2x0ng: Play This Funky Block Breaking Roguelike-like For Free


Just what the doctor ordered! TIGSource discovered that a sequel to XONG has arrived, and it’s quite brilliantly called 2x0ng (that’s pronounced “TWO-zong”), and what’s more is that it is currently in public beta for Windows and Linux (Mac version is on its way), meaning that you can have a merry march around its blocky colored worlds attempting to battle your way to the exit over and over again. It never stops. Unless you die, of course. But then you can just hit Control+R, and off you go again! Yeah, it’s one of those games with procedural generation and perma-death (which basically qualifies it as a roguelike these days) that will just keep you playing forever and ever, unless you forcibly remove yourself from the computer – my recommendation is to bring a cat with you; they’re very good at distracting with their cute ways.

So what’s the deal with this sequel – wasn’t the original game freely distributable and at anyone’s discretion to fiddle with its insides? Well, yes, it was. But that doesn’t mean the developer – David O’Toole – couldn’t find room for improvement. And that is what he’s managed to clearly do with this sequel – improve upon the original formula. The main differences lie in the more vivid presentation; it looks less like an educational tool from 1992 and more like a game from 1998 now. And if you don’t think that’s a good thing, then you know where the original lives; it’s not like that one’s been burned in a pit of fire never to be seen again, remember?! There are also a number of gameplay differences, subtle as they are.

Firstly, you now play as a character – an actual thing that seems to resemble something human – and you carry around a box with you that can be chucked around and ricocheted off of pretty much anything within reach. That includes the enemies too, so my challenge to you is to kill at least four enemies with one throw of your little square – it’s much harder than you might think. Or maybe it’s much easier than I think (the square/ball does home in on enemies a little). Whatever. The important thing to do is to chuck squares at the pursuing circles, to match colors and to stay alive. You got that?


” 2x0ng’s design is a nonlinear combination of several different late 70s/early 80s home video games, combining related aspects of each into something new.”

As you can tell from that brief description, there are plenty of small additions to how you play 2x0ng when compared to XONG. Sure, it’s still classed as a puzzle-combat game, but what you have the ability to do and how you solve the puzzles in this sequel is far more interesting. To paraphrase David, 2x0ng takes bits from Berzerk – the moving around and shooting in any direction – the ricocheting from Tron Deadly Discs, the colored brick-breaking from Breakout, and as you transfer colors from one place to another in order to complete the level, the last comparison is Revenge Of The Beefsteak Tomatoes. I find it surprising that the game is as simple as it is when you consider the different elements it consists of. But I love that it is. It really is a pick-up-and-play kind of game, especially as the controls are just move around and shoot – the computer does all the complicated maths for you.

Apparently, 2x0ng is beatable in its current state, and there is even an end movie to watch and everything! I get a little too trigger-happy to make it that far; I enjoy rounding up the enemies and taking as many of them down as I can with a single throw. However, if you focus on finding the exit portal in each level, and then break the barriers around it by matching the colors with them (you do this by throwing your square into the blocks of colors), then you can get through the levels pretty quickly. Do tell me if you make it through, won’t you? And if you need a little help with getting started, then just consult the video below.

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