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OTXO Review – killing me softly in slow-mo

Do you like hurting other people? Cool, but do you also like hurting them in slow motion? Then we might have a special assignment for you. Would you like to die right next to your significant other, then come back and have to rescue her while wading through hordes of bloodthirsty enemies? Do not worry, you cannot die. And you cannot escape. Are you on board? Good, then let’s dive into our OTXO review.

Since we have already mentioned, indirectly, Hotline Miami I guess we can get it out of the way immediately. OTXO is definitely one game for everyone who has been left starving by the lack of a third title in the Miami series. The overhead 2D hyper-violent gameplay reminds one exactly of those mechanics, even though there are a few interesting twists we’ll get to. Trapped in this vast mansion, you will have to kill first and ask questions later. Like “what is going on?” and “when do I get to leave?”

Aesthetically, OTXO pretty much imitates the classic Hotline Miami style, but with a black-and-white palette splashed with red blood in a sort of Sin City style. While looking very cool at the beginning, unfortunately, it soon starts to become a little bit repetitive as we wade through hordes of enemies. The palace’s design is also quite far removed from the varied locations of the Miami games, being mostly about “fun arenas to shoot in”, rather than believable places one might wander in.

So, it’s time for the twist I mentioned a while ago. In OTXO you have one single life – die and you go back to the start. Sound unfair? It might be, but your main man comes with an energy bar, so there will be no “one shot equals one kill”. Luckily, dying is not all about regrets as – in true roguelike fashion – you will get to unlock new features and mechanics. But that’s not all.

The shooter mechanics also come with a slowdown technique to further aid you in painting the walls with blood. Perhaps, I should call it “bullet time” and really date myself. Just press a button and you can devastate enemies while taking your sweet slo-mo time. It’s definitely fun, even though it recharges slowly, so sometimes levels become a sort of slowdown/shoot/wait roundabout.

Personally, I am a bit on the fence about the slowdown mechanic. While this is a smart addition which makes combat more varied and fun, it also means the classic Hotline Miami tension is basically gone. Don’t get me wrong, OTXO is still very difficult and ruthless, but since you can withstand several hits, you won’t get that fear of getting killed at the last minute and being punished by having to restart the whole level.

Also, my favorite thing from Hotline Miami has always been the great collection of music tracks, here unfortunately we can’t say the same. Sure, the violent synthwave is still very much present and it is also made by the developer, so hats off to them for that. But it seems to be all one note and that is all you get to listen to while pumping foes full of lead. It sure pumped my adrenaline but did not help the feeling of overall repetitiveness that I started to feel after a few levels.

But enough with the hurt. OTXO is a very fine reinterpretation of the classic over-the-top 2D shooter in the vein of Take no Prisoners (see, there are other games too!), which will definitely please fans of the genre by giving them more interesting features and a mysterious location to explore. Personally, I feel it needed a little bit more of a kick to spice up its gameplay, which does tend to feel a bit stale after a couple of hours.

Our OTXO review was made available with a key provided by the publisher Super Rare Originals. OTXO is available on Steam.

OTXO: OTXO is an engaging over-the-head hyper-violent shooter with light roguelite mechanics that will please fans of the genre. Damiano Gerli

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Damiano Gerli

Damiano Gerli was born with a faithful Commodore 64 by his side. It taught him how to program basic adventure games and introduced him to new genres. Then, he fell in love with Sega -- while the Master System wasn't as powerful as the Genesis, it was where he played Sonic and Outrun. Years later, he got the idea that he was the most Sega-knowledgeable person in the world, so he opened a website in 1997, The Genesis Temple. Damiano is a gaming industry professional and historian, loves adventure and indie titles, but he never shies away from action and triple-A RPGs. Basically, Damiano is been writing about videogames for 20 years, with no plans to stop. Say hi to him on X at @damgentemp.