OTXO is one of those games that’s just SUPER cool. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the most original game you’ll play from a gameplay perspective, but the all-out action, stylish visuals, and brutal gunplay make it hard to put down when you start playing.

Check out some screenshots down below:

OTXO gives players an enigmatic introduction to its world by having you pick up a strange mask that’s been dropped on a train. Harmless enough, right? Well, this mask takes you away from your seemingly normal life and transports you to a mysterious beach that has a large mansion in front of it, with zero recollection of how you got there. This mansion also brings out the violent tendencies deep inside of you, and you do learn one thing: your loved one is inside and it’s up to you to find her. Of course, there’s a lot more going on than that and the mansion does have its own little secrets, but those are for you to discover when playing.

What follows is a top-down, twin-stick, Hotline Miami-esque romp across the mansion as you blast away at enemies with a myriad of weaponry in roguelite action. OTXO ramps up the pace and tension from the get-go, with the player constantly on the move between rooms as they blast away at foes from all angles, all whilst slickly dodging out of the way of incoming attacks and utilising their time-slowing ability to get the upper hand over the enemies that surround them. You’ll be constantly shuffling your arsenal as you run out of bullets or find a better gun, whilst you can also grab some handy grenades that’ll clear out a room if thrown in the right place. And if you die? You go back to the beginning and start all over again.

I’ve simplified it a bit there, because there’s actually a lot going on in the game. For one, each run is randomised, meaning you don’t know what you’ll face on your next attempt. Whilst the level design isn’t particularly intricate, the different layouts of each room and enemy placement do lend themselves well to varied approaches from the player. Simply going all-guns blazing usually works out the best, but you could also lure enemies your way to catch them in a trap, pick them off from afar with a rifle, or even bundle them up and kill them with one clever grenade toss. The action of OXTO is quick-paced, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t strategic.

“Simply going all-guns blazing usually works out the best, but you could also lure enemies your way to catch them in a trap, pick them off from afar with a rifle, or even bundle them up and kill them with one clever grenade toss.”

The aforementioned time-slowing plays a big role too, though players have to charge up their focus meter in order to use it. When activated, it’s easier to weave between incoming attacks, land shots of your own, or simply get yourself out of a sticky situation, making its use flexible for both offensive and defensive situations. It adds an extra layer to the gameplay that gives players a tool to use to get themselves out a tough spot… or alternatively unleash hell, if they’re feeling a little mean.

In many ways, OTXO will feel familiar to anyone who has played a roguelite before, and I’d be lying if I said the gameplay loop was particularly original. Despite this, I still found myself COMPLETELY hooked in. Maybe it’s the manic action where the pace never slows down? Maybe it’s the stylish monochromatic visuals that focus on black, whites, and plenty of red? Or maybe it’s the fact that it’s tightly designed and offers a satisfying gameplay loop that demands ‘one more go’? Either way, OTXO really does get a lot right, with its frantic gunplay and fast pace ensuring it feels SUPER good to play.

Whilst I wouldn’t necessarily call OTXO a hard game, you can expect to die quite a lot when playing. Don’t get me wrong, the main protagonist is tough and can take a few shots, but the odds are stacked against you, whilst you can also expect a few surprises when facing off against some of the bosses (which are bizarre but brilliant in design). Thankfully, there is an element of progress within each run, with the player earning cash that they can spend on temporary upgrades (which take on the form of drinks at a bar), pay a peculiar lady to gain access to additional drinks for subsequent runs, or simply fork out on extra weapons to make your onslaught go a bit smoother. The drinks can be vital to your progress, especially with the myriad of buffs that they offer, so having a rich selection to choose between can ultimately be the difference between life and death.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Add to that the aforementioned slick visual style which I was a big fan of and the bumping soundtrack that fits the vibe of the action perfectly, and you’ll quickly find there’s a HELL of a lot to like about OTXO. If I’m being honest, I haven’t managed to beat the game yet, but I still find myself coming back for more time and time again – it’s perfect for quick bursts on the Steam Deck, though don’t be surprised if you find your attempts lasting close to an hour.

For all the things it does right, there were a few little things in OTXO that might not sit well with all players. One prime example is the fact that I found myself getting killed by enemies that were out of sight on a few occasions – whilst this is understandable (especially in a game with guns), it did feel a little bit unfair at times since there wasn’t always a whole lot I could do to avoid them. It wasn’t a common issue, but when it happens and you’re deep into a run? It’s painful.

Some might find that the gameplay can get a little bit repetitive too, especially with the simplistic visual style that doesn’t offer a whole lot of disparity between areas. You’re doing a lot of the same things over and over, and whilst the fact that the gameplay is SUPER fun does mean this isn’t a BIG problem, more experienced roguelite players might wish that the game offered a bit more variety in its design or a greater sense of progression to keep each playthrough feeling a bit fresher than the last.

OTXO Review

OTXO is a brutal roguelite that NEVER slows the pace down with its frantic gunplay and satisfyingly chaotic action. I had a ton of fun blasting through its levels and spilling pints of enemy blood, whilst the time-bending focus ability and varied approach you can take in each level adds a surprising amount of strategy to each playthrough. Just expect to die… a lot.

There were a few little issues I encountered when playing and the formula might get a little repetitive for some players, but I’ve found myself completely hooked into OTXO. If you loved the likes of Hotline Miami and want to play something that takes a slightly different approach, you won’t want to miss out on it.

Developer: Lateralis Heavy Industries
Publisher: Super Rare Originals
Platform(s): PC (Reviewed)
Website: https://store.steampowered.com/app/1608640/OTXO/