
8. Hyper Light Drifter
Hyper Light Drifter is a 2D action role-playing game developed by Heart Machine. You take control of a silent protagonist that wakes up in a supernatural open world. You explore vast planes and sprawling dungeons in search of answers.
Hyper Light Drifter is played from the top-down perspective and has a beautiful neon color palette. It plays similar to the Hotline as you have access to both melee and ranged combat. Instead of mafia dens, you slash your way through caves and dungeons, fighting supernatural monsters. The colorful clothing, headset visors and use of technology provide a retro-futuristic aesthetic, reminiscent of films like Blade Runner.
The main differences are the open world and RPG elements. You have the option to customize your movement options and weaponry as you progress through the game. If you are someone who likes Hotline Miami and RPG’s this game combines elements of the two. Give it a shot.