System: Nintendo Switch
Developers: Batterystable Games & Fire Hose Games
(Review code kindly provided by the developers)
The game begins with a short cinematic that highlights a future robotic uprising that requires two scientists to call upon Nina and Ace for help. Their sole goal is to destroy this mechanized menace. Both the cinematic and overall storyline is fairly basic, but that’s okay, for games like 20XX don’t require a particularly deep plot.
The game’s design is clearly Mega Man esque. The goal is to clear each stage by jumping, dashing, and blasting your way through various enemies, as well as safely avoiding and manoeuvring past various dangers which are scattered throughout each stage.
In total there are 10 stages and each stage concludes with a boss battle. As soon as the boss is defeated, the gamer is given access to a sort of mini-hub from which they can select one bonus item from a choice of 3 (including a boss power). As soon as the player is ready to continue, they can choose which area to tackle next from a selection of three stages.
What separates 20XX from other Mega Man inspired titles is its roguelike procedural level design. This means that levels are randomised on each playthrough which forces the player to become familiarized with enemy’s and obstacles rather than simply memorise each stage. This factor, as well as a high difficulty level, means that you must be prepared to die a lot.
The game’s design, however, is clever in that after each death, the player is sent back to the main hub screen (the ark) from which they can purchase both permanent and temporal upgrades by using soul chips. This means the more you play, the stronger your character becomes, and your progress will start to improve.
To help you along the way, there are a number of ways to obtain items that will increase your characters stats. There are green like slot machines from which you can purchase health, a place called a scrap recycler in which bolts can be spent to bolster your strength. There are also loot crates and chests spread throughout the game’s ten levels.
Speaking from personal experience, gradually improving and progressing through each stage is a rewarding experience. But if you do want to ease the difficulty somewhat, or maybe even enhance it, the game also boasts three difficulty modes.
Both normal mode and defiant mode (hard mode) challenges the player to finish the game with just one run/life. However, Reverent mode makes things a little easier by providing 3 lives to the player.
20XX’s controls are both responsive and precise. The game begins with a simple tutorial that walks you through the basics. The left thumbstick controls basic movements, whereas button B is jump, button Y is shoot/attack, the R-shoulder button controls dash, and down and B is used to drop your character from platform to platform.
Co-Op Game Play, Leaderboards and Other Modes!
20XX offers a great 2 player Co-Op experience. It supports both local and online play, and even though I haven’t had the chance to play locally, online play pre-launch worked extremely well. My wi-fi experience did suffer slightly from bandwidth issues, but in general, everything runs smoothly.
As well as online co-op, there are also a host of other online features such as numerous leaderboard challenges, and even a boss rush mode.
Graphics and Visuals
I really like the games visual presentation. It’s obvious that 20XX’s graphics were designed to resemble a certain classic franchise, and overall, I fell that the developers have done a great job. Also, the 8-bit style soundtrack is very high quality and suits the style of the game.
There’s lots that could be written about this game, but if you are a fan of the genre, it’s better to just play it. 20XX boasts solid platforming, lots of re-playability, lots of power-ups to play with, and a great co-op mode.
It’s for that reason I’m happy to give 20XX a ‘I Like it a lot’