Ahh, glorious top-down gunplay! There’s something to be said about the emotional release that comes from video game violence backed up by tight controls and responsive feedback. The newly released OTXO has great potential to satisfy your trigger-happy nature.
Table Of Contents
OTXO Gameplay Video
Refined Top-Down Combat
The highest selling point for OTXO is its stellar combat. There are a lot of resemblances to the Hotline Miami series—which is well warranted, as OTXO plays very similarly. However, OTXO doesn’t feel like a clone—it feels like a spiritual successor to the Hotline Miami series.
With that said, the gameplay revolves around you, as a lone gunner, taking on areas full of enemies from a top-down perspective. In addition to the gunplay, you can break down doors, dodge-roll, leap over furniture, and even kick enemies to death.
Each room is segmented into smaller rooms, which you must enter to procedurally clear enemies out of the area. Once all foes are dead, you can move to the next room. Rinse and repeat until you encounter a boss—and then repeat once more. Boss rooms spawn after every time five regular rooms are cleared.
Reasons OTXO Is Supremely Satisfying
Put simply: this game is extremely satisfying to play if you like this type of combat. The controls are tight and the game responds immediately to all of your knee-jerk reactions. If you die, it’s your own fault; and, if you die often, it’s a skill issue on your part, not an issue with the game.
The gameplay loop feels great. Once you go through your first run of this roguelike, you’ll understand how to improve in the following runs. Also, yes, this is a true roguelike. You’re meant to die and restart from the beginning. Thankfully, your unlocking progress carries over for new liqueurs (in-game buffs) and you keep the collectibles that you find.
This is the kind of game you want to keep playing because you always feel like you’re improving and can do better on the next run. Each new run is a chance at redemption for a poor previous attempt. Furthermore, the fun gameplay encourages you to keep playing, as blasting enemies with your favorite guns never gets old.
Foes Are a Bit Feeble-Minded
There are small problems with the AI in that enemies will occasionally get stuck on a corner, be unable to path toward you if you’re too far away, or forget you’re there if you stay still behind a wall for longer than 10 seconds.
To follow up, these aren’t huge issues, as they don’t occur that often and genuinely help you stay alive longer. On top of that, these mild concerns don’t come close to breaking the game in any way.
Difficult Yet Not Dreadfully So
Firstly, enemies react quickly to you. The moment you bust down a door, all foes in that area will turn toward you and start unloading their guns. Also, melee enemies rush you without any hesitation. You really need to make use of the Focus mechanic if you want to have a good run.
Although, it should be mentioned that there is a bit of a difficulty curve. You need to learn to make use of the Focus mechanic (which briefly slows down time) as well as dodge-rolling, vaulting over furniture (both of which grant temporary immunity to bullets), and reloading (or picking up a fresh gun). If this is your kind of game, it shouldn’t take you any longer than 30 minutes to get used to everything.
Not Quite Enough Types of Enemies
On a related note, the generic enemies are a bit too common. After you get to room six, different types of foes begin to spawn, but the variety still feels lacking.
We think that having two types of basic enemies in the first five rooms would be more interesting yet still not too difficult. After the first boss, adding one new type of enemy every five rooms seems like it would be more stimulating yet balanced.
Beautifully Balanced Brewery
The mechanics outside of the combat are also well thought out. The liqueur system is a great way to implement perks in a novel manner. All of the liqueurs also feel useful. Some are definitely better than others, but all can come in handy.
What’s more, investing in unlocking new liqueurs feels like a reasonable way to spend the in-game currency. On a similar topic, the in-game currency of coins feels a bit bland. It would be more interesting to collect the masks of your fallen foes or something like that, but, for the purposes of currency, coins do just fine.
A Spooky Story Amidst the Carnage
There is a story in OTXO, however, it’s minimalistic. You begin the game with a short cutscene showing your character (the eponymous OTXO) getting a mask and putting it on. In addition to being a throwback to the Hotline Miami games, this sets in motion the plot of this macabre adventure.
After putting on the mask, you’re brought to a beach. Once you get up and look around, you’ll find a mansion and a few NPCs who fill you in on the most important details: you must go on a rampage and kill everything (except your allies) in the mansion. Following a short tutorial, you’re allowed to begin the game in earnest.
Throughout different runs, you’ll find bits of lore in journal entries and writs scattered around randomly spawning rooms that don’t contain enemies. These slowly but surely help you understand the setting and the reason why the in-game events are happening.
Gruelling Gatchapon Farming
You’ll also find Gachapon machines here and there. These let you buy collectibles of all kinds. There are many of them in the game and you can check them out later by talking to an NPC on the beach. However, the collectibles are a bit too expensive, as each one costs 250 coins. For perspective, even if you get an x5 combo when clearing out a room, you’ll usually only get around 200 coins.
As such, getting collectibles requires you to save up at least more than one room’s worth of money (if you get a high enough combo to rake in that many coins). Since you also need to save up to unlock and buy liqueurs, there’s a balancing act. You should prioritize getting liqueurs, as they benefit you way more, but it’s always tempting to get collectibles.
We feel like the Gachapon machine should be a bit cheaper. Not by much—maybe bring the price down to 200 or 150 coins. We feel like one collectible should be worth one room’s worth of enemy-killing, but no more than that!
Remember the Story Details, Because the Game Won’t
Sadly, you can’t re-read these bits of lore in between runs, as there’s no collection or NPC that lets you look at found lore again. It would be easy to implement such a feature, as there’s an NPC that lets you check collectibles you’ve obtained from the Gachapon machines found in the same non-hostile rooms as the bits of lore.
We hope that, in a future update, the developer will add such a feature. It’s clear they want the story to only be hinted at to create a mysterious vibe. However, since the lore tidbits spawn randomly and inconsistently, it’s a bit frustrating to learn more when you can’t do so easily.
Moreover, if there’s a viewable collection of lore, there should also be a mechanic that only spawns new bits of lore instead of potentially letting players come across ones they’ve already read. When you see a journal or readable writ, the player should feel like “Oh, neat, more lore!”, not “Ugh, I’ve already read this.”
The insinuations are creepy and intriguing, so there’s definitely a draw to interest players, but, without making it simple for them to reflect on such details, the background story loses some of its impact and significance.
Lovely Pixel Graphics That Are a Bit Rough Around the Edges
The pixel art of OTXO looks pleasant! There’s a minimalist quality that’s backed up by a defined style. The noir color scheme fits the mood, and the addition of only the color red in select areas is a great aesthetic choice.
What we like to see in a pixel art game is the designers making use of every single pixel—which is certainly the case in OTXO. While there’s no denying that the game looks lovely, there’s a bit of a rough quality to it that has nothing to do with the artistic direction.
What Gun Am I Holding Again?
Every gun in the game is named. You can see all of the unlocked guns when talking to the nun NPC before starting a new run. However, while you’re running and gunning through the mansion, you only see a symbol in the bottom-left corner that represents the gun you currently have equipped.
Normally, this wouldn’t matter, as you can tell what general type of gun you’re holding by firing it and noticing its spread, fire rate, etc. However, there are buffs in the game that only affect specific types of guns. For example, there are liqueurs that only affect LMGs (light machine guns).
There are times when you could be using a fast-firing assault rifle and mistake it for an LMG. The only way around such mistakes is to memorize the pixel art of each gun. This is asking a lot from the player.
When you’re in an intense gunfight, you should be able to quickly glance at the bottom-left corner and know what type of gun you’re holding. Many players will start putting together a build around what liqueurs they’re using. Therefore, the game should allow them to do so easily by providing basic gun information.
The soundtrack in OTXO is amazing! The fast-paced rhythm and dynamic melodies get your blood pumping. The audio is fitting for going on an in-game killing spree. While your eyes and cursor are racing around the screen, your head will be bobbing at the sweet tunes.
Why is club music so fitting for games like these? No idea, but it just feels like it’s the appropriate genre for moving around—whether it’s to bust a move on the dance floor or to bust open the skulls of your foes.
Perfect Performance on Most PCs
First of all, here are the system requirements for running OTXO:
OS: Windows 7, 10
Processor: Intel Core i5 2500 or AMD FX-4350
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Graphics: nVidia GTX 660ti or AMD R9 270 with 2+ GB of VRAM
DirectX: Version 11
Storage: 600 MB available space
Sound Card: Integrated
Next, there are no recommended requirements like with most other games. You don’t need that powerful of a PC for this title; it’s pretty low stress on your computer. We played OTXO for multiple hours on end for this review and our PC barely got warmer.
For a frame of reference, here’s our PC stats:
OS: Windows 11 Home
Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-9750H CPU @ 2.60GHz 2.59 GHz
Memory: RAM 12.0 GB (11.8 GB usable)
Graphics: Intel(R) UHD 630
DirectX: Version 12
Storage: More than 600 MB available
Sound Card: Integrated
If you have even a somewhat decent computer, you should be able to run OTXO without any issues. You could probably even do so if your PC is woefully old.
A Crazy Cast of Loveable Misfits
Why, yes, this game does have characters like a humanoid praying mantis, a salty sea captain, and a gun-loving nun. As you rack up the number of runs, you’ll find more and more of the vibrant cast in this mostly monochromatic landscape.
They all have a purpose as well as unique personalities. While the dialogue you can have with each of them is pretty limited, there’s enough there to connect you to them and understand their motives and desires.
At the start of each run, each character can have something different to say, so it’s always worth speaking with them before you enter the mansion. That is if you care about the story and lore of OTXO. If you don’t, there’s nothing wrong with rushing in—guns blazing—to take on innumerable adversaries.
Relaxing Realms by a Murderous Mansion
Despite the chaos and gore within the mansion, everywhere outside of it is remarkably peaceful. You can go fishing on the beach, chat with friendly NPCs, and roll around on the gray grass to your heart’s content. There’s not a whole lot to do, but, if you want, you can enjoy the calm before the bullet storm.
Your first introduction to the world (after the initial cutscene) is waking up on a beach by some gently rolling waves. It may sound a bit weird to say so, but we got some Link’s Awakening vibes from this one opening scene. Though, that’s where the resemblance to The Legend of Zelda series ends.
The contrast between a calm hub area and increasingly violent levels and bosses feels like it meets an appropriate balance. If things were all intense all the time, you wouldn’t be able to appreciate the fast-paced gameplay as much. Furthermore, you’d feel burnt out after just a few runs.
Thanks to the calmness of the hub area, you can take a breather before heading back into the fray: an important part of all roguelike games. Especially adrenaline-fueled ones like OTXO.
There’s also tons of lore to dig up and investigate. You’ll eventually piece together the purpose of the mansion, why you’re there, and other fascinating details. The developers did a great job at drip-feeding worldbuilding notes to players.
A Great Contender to Add to Your “Replayable” Collection
OTXO has a lot of replay value. Every run offers you a chance to try new tactics, plus, the levels, rooms, and bosses are mostly randomized. In terms of room layout, this game boasts over 150 different varieties, which makes every run feel fresh and exciting.
There are over 100 liqueurs, so you can customize your build in a huge number of ways. There are lots of weapons as well! You can even speak to the nun NPC to determine which guns spawn—if you have a preference for some over others.
Since OTXO is so easy to pick up and play at any time, you’ll also find that it’s an ideal time killer. If there’s ever 10 minutes to an hour in which you have nothing to do, you can immerse yourself in OTXO and pass the time quickly. This is even true if you’re on the go, as this game is Steam Deck compatible—it even won an award for that!
Author Conclusion: OTXO Is a Game You Should Definitely Get if You Like Top-Down Shooters
Due to having expertly refined combat, high replayability, and a wicked soundtrack, OTXO is a must-have for fans of the top-down shooter genre. On top of those excellent traits, there’s more to enjoy, like a compelling yet mysterious story, fun characters, interesting bosses, and more. Instead of playing Hotline Miami again, try out its cooler, noir older brother: OTXO!