AK-xolotl is the perfect rogue-lite if you love bullet-hells and Tamagotchis

An axolotl with a ninja suit on
(Image credit: Playstack)

TechRadar Gaming is reporting live from Gamescom 2023 on the latest and greatest developments in gaming and hardware.

AK-xolotl is one of the newest releases TRG has been able to get our hands on at Gamescom and let me tell you, there's more than meets the eye with this roguelike. 

In AK-xolotl you play as an adult axolotl who has been robbed of their babies, but more importantly, of their food. "While we can all forgive kidnapping, food-theft is a whole different crime", lead developer Daniel Piqueras told us during our hands-on. 

Throughout the game, you'll find and use a variety of different guns in arena encounters, in which you fight a multitude of different enemies, from giant crabs to sneaky chameleons. There are also innocent little animals that, unfortunately, you must kill to provide food for both yourself and your lost babies. There's tons of treasure and lots of secrets around every corner, too.

As I began my hands-on, I was excited to hunt down all the guns and be cast head-first into the terrifyingly violent murder arenas and fight off all my enemies. I had grown up loving The Binding of Isaac, so this was just up my alley. 

Initially, I found AK-xolotl hard to handle due to a finicky aim-lock on the controller, but as soon as I switched to mouse and keyboard, I was immediately freed up and felt myself transform from a beginner with a gun to a badass killer axolotl. 

There are multiple biomes to explore, all of which are beautifully colored and visually engaging as you desperately search under every shrub and tree for your much-desired treasure. 

However, while the guns I found were awesome, they couldn't match the level of cuteness the adorable baby axolotls I found had along my journey. "This is where the second part of the game begins", Piqueras says. "Have you ever played with a Tamagotchi? Well, it's a little bit like that". 

Spread around the map, waiting to be found, are all the baby axolotls that were taken from you at the start of the game. Each one will be hidden in a different complex grove, and with one per biome, the hunt for these little guys is by no means easy. 

Once you find a baby, it transports back to your home base and places itself in one of the rooms according to its type. If you decide to go back and see them then you can pick them up and place them somewhere else and look after them in various ways, whether that be cleaning them or playing with them in Among Us-style mini-games. 

While you don't have to nurture these little guys you certainly should. By looking after them and feeding them you can watch these babies turn into teenagers and then finally fully grown axolotls. And when they do make it to adulthood, you'll be able to play as them during the main game. 

AK-xolotl is a perfect game to play if you're a fan of roguelikes thanks to its difficult dungeons and colorful style and environments. But don't take my word for it: you can play the demo now and find out for yourself. 

For more games like AK-xolotl, check out our best indie games list, and best roguelike games list too.

Elie Gould
Features Writer

Elie is a Features Writer for TechRadar Gaming, here to write about anything new or slightly weird. Before writing for TRG, Elie studied for a Masters at Cardiff University JOMEC in International Journalism and Documentaries – spending their free time filming short docs or editing the gaming section for their student publications. 

Elie’s first step into gaming was through Pokémon but they've taken the natural next step in the horror genre. Any and every game that would keep you up at night is on their list to play - despite the fact that one of Elie’s biggest fears is being chased.