Release Date: 20 April, 2022
By Chris Picone, 24 August 2022
OTXO is a high quality roguelike top-down shooter that features a distinct pixel noir art style, a bangin' soundtrack, and tons of gore.
OTXO's artstyle is distinct: at its heart they've gone for the retro shooter look, but there are some unusual choices in terms of detailing - the characters are all kept simple and somewhat vague; aspects of the background such as the carpets and some of the furniture are super detailed while the walls and other parts are also very simplistic. It's unusual but it works. At the same time, OTXO reminds me of Sin City, where it's practically monochrome black-and-white but with bright red blood splashing everywhere every time you shoot anything. The music is a fast-paced, mechanical track with a strangely exotic quality that I can't quite describe. It fits the mood for this gorefest perfectly.
The controls are simple, and mostly standard for the genre; one stick moves, one stick aims, trigger shoots, and you can dodge/roll. The controls are mostly smooth but you may find you need to rebind some of the keys (I was forever throwing my weapon when I wanted to kick). OTXO also features the ability to "focus" (bullet time) and the ability to kick, which is surprisingly useful. Ultimately, OTXO is a fast-paced gorefest where you are encouraged to kill quickly (it recharges your focus meter faster). If you use the focus and kick efficiently enough, you can wipe out whole levels without even picking up a weapon. Weapons are what this game's about though; there are a stack to pick up as you play through and you're encouraged to swap regularly because each weapon has limited ammo and only one spare magazine so you frequently need to make use of whatever's around you. There's also a cool feature in-game where you can choose what weapons your enemies will have available - but it also affects what weapons are available to you. Every few levels the enemies get stronger (adding armour, new weapons, etc.) and there are boss fights after which you can access the bar where you can purchase upgrades. And since it's a roguelike you can also purchase unlocks for new upgrades which remain available across runs.
The game's a bit odd from time to time and the focus/kick/weapon pickup mechanics take a little to get used to, but once you get your head around that it's a cracker of a game. Any fan of twin stick shooters (roguelike or otherwise) should check this out.