As many of us gamers know, the Mega Man franchise has had its fair share of hits and misses over the years, with much of its popularity waning due to a lack of new software to enjoy. The platformer genre sincerely misses the Blue Bomber because of all the amazing fun and depth each title provided, with speedrunners now even showcasing their skills in completing the classics. Well, a newcomer has now joined the scene, taking inspiration from the classic franchise and throwing in a little more difficulty with its roguelike appeal. We’re talking about 20XX, an indie title that feels like Mega Man, plays like Mega Man, and even looks like Mega Man but with its own unique twist that will certainly give fans a run for their money. At first glance, many will want to point the finger and claim that it’s a clone, but once you do dive into the game and experience it hands on you’ll certainly come to notice a few differences. Anyone who craves a taste for challenge will definitely enjoy 20XX and its roguelike gameplay, encouraging players to really pay close attention to their actions, as one mistake can lead to death and you starting all over again.
What to Expect
Expect there to be a lot of dying in the first few attempts as 20XX is no slouch when it comes to testing your patience. Enemies will pop up and try to knock you off the platform to your death and so your reflexes must be on point in order to avoid peril, but also you’ll need the right timing in order to successfully reach the endpoint without falling. It’s all an enjoyable experience as you encounter new enemies along the way, and due to its roguelike centered gameplay, every attempt you do will feel totally new. What we mean by that is every time you die and start again the stages are all randomly generated meaning that you’ll never experience the same thing twice. This means that your strategy must always be fresh because no path is ever truly the right path, and so strong decision making is imperative along with situational awareness to survive. Boss battles can be intense, especially on the harder difficulties, and so you’ll need to ensure that you level up your items as frequently as possible. You can choose between two characters in the beginning, along with two other characters being available through DLC and a free update so you’ll have a lot to choose from! Just how you’ll overcome each obstacle that stands in your way will be left entirely up to you but one thing is for certain, 20XX is a title that will take your skills to the next level.
20XX takes inspiration from the classic Mega Man X and so on a visual level it encompasses a very retro-like feel. Due to its 2D nature, the game looks stunning while playing in smooth 60fps, with special effects really popping out especially during boss battles. It’s nothing too over the top, but it certainly gives 20XX a nice added modern touch to compliment that throwback aesthetic. Character animations are well done even going as far as adding subtle facial expressions when going for an attack are certainly a plus. The boss designs are really unique along with the enemies you encounter, all of whom have their own distinctive animations as well. Nothing ever really looked stiff or out of place and certainly that contributed to a smooth gameplay experience.
Anyone out there who craves the nostalgic feeling of hearing that chiptune soundtrack will certainly fall in love with 20XX. As you race through every level taking down every enemy and successfully overcoming every obstacle, the soundtrack just continues to race through your mind and really generates a thrilling experience. It combines old and new very felicitously and doesn’t ever feel contrived in any way, which is a major plus. Often times the modern retro inspired titles try to incorporate way too much sounds, which tend to conflict with each other, but with 20XX, everything just falls into place. It’s by no means a perfect delivery but it certainly provides you with enough of a nostalgic burst of energy to keep you immersed for hours.
Moving onto the gameplay, 20XX feels much like Mega Man in every way with the addition of course of the roguelike feature. That new element is what truly brings 20XX to life because now, instead of just racing through each stage with a familiar pattern or technique in mind, you now must tackle every stage with an astute way of thinking otherwise you’ll crash and burn quite often. Now, of course, a roguelike centered title wouldn’t be roguelike without all the deaths but you can certainly avoid pulling your hair out by being more calculated in your approach. One good example is taking advantage of all the items that are bestowed to you throughout the game, making good use of your soul chips. Even if you die, your soul chips will remain which will allow you to re-up on a couple items and power ups, and try again. We mentioned that there are an adequate amount of characters to choose from, all of whom come with their own unique set of attacks for battle. Who you decide to use along your journey is of course up to you, but we found Ace to be an extremely powerful character since his sword has great range, so therefore you can properly space your attacks to avoid taking unnecessary damage. His flaw, of course, is that he needs to be relatively close to the enemy at times to really dish out massive damage whereas other characters can just pew pew their way through without much hassle.
So knowing your own playstyle will most certainly help you down the road. 20XX can be played either in solo or with co-op either locally or online which is a huge plus, making some of the more arduous boss battles a little easier especially in the harder difficulties. Another plus about 20XX is that you have multiple difficulty settings to choose from so perhaps if you’re new to the action platformer genre, you can take the easy route and learn the ropes. For the more hardcore and dedicated players, you have the more demanding difficulty that will definitely put you to the test as enemies are less forgiving, and bosses really don’t fool around. Your skills will surely be tested and your understanding of fundamentals will need to be on point, otherwise it’s lights out. In game you’ll come across save points that allow you to either save or not save, with there being no option to save & continue. We found that a bit strange that you can save & quit but not save & continue, which led us to always have to go back to the main screen and jump back into the game to continue playing. It felt a bit cumbersome the first few times but we eventually just got used to it and kept going, though there was a time where the game actually froze and that kind of irritated us. We don’t know if that was a bug but it certainly docked points off because it shouldn’t really randomly freeze like that.
Honey's Gameplay Consensus:
Other than the aforementioned freeze that occured during our save point, the game overall felt really great to us. Time just seemed to zoom by as we continued to discovers new ways to beat bosses, tackle tricky platforms in a skillful manner, and collect as many glory items as possible to better assist us along our journey. Is 20XX worth the nostalgia? Definitely, since it does offer a fresh new take on the platformer genre with the addition of its roguelike gameplay to really spice things up. Had the roguelike feature not been implemented the game would’ve honestly felt stale but we’re glad it was a part of the package, along with all the DLC characters and online play.
Nostalgia all day baby! Mega Man inspired is a plus in our books.
Controls were easy to understand and visually sharp as well.
Online co-op is always a plus.
Music is too good!
Fixing the save & quit feature would certainly help.
Honey's Final Verdict:
We hope you found our review to be an insightful one! Be sure to check out our library of other reviews we’ve completed and as always let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Be sure to also follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on all the latest gaming news from around the world, and course anime too! Follow us on Twitch to know when we go live with all of the games we’ve reviewed for you!
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Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.
A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and watch me play on twitch.tv/honeysgaming ! Take care!