Slave Zero X Review | Strikingly Slick and Stylish

Value for Money
$ 25
Clear Time:
9 Hours
Slave Zero X is a sleeper hit game you don’t want to miss out on. It oozes style and charisma with its gorgeous neo-cyberpunk sprite aesthetic, killer music, and explosively addicting hack-and-slash action. While it lacks depth in its story, the gameplay is refined perfectly and truly makes you feel like a futuristic Ronin. Trust me, the game is as cool as it sounds and looks.

Slave Zero X is a 2.5D spectacle fighter action game developed by Poppy Works. The game is a spiritual prequel to the original 1999 game. Read our review to see what it did well, what it didn’t, and if it’s worth your money.

Slave Zero X Review Overview

Slave Zero X Pros & Cons

Pros Cons
Checkmark Stylish and Rewarding Hack and Slash
Checkmark Oozing with Retro Swag
Checkmark Boss Fights are Fun and Challenging
Checkmark Platformer Sections Suck
Checkmark Lackluster Story

Slave Zero X Overall Score - 84/100

Slave Zero X is a sleeper hit game you don’t want to miss out on. It oozes style and charisma with its gorgeous neo-cyberpunk sprite aesthetic, killer music, and explosively addicting hack-and-slash action. While it lacks depth in its story, the combat is truly refined and truly makes you feel like a futuristic Ronin. Trust me, the game is as cool as it sounds and looks.

Slave Zero X Story - 6/10

The game's storyline is undeniably its weakest link, a letdown given the captivating concept of a biopunk world where players embody futuristic alien-like samurai battling against a tyrant. Cool on paper, however, the execution falls flat; the writing lacks depth, and the characters fail to engage in any capacity.
Credit to the game for its skillful portrayal of the dystopian setting, a definite highlight. Ultimately, while the game excels in style, it lacks narrative substance, a disappointment considering the untapped lore potential of Slave Zero’s world.

Slave Zero X Gameplay - 10/10

While the game may fall short in storytelling, it more than compensates with its gameplay. It offers a hack-and-slash spectacle reminiscent of classic side-scrolling arcade games, with an added twist of fighting game mechanics. The variety of combos available is astounding, each one visually stunning and satisfying to execute. Whether facing hordes of enemies or engaging in intense one-on-one battles, the game strikes a perfect balance between accessibility and challenge. Easy to pick up but difficult to truly master, the gameplay makes you feel like a godly samurai.

Slave Zero X Visuals - 9/10

This game is a visual feast, seamlessly blending the charm of 2D sprite art with cutting-edge modern lighting effects and stylized 3D environments. The result is a stunning world where even the grittiest streets of Megacity are transformed into visually striking set pieces. It's like experiencing Cyberpunk in pixelated form.

Slave Zero X Audio - 9/10

The audio plays a crucial role in enhancing the atmosphere and environment of the game. The music, reminiscent of 80s and 90s futuristic films like Blade Runner, effectively sets the tone, transporting players into a cyberpunk world. The voice acting and sound effects further contribute to this immersive experience, with a grainy filter adding to the overall vibe and authenticity they were going for.

Slave Zero X Value for Money - 8/10

Slave Zero X is definitely a must-buy. With enough replay value and opportunities for gameplay mastery, you can easily spend hours immersed in the game. While the campaign may not be overly lengthy, the real challenge begins with the unlockable Crimson Citadel. This mode offers a fantastic procedural challenge tower experience where you compete with others to get the highest score in an online leaderboard.

Slave Zero X Review: Strikingly Slick and Stylish


If I were, to sum up this game, picture Yoshimitsu from the Tekken series starring in his own retro beat-em-up side-scroller. That's the vibe you're in for. It's dripping with style in every aspect. Just take a look at the visuals – the retro neo-cyberpunk aesthetic is simply stunning. Metrocity, the dystopian setting, bursts with personality, from its gritty streets to its meticulously crafted backgrounds with vibrant coloring and superb lighting.

It feels like a truly lived-in world, a glimpse into a dystopian future that could be just around the corner. And it's not just the environments that look cool; the characters are equally awesome.

The protagonist alone resembles a futuristic alien warrior, blending elements of a Ronin and a devilish creature, perfectly complementing the game's cyberpunk vibe.

It's literally like playing those 90s arcade beat 'em up, but with enhanced lighting, coloring, shading, and animation that take it to the next level.


Beyond the stunning visuals, the game's atmosphere is equally pivotal to its success. And let me tell you, the music sets the perfect mood, capturing the gritty essence of the city's nightlife. With its blend of Drum'n'Bass and funky industrial beats, each section becomes even more exhilarating to navigate.

The 90s-inspired soundtrack avoids becoming repetitive or grating because it offers a fresh, modern twist on the nostalgic beats and tunes we come to know and I can’t wait for it to release on Spotify.

The real essence of coolness and style lies in its combat system. At first glance, it may seem like your typical hack-and-slash beat-'em-up, where you can mindlessly spam buttons to defeat enemies. While this may work in some cases, the game actually plays more like a fighting game.

It offers a plethora of combos that are essential for progressing through the game. This approach adds a level of balance that many side-scrollers could benefit from. I've lost count of how many times I've met my demise by mindlessly mashing buttons.

Precision, control, and positioning are crucial here, and mastering them is incredibly satisfying.


Despite its coolness, this game has its less-than-cool moments. Platforming can be a real challenge, thanks to clunky jumping mechanics that frequently lead to frustration. I've lost count of the times I've fallen or gotten stuck trying to reach higher levels.

The biggest disappointment in this game lies in its story. Despite being a prequel that doesn't require knowledge of the first game, I often found myself confused about what was even going on. Characters are forgettable and one-dimensional, and the storyline failed to engage me in its otherwise intriguing dystopian world.

It feels like the game just introduces characters haphazardly, without giving them room to properly develop. As a result, the narrative becomes a confusing mess, not due to complexity, but due to the lack of adequate explanation.

Fortunately, these criticisms don't significantly detract from the overall experience. It remains an enjoyable and addicting game until the end and is deserving of its own spotlight, especially considering the fierce competition it faces from major titles this month alone.

Pros of Slave Zero X

Things Slave Zero X Got Right
Checkmark Stylish and Rewarding Hack and Slash
Checkmark Oozing with Retro Swag
Checkmark Boss Fights are Fun and Challenging

Stylish and Rewarding Hack and Slash

Take a look at the gameplay above, and you'll understand what I mean when I say the combat is brimming with style and swag. Each animation possesses its own unique visual flair, from the swift light attacks to the powerful heavy strikes. The animations are fast and detailed, ensuring that battling waves of enemies never becomes dull.

While button-mashing may suffice in some situations, mastering the art of swordplay is crucial. You're equipped with a plethora of tools and techniques to aid you on your journey. Despite the initial overwhelm of having all these tools at your disposal, don't fear making mistakes. Through trial and error, you'll gradually learn enemy patterns and movements, improving your combat prowess.

For instance, when facing hordes of enemies, I recommend positioning yourself facing them and unleashing a heavy attack while moving to send them airborne, setting up opportunities for devastating knock-up combos. Swordplay in this game is intricate and multifaceted, so much so that there's even a training room akin to those found in fighting games. Here, you can hone your combos and techniques, such as wave-dashing and canceling.

This game isn't just a mindless beat-'em-up; it's incredibly rewarding when you execute combos flawlessly. There are key moves that can only be performed if mastered.


For example, the only way to heal during battle is by using your fatal pulse technique, which grants you increased attack speed and heals you upon completion. However, you can only charge this move by using your blast move on an enemy.

The depth of the game's combat is truly remarkable, to the point where it could easily stand toe-to-toe with full-fledged fighting games if it were to incorporate more combos. In fact, I'm hopeful that this game will become a staple in both the gaming competitive scene and the speedrunning community. It's not just amazing to play; it's equally thrilling to watch.

Oozing with Retro Swag


This game exudes style in every pixel. Despite its violent and gritty nature, I couldn't tear my eyes away from its beauty. The retro sprite aesthetic is flawlessly executed, ironically infusing each corner of the city with so much life. Whether you're navigating through the homeless district or atop a speeding bullet train, every section feels uniquely captivating. Coupled with the fantastic music that enhances the atmosphere, the visuals alone make it worth picking up.

Boss Fights are Fun and Challenging


While the boss fights don't quite reach the level of frustration found in Dark Souls, they still pack a punch. Expect to face a tough challenge, even with mini-bosses. Spamming your way to victory isn't an option here; you'll need to master some combos to succeed. It truly puts your skills and patience to the test and is a rush to play. Rushing headfirst will only lead to punishment, but careful planning and learning from your mistakes will reap truly rewarding victories in the face of these challenges.

Cons of Slave Zero X

Things That Slave Zero X Can Improve
Checkmark Platforming Sucks
Checkmark Lackluster Story

Platforming Sucks


Fortunately, platforming isn't a constant occurrence, but when it does appear, it can be incredibly frustrating. Attempting to jump from one platform to a higher one often results in annoyance, as the higher platform seems to consistently block your ascent, leading to frequent falls. The mechanics feel clunky and navigating higher ground by jumping side to side is particularly challenging for no reason. I highly recommend keeping the running trigger held down at all times during gameplay, as it significantly improves platforming and aids slightly in combat. However, even with that, dealing with jumping to another platform remains an irritating aspect of the game.

Lackluster Story


I'm thoroughly disappointed with the storyline. With the writer's background in RWBY, I had high hopes, but alas, the game failed to captivate me. As someone unfamiliar with the Slave Zero X universe, I was eager to delve into its interesting concept and world. The cyberpunk setting holds immense so much fascination for me because it offers a glimpse into a potential near future with its futuristic twists on modern technology.

Regrettably, the game barely scratches the surface of this potential. I would have forgiven this if the characters had been compelling, but sadly, they fall flat. Despite stunning artwork, such as the cool designs of the main character Shou, and his symbiotic armor X, don’t have any chemistry with each other.

The concept of talking armor, known as Slaves, holds promise but remains unexplored. This oversight is disappointing, as it could have added depth to the narrative. Moreover, the dialogue often occurs during gameplay, disrupting the flow and just being distracting instead of interesting

Essentially, the story follows Shou, a member of a secret group aiming to overthrow a tyrant government by stealing a prototype slave armor. This premise holds potential, but the execution leaves much to be desired.

Is Slave Zero X Worth It?

A Must Buy


While the platforming and story might not be perfect, they're far from deal-breakers. This game is just too addictive to pass up. At $25, it's a steal, offering hours of enjoyment as you hone your combo skills in the training room and unleash them in the levels. Plus, who wouldn't want to be an alien devil ronin? I'm itching to dive back into its Crimson Citadel mode and climb the leaderboard. If you’re also a fan of Devil May Cry or Guilty Gear, then don’t pass this game up.

Digital Storefronts
Steam IconSteam GoG IconGoG Playstation IconPlaystation Xbox IconXbox
Price $24.99

Slave Zero X Overview & Premise


Set in the year 2495, Slave Zero X takes place in the dystopian biopunk universe of the 1999 game Slave Zero. Megacity S1-9 is ruthlessly ruled over by the Sovereign Khan. Shou, our warrior protagonist, seeks vengeance and has taken it upon himself to murder Khan.

Slaves are living machines that combine technology and biomass, aiming to become the latest superpowers to incite fear into Megacity S1-9’s enemies. Shou is a member of the secret resistance, The Guardians, who seek to stop these Slaves from being unleashed. However, Shou hatches a plan for his revenge: steal a Slave prototype, merge with it, and become "a furious Devil in pursuit of killing a false God."

Slave Zero X FAQ

Who are the voice actors in this game?

 ● Shou - Griffin Burns.
 ● Atavaka - Jordan Reynolds
 ● Enyo - Mara Junot
 ● Ayesha - Anjali Kunapaneni.
 ● General Thorman - SungWon Cho (PROZD)
 ● Kurikara - Ian Russell
 ● Regent(Male) - Michael Schwalbe
 ● Regent(Female) - Shelby Young

Slave Zero X Product Information

Slave Zero X Banner
Release Date February 21, 2024
Developer Poppy Works
Publisher Ziggurat
Supported Platforms PC(Steam, GoG), PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch (Still Unavailable)
Genre Action, Hack and Slash, Beat ‘em Up
Number of Players 1
Rating ESRB M 17+
Official Website Slave Zero X Official Website


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