20XX is a roguelike action platformer that you can play with a friend. Jump and shoot your way through ever-changing levels, collect awesome new powers, and battle mighty bosses in the name of saving the human race maybe!
Crisp, precise controls - do exactly what you want your character to!
Over 100 mighty powerups to collect!
Tons of different play modes and optional difficulty modifiers!
Seeded Daily and Weekly Challenges!
All gameplay features available in both single player and co-op! (online or local)
OS: Windows XP
Processor: Toaster processor or better (2009+)
Memory: 1024 MB RAM
Graphics: Any card made during or after 2009
DirectX: Version 9.0c
Storage: 1 GB available space
~ 5 hrs
August 16, 2017
When I wrote 20XX preview, I had high hopes for it. Keiji Inafune had already left Capcom and was working on Mighty No. 9, leaving a mega-gap in the libraries of platform game fans everywhere. One must pause and consider: with release of Mega Man 9 in 2008 and Mega Man 10 in 2010, there has not been a mainline Mega Man game, X series included, for an entire gaming generation. 20XX looked to fill the void, but it first hit Early Access back in 2015 only to officially go gold August 2017. By then, Mighty No. 9 had come and gone, if leaving a negative impact if any at all. In addition, just a few weeks ago, Capcom officially announced Mega Man 11. In the context this mega-saturation, one must wonder if 20XX be recognized as the modern standard for the Mega Man recipe or will it be remembered, or forgotten, like Mighty No. 9?
20XX, as tradition dictates, is as clean as one would expect of any other Mega Man/X game. That said, some may remember sections of the X games where Zero would be mortally wounded. It is possible to encounter husks of the playable characters in 20XX that might be disturbing to some.
When 20XX was still in Early Access, the video game department here at Geeks Under Grace had been well-established for over a year, but we were still coming into form. It was one of the first games that we had covered via the preview format, prompting us to decide that as long as a game remained in Early Access, we would not officially review it. Yet, here I am in 2017, having invested a few more hours into 20XX, and re-reading what I wrote two years ago. I now wonder if I made a mistake in my preview by being too thorough, or if Batterystaple Games had changed hardly anything over the years. Despite an 18-page list of patch notes on Steam, I am hard-pressed to find explicit aspects of the game that I can recognize as additions. What I have experienced thus far is polish, which is the fundamental purpose of making games available in Early Access. Still, as a writer, I struggle with not repeating what I already discussed in the preview.
For those completely unfamiliar with 20XX, its story is as inconsequential as that in a standard Mega Man game. From what I could tell, a pair scientists, who are intentionally designed to resemble Dr. Light and Dr. Wiley of Mega Man lore, are trying to develop robots strong enough to…defeat other robots. I say this because should the experimental prototypes named Nina and Ace fail, to he lament of one scientist and the pleasure of the other, they are destroyed, and the scientists resolve to begin their experimentation anew. On the other hand, after every successful mission, Dr.
Light Sharp celebrates, and Dr. Wiley Flat scowls in a dynamic of “antagonistic cooperation.” It should be noted that what I could interpret from the story, and what is found on the wiki, is inconsistent. Perhaps the developers did not desire to create a meaningful story at all, and fans took it upon themselves to piece one together?
For the youngins such as those on staff at GUG who may have never played Mega Man/X, core gameplay consists of moving from the left side of a stage to right, shooting or slashing enemies along the way, including a boss at the end of every stage who, upon defeat, bestows upon players a derivative of one of its weapons that happens to be the weakness of a future boss. With this formula, one who has memorized the weaknesses of the eight bosses in a Mega Man game may begin with a boss that they consider easy (in Mega Man X, one would choose the stage with the most accessible suit upgrade), and systematically move through the remaining seven bosses with ease.
The 20XX has hardly changed since 2015:
What does a Mega Man clone fused with roguelike elements look like? Well, it involves procedurally generated stages cycling between jungle, tundra, skyfortress, and factory scenes. The first generation is always random, but after completion, players are given the choice between three different bosses awaiting in three stages that are not always completely different themselves. There are only two constants in 20XX: if players beat a stage in a par time displayed on the [bottom left] portion of the screen, they are awarded [a bonus augmentation in addition to the choice of a boss’s weapon, ten scrap nuts (the currency of the game) or a random aug.] For beating a stage and making par time, one can count on three post-boss items.
But before given those options, players must run a gauntlet of a stage that increases in difficulty level with each subsequent boss defeat. If, for example, one encounters the skyfortress as the first stage on a run, by the time it is encountered again after defeating four bosses, the enemy density [will have] increased as well as the hazards and the damage [they] can inflict. Damage sustained is a big deal; health does not regenerate between stages, but must be found,
and it is rare. Should Nina or Ace die, the game ends, and all powers accumulated during a run are lost. However, players can then respawn and spend “soul [chips]” that have been collected in order to unlock new items that can be found in subsequent runs. This is the classic play-more-and-it-gets-better mechanic of a roguelike.
I still feel like the distinguishing characteristics between Nina and Ace are nowhere near as pronounced as X and Zero, but in the very least, Batterystaple Games has added four different types of basic attacks for each. Also changed is the frequency in which I encounter newly-unlocked augs, making for greater variance in repeat runs, and resulting in less frustration for me. I have noticed that there are four different sets of suit upgrades individually grant powers like flight, faster power shot charging, or knockback reduction; a completed set also yields a super skill such as max damage for using special (boss) weapons. Additionally, many of the randomized augs stack cumulatively in RPG-fashion. I have completed a few runs where special weapons do less damage to the appropriate boss than my regular attacks!
Even if standard runs become routine, one can increase the difficulty by adding “skulls” that do things such as disable aug drops or increase enemy health and/or damage. This is for the kind of player who can speedrun through a Mega Man game—or in this case, normal mode 20XX—with ease. Players can also take on daily and/or weekly challenges to test their might on the leaderboards, but that, like the co-op option, never interested me. I play the challenges because the seeds are uniform, meaning that augs that I have yet to unlock have a chance to appear, providing for me a preview of things to come if I press on through the monotony of playing through the same-ish stages over and over. Actually, I would not mind playing through the game if the pacing of skyfortress could be improved. Falling on spikes or into a bottomless pit does not result in instant death like in Mega Man/X games, but waiting on laser obstacles and slow-moving platforms is as boring as platforming can be.
20XX looks like Mega Man X, and also impressively feels like Mega Man X, but does not quite capture the soul of Mega Man X. Yet that is how one might imagine a genetically-engineered, or in this case, coded, facsimile. 20XX gets everything right that one might expect from a Mega Man/X clone, including the chiptune music, fantastically animated foes, and vivacious coloring, but still lacks the kind of je ne sais quoi that would propel it beyond mere veneration.
+ Co-op option
+ Scaling difficulty
+ Placebo Mega Man
+ Strong upgrades and augmentations
- Few stages
- Skyfortress ruins pacing
- Not enough variance between Nina and Ace
- Beginning a new "naked" run after being uber-powerful just plain sucks