Updated: Jul 26
Boy do I love myself a platformer and 20XX doesn’t disappoint in that area. It feels sure footed with each of the characters and upgrades adding variation, keeping the game fresh. However, the rogue lite aspects can be incredibly frustrating. 20XX has a wonderful aesthetic and reminds me of Mega Man, for good and bad.
Jumping into the “story” you play as Nina, with a blaster arm, or Ace with a laser sword fighting your way through the remnants of a robot uprising. That is about all the story you will get and really do you need more? The important part is how a platformer plays and whether or not the power-ups are fun and useful, right?
The platforming aspect is great. The jumping and movements are pretty darn precise. If you are dying a lot well then, Git Gud. Seriously though, you will die A LOT, especially before you start getting the power-ups. There are bad guys everywhere hell bent on murdering you. The game doesn’t cheat you though, you can reasonably make it through on the first run if you are insanely good (I am not). It’s intense and it is frustrating when you keep dying, failing to progress.
This is where the rogue-lite aspects become a fault. When you die it’s back to the beginning and anything you picked up on the way is gone. Oh, you finally got an awesome gun that does good damage, well too bad cause it’s ripped from your cold dead hands. The only way to combat this is by finding chips, the in-game currency. These too disappear when you restart a level but you get to spend them on stuff before restarting the next game. I suggest buying as many permanent upgrades, unless you can’t afford any more then go for the ones that only work on the next run. Each upgrade will make getting through the levels a little easier. Some offer passive abilities and others you have to assign to buttons. The power-ups attached to buttons waste energy every time you use them, so find a good balance and don’t waste them. You can find more energy around or purchase more with bolts collected from enemies and chests around the level.
There are little off shoots around the levels that can get you extras and a cool addition is the timed bonus rooms. You have to gamble on whether trying to beat the room is worth the risk of death. The rooms feature waves of enemies that you must defeat in an allotted time. If you win though it can be well worth it; rewards can include the all-important chips.
Once you get to the end of a level there is, of course, a boss battle. Each of them is different and you must find the pattern or weakness of each before you can defeat them. This is where, in a lot of cases, it becomes a bullet hell. So many projectiles are flying around that it can be damn near impossible to track an open space to move in. It’s intense and more than once I suffered acute frustration.
In closing, I think 20XX is the perfect game for anyone who is looking for a Mega Man feel. I promise that 20XX is not garbage like the awful Mighty No.9, you can and will find enjoyment in it. For those that are more casually into this genre, you’re going to throw a controller. I am a pretty hardcore platformer fan and even I got frustrated enough to put the controller down a handful of times. Overall though it deserves high marks for it’s wonderful graphics, sound and level design, controls, power-ups, and precision.