I Can’t Stop Playing OTXO – Review

Stephen King is the grasp of writing tales that take an unassuming location like a mansion or a resort room and twist them into an abomination that threatens to break down on itself with you on the heart. OTXO embodies this, pulling you right into a world of high-octane gunplay, creeping dread, and craving for a life and time that’s lengthy since seen the solar set on its shores perpetually.

Ever since I began OTXO, I haven’t been in a position to put it down. It’s irritating in some ways, however the core gameplay loop, banging experimental digital soundtrack, and similarities to my favourite creator’s works stored pulling me again in. The sport was included in our April 2023 indie game spotlight, and I’m so happy to have the ability to say that it doesn’t disappoint.

Iterating on inspiration

Screenshot by way of Tremendous Uncommon Video games

Let’s get this out of the best way now: OTXO seems lots just like the Hotline Miami video games. Should you took that franchise and stripped out each shade aside from crimson, black, and white, OTXO is what you’d see. That’s the place the similarities finish although. Whereas very clearly visually impressed by a franchise that elevated indie video games a lot previously, OTXO iterates on each different factor to provide you a very totally different expertise.

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The sport’s story revolves round your protagonist placing on a masks and discovering themselves on a seashore throughout an infinite twilight. There’s a resort, and in the event that they strategy, they’ll meet a questionable forged of characters who’re all dripping with character, however none of them will actually let you know what’s taking place. Every one is aware of they’re trapped, such as you, and that the resort has its personal darkish secrets and techniques preserving you all right here. You’ve acquired to struggle to its coronary heart to flee, and that’s removed from straightforward.

Screenshot by Gamepur

At its core, OTXO makes use of twin-stick shooter mechanics inside a roguelite wrapper to make each procedurally generated room, hallway, pool, and extra really feel distinctive. With every run, you’ll be kicking down doorways to shoot the enemies behind them earlier than they’ll shoot you. The protagonist has a well being pool, so taking photographs isn’t as punishing as you may anticipate. Nonetheless, enemies are good and can comply with loud noises and gunfire, so that you’ll be shortly overwhelmed if careless.

All antagonists drop cash, which I’ll clarify under, upon loss of life, and killing a number of foes shortly will apply multipliers that will help you earn extra a lot sooner. This places an emphasis on dashing by way of each flooring that feels suitably uncomfortable. As soon as I’d mastered the core mechanics, I discovered myself pushing to extend that multiplier increasingly, and the sport felt higher for it.

Every run feels contemporary as a result of the format of each flooring is modified upon loss of life. OTXO is kind of unforgiving and has no drawback sending you again to the very starting for those who die a couple of flooring in. It’s sufficient to drive you to drink, and that’s precisely what OTXO needs you to do.

One step ahead, three steps again

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Shopping for drinks from the bar will apply sure results to your character, akin to with the ability to telekinetically pull weapons to them or producing a kunai when rolling unarmed. None of those ever felt overpowered. Actually, even with a number of below my belt, the resort felt prefer it was profitable with each step. No benefit is sufficient to make you’re feeling secure, and that’s precisely the way it must be in a recreation like this. Greater than the rest, these drinks make you check out totally different approaches to flooring and managers. The aforementioned kunai roll is enjoyable for a stealthy strategy however prevents you from incomes too many cash. An influence that has an opportunity to deflect bullets or throw some again at your foes although. Properly, that makes you need to rush by way of each door such as you’re carrying physique armor.

The crux of development exterior of each run comes within the type of build up a bigger roster of drinks and curiosities. I felt unstoppable once I had 4 or 5 drinks in me and was going through off in opposition to a second boss. Nonetheless, similar to in actual life, the crushing realization of how weak I used to be got here flooding in as this boss, regardless of my further talents, pummelled me into subsequent Tuesday. Some drinks do work nicely collectively, nevertheless it’s extra about selecting those that can work in your play type and the kind of room you’re at the moment tackling. They offer you a cushion of confidence that’s what you have to preserve going moderately than breaking the issue by making you some kind of twisted god-like warrior.

Cash are invested in both curiosities, which you’ll find out about from one of many seashore’s NPCs, or importing new drinks. When you’re taking part in, you have to always assess whether or not a brand new drink is value your coin or if you wish to push to make this run the most effective one but by buying a brand new drink and energy. It slows the general development whereas including some much-needed pacing, although it could be good if all the pieces linked to the bar had been cheaper. I felt like I used to be inspired to keep away from investing in new drinks in favor of any new energy, no matter whether or not I’d discover it useful.

Screenshot by Gamepur

Taking pictures in OTXO is tight. You progress with the left stick, purpose with the fitting, and unleash a barrage of bullets with the set off. It appears like a twin-stick shooter, particularly as a result of your character strikes so quick, which might take numerous getting used to initially. The aiming sticks the place you allow the on-screen reticule, and this may catch you out once you suppose you’re going through an enemy, however your bullets simply miss them. It’s irritating, nevertheless it’s a ability you have to develop that feels satisfying when you’ve mastered it. After a couple of runs, you’ll be throwing grenades, grabbing weapons, and destroying all the pieces in entrance of you very quickly. A beautiful contact is that the surroundings will probably be destroyed as your stray bullets and explosions land, making each flooring really feel like a real big-budget struggle scene.

There’s a satisfying vary of weapons to select up and play with. A pleasant contact is you could choose which weapons can be found in every run for each you and your enemies, limiting the quantity for those who’re struggling to make use of or fight them. For instance, I can not make the shotguns work for me, however the enemies like to splatter me with them. By turning them off for my runs, I knew I’d have entry to weapons I used to be higher at utilizing and understood how my enemies would transfer in fight due to the weapons they’d be packing.

Screenshot by Gamepur

This function additionally performs into the sorts of flooring you’re tackling. Some environments, such because the bathhouse, get misty and have restricted sightlines, so long-range weapons are higher. Within the greenhouse, although, the place enemies can see you shifting by way of glass, short-range weapons or sniper rifles gives you a bonus over your enemies. It’s the greenhouse that taught me easy methods to chop and alter the weapons in a run and helped me discover ways to transfer by way of a flooring. Every one has tight corridors, however with glass, these corridors flip into large rooms. This was irritating at first, however that’s right down to me needing to determine how enemies noticed me, not any fault from the sport.

You may decide up and drop weapons on the contact of a button, however typically this will get complicated when weapons pile up, and you may’t swap to the one you want shortly. I discovered myself plotting routes by way of flooring if I wished to, for instance, use a grenade to clear a room however guarantee I may retreat to a gun if it had been wanted.

Don’t sleep on OTXO

Screenshot by way of Tremendous Uncommon Video games

Any peace clearing a flooring affords is shortly damaged by the completely superior soundtrack OTXO thrusts down your ears. It’s exhausting, quick, and has tracks to go well with the surroundings of each flooring of the resort. These could be themed round Japanese spas, easy condominium flooring, or, the one which crushed me probably the most, a greenhouse. It’s precisely the other of what you’d anticipate from a recreation with a creeping horror lurking beneath each pixel, nevertheless it works as a result of the gameplay provides to this juxtaposition. After ending a run, you’re feeling that horror that’s been at the back of your thoughts and begin to query why the protagonist is within the resort, however when you’re capturing and listening to ear-bleeding beats, your solely concern is racking up kills, cash, and multipliers. It’s as if two video games have been merged right here, nevertheless it works as a result of the underlying darkness of these quieter moments by no means really leaves you, it simply waits for the amount to be turned down.

Between the soundtrack and the sheer variation in flooring layouts, you’ll by no means familiarize your self with the resort, and that’s the purpose. This place is unusual, occupied by strangers, and is holding you right here till you’ve conquered your interior demons. You’ll uncover tidbits of story in rooms which have fallen out of 1 flooring or one other and study extra concerning the particular person you’re taking part in and their quest. It’s a darkish story that will get below your pores and skin and retains you awake at night time when you marvel if the barman leaves the bar, if the solar ever units, and why the resort feels sentient. There’s character in every single place, and whereas it won’t want it to maintain you engaged, it’s a implausible bonus that there’s a world so seemingly huge in a comparatively small recreation.

The Verdict

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OTXO is fast-paced and endlessly replayable. Even when you’re completed with the primary story, you may hop right into a more durable problem and end up combating for survival yet again. The way in which the sport contextualizes powers, weapons, and even the cycle of a number of deaths makes for a recreation you gained’t put down shortly and can always remember. Regardless of it being an amalgamation of opposing genres, it epitomizes type and makes you desirous to grasp it so you may push additional in only one extra run.

+ Tight gunplay with good accompanying mechanics
+ A narrative and elegance that sticks in your head
+ Satisfying gameplay loop that rewards observe and forethought
Poor stock administration when there’s lots on display to sift by way of and also you’re panicking
Drinks don’t affect buildcrafting as a lot as I’d like
Progress felt slow-paced at instances as a result of value of drinks
Disclosure: Gamepur was supplied a recreation code for assessment functions.

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