Slave Zero X is set 5 years before the events of Slave Zero where, in Megacity S1-9, the Sovereign Khan rules with an iron fist where living machines known as Slaves used as the latest tools of war in humanity’s long and bloody history. In order to stop them, Shou, a warrior from a secret band of warriors known as The Guardians, decides to merge with a stolen Slave Unit Prototype to stop the Sovereign Khan.

Slave Zero X is a 2D action hack n’ slash platformer where players follow the typical recipe of go from start to finish of each level by killing enemies in your path, reach the level boss and then move on to the next level. Like a lot of games in the same genre, you can defend yourself with a normal and strong attack. Combining the two will allow you to create some devastating combos. The strong attack can also be charged. You can also block and dodge, but the block feature is unfortunately, a parry mechanism which requires perfect timing with enemy attacks.

As you kill enemies, you’re rewarded with in-game currency that allows you to upgrade your character; whether it be increased health, Burst meter, Meter Speed, etc.. While the shop is more often than not accessible in between levels, it’ll sometimes drop mid-level allowing you to upgrade mid-level or purchase of refill item which refills your health and throwable items. The Burst attack allows you to send a small shockwave around your body pushing away nearby evildoers.

The game does look great; it offers a 16-bit Super NES like aesthetic that’s suprisingly colorful despite the drab and darker undertone of the premise and areas you’ll be navigating through. Shou is a bright red design which allows him to stand out from the environment and enemies; especially when 10+ enemies are ganging up on you. Some of the cutscenes are also told via comic book cutout and characters have a Castlevania flair to it, which is quite contradictory to the more futuristic style. The soundtrack is a generic forgettable score that mixes rock and electronic tunes. Voiceover work is well done overall; there’s no instance of over-acting or emotionless reading.

While the game does offer, overall, a fair challenge, some sequences will have you pulling your hair out. There’s some combat sequences where you can be easily overrun by 15+ enemies at one time, once they hit you, it’s over. Not only you’re stunned for about a second if you don’t fall down, but they can launch an infinite juggle combo where all you can do is watch your health bar drain. And even when your down, if you get up when an enemy is launching an attack, you’re screwed. While you can nip up quickly by pressing the jump button with perfect timing, this won’t help you.

Controls do feel a bit stiff as well, especially the jumping which is another nuisance in and of itself. Some levels require a bit of platforming to progress; but the jumping doesn’t feel 100% responsive and you can’t move mid-air unless you wall or double jump. If you want to jump over an obstacle, you need to press the direction first and then jump; you can’t do like Super Mario Bros. games where you can jump and then control your landing. Additionally, annoyingly enough, bosses have a shield that you need to break through in order to cause actual damage, but it can difficult at times to determine whether on not you’re attacking them. This game is also not Quick Resume friendly.

Slave Zero X is a unique beast. Levels feel like a fair, reasonable 2D action game whereas boss fights feel Soulsborne-ish as the game that will punish you for the simplest of mistake. Lots of combat sequences could’ve benefited from this being a 3D game à la Ninja Gaiden Black, giving players more movement freedom as opposed to the amount of cheapness, cheap attacks/combos from enemies when outnumbered or irritating boss battles. When the game is fair, it’s fast paced, combo-rrific action game, but when you get stunned and combo’ed while being powerless, it just feels cheap. Fun action game that requires a bit of practice.

  • 70%
    CX Score - 70%



  • Fun, simplistic combat
  • Unique visual aesthetic


  • incredibly cheap enemies
  • Doesn’t seemingly support Quick Resume
  • Stiff character movement/platforming
  • Could’ve benefited from being 3D instead of 2D

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