Developer: Lateralis

Publisher: Super Rare Games

  • Price: $14.99
  • Release Date: Mar 28, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: M [Mature]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    With its stark black and white look and intense confrontations, OTXO makes a case for your attention

    There’s no doubt that for fans of intense and bloody violence that Hotline Miami made one hell of an impression. Sure, its tripped out and odd story beats helped to make it quite distinctive, but the top-down gun fights and bursts of sustained craziness are truly what made it memorable. Since its release I’ve seen quite a number of attempts made by other developers to recapture some of that lightning in a bottle, but none I’ve seen have gotten quite as close as OTXO.

    I think one of the wisest moves made by the people behind this game was, in the end, taking on just a minor portion of what made Hotline Miami work. Sure, at a quick glance nobody would mistake its intense gunfights and violence as being inspired by almost any other game, but there’s also no question that in terms of style and overall play OTXO also does things its own way. Having pretty well everything depicted starkly in black and white, only then to be splashed dramatically with red, is a far cry from the more psychedelic overall look of Hotline Miami. A major change in structure comes in the form of it being fully roguelike, replacing the more static understanding of the perks you’d gain by using different masks with complete unpredictability every time you walk up to the bar to get drinks that will act as your perks. Another key difference feels more borrowed from the classic Max Payne, as you’ll be able to build up and then consume focus, which will slow down the action for a brief amount of time, helping you deal with sticky situations more effectively. Throw in some tough gunslinging-oriented boss fights, and even the occasional story beat that will deepen the mystique of the strange circumstances you find yourself in, and there’s some unique appeal to the overall experience.

    All of that said, I’ll admit that not everything is quite as clean as it could or should be. I think my most consistent frustration, which I blame mostly on the limited color scheme, was periodically getting stuck on objects in the environment. While you’ll get a feel for which things in the environment you can go over or use as cover, when everything is at its most intense it’s really easy not to be able to make out key details, and on occasion that can get you killed. Another element is simply the fact that there’s no getting around the degree of challenge the game poses. This is the type of experience where you’ll get pretty deep in one round, taking out a boss and plenty of enemies in the process, but then the next it could be over within the first room or two. The game’s insistence that you keep moving to maintain your multiplier and how much cash you’ll pull in to upgrade yourself has a tendency to make for quick turns of fate, but that’s part of what can make the game quite addictive.

    In the end this is a game all about the core experience and whether or not you’re the kind of gamer who is seeking out a high-intensity and consistent challenge. Sure, this is lacking what at the time was the more original feel of Hotline Miami, as well as its generally quirky overall nature. That said, if the challenge of hitting the game’s action, powered up by an impressive number and variety of different perks and weapons, appeals to you I’d argue OTXO gains the advantage in that area specifically. It absolutely is not a game for everyone, but for the right audience I’d argue that it’s literally a bloody good time.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Nindie Choice! [8.3]

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