Publisher: Super Rare Originals
Genre(s): Action, Simulation
Release Date: 20/04/2023
A code was provided for review purposes
A Free Invite to a Haunted Mansion?
OTXO is a fast-paced top-down shooter seemingly inspired by Hotline Miami. However, this game is a rogue-like, meaning upon death, I had to begin all the way from the very beginning. Did these two elements combine to create something meaningful? Find out in this Rapid Review.
The premise behind OTXO is very simple, even if it is unusual. When riding in a subway, my main character put on a mask that transported his consciousness into a mansion where he was unable to leave. Upon death, he was simply reincarnated on the beach surrounding the building, forced to continue trying to take out enemies and reach the final level of the mansion. There are some brief notes that the character left for himself over time, but apart from that, the introduction is the only form of story content that I experienced. The story did not resonate with me, or make me think much, but to be honest, I did not intend to explore a deep story throughout OTXO. While the dialogue was lacking, I was not disappointed by its absence.
Instead, I primarily looked towards the gameplay. OTXO’s frantic action required my constant attention. Whether I was fighting the waves of enemies or taking on bosses, small incorrect judgements often had lethal consequences, sending me all the way back to the beginning. The high-stakes gameplay was just as riveting as it was frustrating, yet I enjoyed subjecting myself to it. Even simple things required my attention. In this game, I even had to consider the number of bullets remaining in my weapons, as something as simple as reloading in a crowded room could easily lead to death. Each moment was tense, yet the overall gameplay loop interested me.
The Foray in the Foyer
Luckily, to counter the intensity each enemy brought, I had a couple of tricks up my sleeve too. First, I was able to steal weapons from many of the enemies I took out. This encouraged and honestly mandated me to constantly experiment with and explore new weapons. Moreover, occasionally, this also forced me to change my weapon into something potentially suboptimal, as each gun has a finite number of bullets inside it. The way the developer introduced this weapon-swapping mechanic was engaging. I enjoyed constantly altering my loadout and the decision-making strategies behind prioritizing enemies with certain weapons too.
Additionally, the game further encourages a conscious thought about the weapons I enjoy. Before entering the mansion and beginning a run, a non-playable character allows me to select the available weapons. This is a cool concept, as the weapons that are available are also the weapons enemies use. I was surprised by how much I used this, as it coupled nicely with the augment system. In addition to weaponry, I could adjust each run by selecting different drinks at a bar. Each one added some improvement to my base character, such as increased health, more damage with rifles at long range, or even training a guard dog to attack enemies for me. These helped make each run a lot more exciting, and there were ample strategies to keep me engaged both with the drinks and with the weapon selection.
Additionally, there are unlockable weapons and drinks that add additional customization options. These were unlocked with in-game currency either through a pachinko machine or investing in different liquors. At face value, this seems like a good thing. However, this frustrated me, as unlocking new mechanics used the same currency as purchasing upgrades for the current run. Though this is not overwhelmingly disappointing, throughout the game, I felt like I had to decide whether I thought the run would be successful. If I did not think it would win, I invested in new upgrades, taking currency away from the current run. This mechanic would have resonated a lot more with me had there been a separate currency dedicated to unlocking new upgrades. Regardless, it was still fun to experiment with different options, and I enjoyed customizing my run with the different customizations.
While there was a lot of customization via my character, the runs did begin to blend over time. Enemies are not overly distinct. There are some foes which feature weapons that are outside my typical arsenal, but still, none are overly unique apart from bosses. Though this seems like a flaw, this did not bother me much since one misstep could lead to death; it felt good to know what enemies would do before I met them. Similarly, I could easily alter how much variety enemies had by increasing or decreasing the available selection of weapons. Though there was not much variety, the enemies are readable, so I was content with the selection of enemies.
The bosses were more interesting, having unique patterns and much more health, forcing me to pay attention to my surroundings even more. These were also fun. Once I learned the game a little, I knew which boss would be approaching, so I could counter their strengths with my weapon loadout. The patterns were engaging, unique, and kept me engrossed in OTXO.
To supplement these fights and the whole game, the developer designed music that is intense and fast-paced. It not only complemented the ambience of the game, but it is catchy too. I think the soundtrack was good and succeeded at setting the scene for the title.
The visual design was similarly excellent. My character somehow stood out from the sea of enemies despite only being in black and white. There were different areas to explore that looked different, giving clues about which enemies would be available, and I was always able to differentiate both weapons and enemies from each other. OTXO featured a lovely atmosphere.
In sum, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with OTXO. The game kept me on the edge of my seat all throughout, encouraged me to strategize with different builds, and greatly increased both my accuracy and reaction time. Though unlocking new upgrades is frustrating, and the enemies can feel similar, OTXO is a very solid option for fans of high-intensity games.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4 out of 5
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