2D side-scrollers are in the process of a renaissance it seems. After the poor reception for Mighty No.9 back in 2016, this year seems to be on the right track. We’ve just seen the release of the Mega Man X Legacy Collection this past Tuesday and we’ve got the newest entry in the franchise, Mega Man 11 coming out in October. Now, we’re spoiled with even more 2D goodness from indie developer Batterystaple Games entry to the genre, 20XX.
20XX (which is its own game, not a spin-off from the Mega Man series, but it may as well be because 20XX is the year from the Mega Man X games) contains all the essential vitamins that would make a great Mega Man X game. You can dash, shoot, swing a sword, gain powers from boss enemies, upgrade your character and even wall jump. 20XX even has a couple of mad scientists with wacky hair. What sets 20XX apart from its competition are the levels. Each level you blast or slice through is procedurally generated. You’re still fighting the same boss at the end, but the level will always be switched up to keep you on your toes. This makes learning enemy patterns in the levels nigh impossible. To make matters worse, when you die you have to start from the beginning of the game. There is a save option but that’s only after each level, and you have to continue from that point. It’s a shame that the levels are so well done and difficult because the bosses are pretty uninspired. None of them really posed a challenge and are pretty goofy looking. The heroes, on the other hand, look great.
You get to play as two different characters (with others available as DLC). There’s Nina (a female Mega Man) who uses an arm blaster that can be charged up, and Ace (looks like a Proto Man, acts like a Zero), a laser sword wielding robot that can charge up his attack as well for added damage. I typically played as Ace just because of how easy you can take down bosses. He feels insanely powerful, even without power-ups. Half the time I didn’t even use the boss power-ups and just attacked with my sword until the boss was dead. If you’re looking for more of a challenge in an already challenging game, definitely go with Nina.
20XX takes the armor upgrades you could unlock in Mega Man X one step further by allowing you to constantly increase your power. There are items that increase health and damage that you’ll find strewn across each level. You can visibly see the upgrades on your character, and these can even be purchased before you start a run. The only catch, is these aren’t permanent. They will stay with you throughout your run through the game, but if you die you lose them all and have to start from the beginning with nothing. There are permanent stats you can buy such as extra health and NRG (energy) but most of the items you’ll find will only help you on the current playthrough.
Rounding out the entire package are daily and weekly challenges that you can choose to go through on Hardcore difficulty (these contain level modifiers). You can even play online or couch co-op with a friend (something we definitely need to see more of in other games).
20XX is a great game and changes quite a bit of the Mega Man formula to make it its own. Fans of Mega Man and Mega Man X who are as impatient as I am with waiting until October to get their hands on the 11th game in the series will find plenty to love with 20XX right this very second. – NVJ
20XX is now available on PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Steam
PS4 review code provided by Stride PR