Being a big fan of Rocket League, I don’t mind admitting there was some confusion when I first heard about 20XX (also the name of a fairly popular Black Market Decal on Psyonix’s Supersonic acrobatic rocket-powered battle car title.
While the game 20XX might also be an indie smash in the making, its much more along the lines of an acrobatic rocket man, and woman.
Meet Nina, and Ace, first impressions might lead you to think there’s some similarities to Mega Man, and you won’t be far wrong, but 20XX takes inspiration from Megaman and adds a large slice of rogue-like, with perma-death’s and bite-sized levels that keep you coming back for more.
My first attempt was pretty lousy, it’s probably been a few weeks since I played anything even remotely similar, but after a pretty quick death, I soon go to grips with controls, A will make you jump, with long presses giving you a higher/further jump, you can also hit the right trigger as you jump to do a rocket-jump which covers a large distance but will require judgment if there’s only a small area to land.
The X button uses your characters weapon which is a blaster for Nina and an energy sword for Ace.
The change in primary weapon between the two characters offers more than enough reason to give them both a try, while I prefered the melee of Ace, I’m sure many would stick with Nina for the more ranged firepower.
While playing, you’ll leap from platform to platform, dispatching enemies and working to the end of the level, you’ll come across a wide variety of colour and well distinguished enemies as well as crates which will sometimes drop health, energy, bolts or sometimes soul chips.
health and energy are self-explanatory and you’ll want to keep these topped up, die and it’s game over (unless you opt for easy mode (and 3 lives), and being rewarded with the option of taking a bosses special move when you defeat them you’ll need energy to keep firing out these powerful attacks.
In-game currency (don’t worry there’s no micro transactions) are split between bolts and soul chips, the bolts can be used between levels to purchase upgrades to health, speed and other areas, while soul-chips are the only thing maintained when you die, back at the Ark (starting room) you’ll be able to purchase preeminent or “next-try -only” power-ups which will eventually improve your chances of doing well and clearing more than a few levels.
It took me about half an hour before I was working my way through 3-4 levels before dying and I’m pleased ot say I’ve really enjoyed it since, getting to grips with your chosen character, learning about enemy movement and mastering the platform sections (especially jumping off the side of a small platform) all becomes easier the more you play, and the ongoing rogue-like structure means even though I died, I started my next game with a permanent boost to health and energy.
Each level is randomly selected from a variety of “chunks” so you will replay a few over the days, but you’ll have great fun in doing so, learning bosses and having a choice of three before you progress to the next chunk only further increases the replay value and the tactical decisions you make on power-ups will keep you coming back for more,
Most impressively, the game feels great to play, it’s fluid enough to be fast for speed-runners and there’s even an option in the menu to display your run-time.
Is it as good as MegaMan, well, not quite… but that’s if you look at the franchise as a whole, it’s been quite a while since MegaMan was at it’s best, so it’s fair to say that 20XX is certainly up there with most of Capcom’s offerings of the blue hero.
Graphically the levels maintain the bright, colourful and detailed look that you’ll find from both main characters and enemies, with so many indie titles concentrating more on gameplay it was a lovely surprise to see how good 20XX looked, and how smoothly it all flowed in action. Music isn’t quite such a high-point with a few repetitive tunes, but it’s not bad at all and will fill your ears with a little more than the weapon and enemy effects.
It’s also worth noting there’s a variety of game modes, dynamic challenged to keep you busy with local and online co-op which is every bit as entertaining as it sounds.
Thanks to the rogue-like nature, 20XX stands alone as not only a perfect alternative for Megaman fans, but also a fantastic game in its own right. You don’t have to be a fan of Megaman to enjoy this wonderful game.