Slave Zero X Review

A downright brutal dystopian future awaits in Poppy Works and Ziggurat’s new 2.5D action game Slave Zero X. Does this gritty cyberpunk sprawl of meat and metal have enough for players to go all slashy-slashy?

Slave Zero X Review

Taking control of Shou, this Red Devil packing a sharp sword and luscious will set forth on a hunt for vengeance. He’s not alone in this fight, however; Ayesha is all too happy to help this countercultural fighter out throughout its approximately seven hour playthrough.

Edgier than a razor blade, it has a unique flavor that energizes each and every fight – with the death metal music to match. We were energized by its vibes, but they are admittedly not for everyone.

On that note, gritty Megacity S1-9 is packed full of troops just ripe for the gibbing. Of course, Shou packs a move set that is just ripe for juggling and comboing to double-digit hits.

While light and heavy attacks – and the combos to match – are par for the hack-and-slash course, there are some wrinkles to be had. Perhaps the biggest one is the EX moves that players can inflict on players; when pulled off correctly, this allows players to cancel moves, dish out additional damage, and speed things up. There’s also the Fatal Sync, which grants unlimited EX Moves when the meter is full.

That’s not mentioning Slave Zero X’s Burst Orb recovery (think Guilty Gear’s Roman Cancel), i-frame dodge, and parry. There’s a lot to keep track of here. A lot of it boils down to muscle memory, though there is a one-stop shop that lets players upgrade their experience and a Training Room to get things down just right.

While pulling off the perfect combo and getting a high ranking is a thrilling feeling, those not weaned on Devil May Cry, Bayonetta, or other titles might find the endless troops a bit repetitive. There is the occasional wrinkle like a trigger-happy sniper or a darkened passageway, but taking down waves of goons still lies at the forefront.

Slave Zero X truly shines with its boss battles. While some might teleport behind you or bring a gun to a knife fight, they exude personality and a hefty challenge to match. Some may call them cheap, but their emphasis on pattern recognition was something we could truly appreciate – along with their outrageous personalities.

For those who have played other 2.5D titles like Tomba! Or Strider 2 from the PlayStation 1 back in ye olden days (remember when?). Slave Zero X’s aesthetics channels a similar vibe. Its 3D backgrounds complement the 2D sprites nicely, channeling a 32-bit spirit that we thought was long-dormant in the gaming space.

While Shou can be a bit difficult to handle, Slave Zero X promises plenty of action for those willing to fight for their bloodlust. Its endless hordes can be a bit of a grind, but those willing to sharpen their swords and cut their teeth will enjoy executing this cannon fodder in style.

This review of Slave Zero X was done on the PC. A digital code was provided by the publisher.
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