Presenting Gameffine's OTXO review. OTXO (pronounced oh-cho) is a violent top-down shooter with roguelite elements.
Product Brand: Lateralis Heavy Industries
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: $14.99
Product In-Stock: InStock
One cannot look at OTXO (pronounced oh-cho) and not think of Hotline Miami, the game that put publisher Devolver Digital on the map. OTXO, on a surface level, looks, functions and plays like a Hotline Miami clone. Heck, even the abstract plot resembles the surreal fever dream that was Hotline Miami. But is that all OTXO is, or is it hiding something under its heavily pixelated surface? Let me break it down for you. Presenting Gameffine’s OTXO review.
OTXO is a top-down shooter with some heavy roguelite elements. The game was released for PC via Steam on April 20, 2023.
OTXO begins as the unnamed protagonist is travelling in what I presume to be a subway with his lover. The dude next to you gets up and leaves, dropping a mask on the floor. The PC picks up the mask and blacks out. He then wakes up, washed up in a beach with a huge mansion nearby. The groundskeeper of the mansion talks some cryptic boogaloo. Apparently, our PC is not the first one to mysteriously wash ashore. His lover is somewhere in the mansion, and he has to kill his way through the many rooms of the mansion in order to reach her. The laws of the world are different here and each time he dies, the PC respawns, only to repeat the whole thing again from the start. Thus begins, OTXO.
OTXO follows the footsteps of Hotline Miami to tell a cryptic, surreal story. It’s not particularly engaging like its inspiration and feels too derivative. It feels cryptic for the sake of being cryptic. What’s lamer is that the narrative doesn’t tie into the gameplay. Each level is procedurally generated and doesn’t look any different from the last one, and doesn’t hold any significance in terms of the story. They feel disconnected from the narrative. Even if you remove the story from the game, it wouldn’t make any difference in the overall experience.
While the story is forgettable, the aesthetics are spot-on. The game uses a monochromatic filter, with the only non-muted color being that of blood. Everything has an MS-Pain look and feel to it. The environments are full of detail, even though some details are lost due to the heavy pixelating. Minute details like particles and debris flying around during shooting and blood pooling around dead bodies adds to the charm. The B&W filter doesn’t work all the time though, as this, combined with some environmental effects, reduce visibility in some levels and makes the game look blurrier than usual. Still, A for artistic approach. Plus, the music is also kick-ass.
If it’s not apparent already, OTXO uses the same gameplay template as Hotline Miami. The movement and shooting works through twin-stick controls, the camera angle is top-down, each level comprises bite-sized rooms separated by breakable doors. The objective of each level is to kill everyone using either guns or melee. Each kill adds to a combo. The more the combo, the more currency you’ll make.
Speaking of killing, the combat, specifically the gunplay is the highlight of OTXO. Combat is pretty satisfying thanks to the beefy weapons and crunchy sound effects. There are a decent number of weapons ranging from Kunai, Pistol, SMG, Bolt-Action Rifle, Assault Rifle, Automatic Shotgun and heavy caliber Sniper to choose from. Weapons can be picked up from enemies but have limited ammo. Unlike its inspiration, OTXO favors gunplay over melee by a large margin. That goes for you and the enemies. To compensate for the shooting-focused combat, you also don’t die in a single hit. There’s also a bullet-time mechanic in place, which is essential if you want to make any sort of progress. The game uses a traditional health bar which replenishes between levels. There are also boss fights every few levels.
What sets OTXO apart are its Roguelite mechanics. Each time you die in OTXO, have to start all over from scratch. Yes, that is as painful as it sounds. Imagine playing 40 levels all over again just because of a mistake. To counter this, there are a huge number of temporary as well as permanent upgrades in the form of alcoholic drinks. These range from simple stuff like increasing bullet speed and bullet time duration to awesome stuff like getting an attack dog to help out in combat. However, this being a roguelite means that RNG decides what upgrades are available to purchase. Thus, your ability to progress in the game is largely tied to sheer luck. No wonder many people dislike Roguelites.
At the same time, the addictive combat combined with the huge number of upgrades makes the game pretty replayable…until it gets repetitive. But you’ll be easily able to squeeze out 10 hours of gameplay before that happens.
Jumping the Gun
While it may appear as a Hotline Miami clone, OTXO does enough things to set itself apart. Satisfying gunplay, an assortment of random upgrades and an alluring art design combined with great music makes it worth playing. However, since Steam is filled with some standout indie games, $13.49 seems a bit too steep for a standard Roguelite. If you feel like that is the case, wait for a sale on this one.
FINAL RATING: 74/100