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PAX East 2018: Hands on with 20XX

Hands on with 20XX, a roguelike Mega Man X-esque indie with tighter controls and couch co-op

Upon first look it’s obvious that the Blue Bomber is the inspiration behind 20XX, a roguelike platformer published by Batterystaple Games. With controller in hand, it became clear very quickly that the inspiration is a very thin layer on a much deeper game.

In 20XX you play as Nina, a Mega Man inspired blaster type or Ace, a Zero inspired sword type. Chris King, the developer, felt that Capcom wasn’t making enough Mega Man (agreed!), and so took matters into his own hands, with some very key twists.

First off, this is a roguelike, so every level will reset and redesign itself upon death. Thinking back to how much muscle memory I relied on to get past every Mega Man game, this adds quite a bit of difficult and replay-ability. Second, it’s got online and couch co-op, so you can complete levels with a partner, all the way up to the various boss robots.

I played solo for about 20 minutes, and went with Ace, to try out life as a sword swinging robot. The graphics were very crisp, the controls much more detailed and responsive than the average Mega Man outing, and the various environmental hazards made for a much more platformy game than expected. I’m not sure what the difficulty options are, but I breezed through the first Penguin boss I fought, leading me to wonder if I can increase that for additional challenges.

There’s also some flexibility in the weapons systems, as you can only hold three at a time. This means you’ll find yourself choosing to trade in an existing weapon for a new one after a boss battle, or taking the new option and turning it into parts for crafting.

This will certainly scratch the itch that Mighty No. 9 seemingly missed on, and the co-op means I’ll be recruiting, and then rescuing my sons when we play together.

20XX is currently available on Steam, with rumors of console release dates sometime in 2018.



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