This is probably one game that went under the radar last year, but it really isn’t surprising. I would say another title that went under the radar was Arms and I remember there being so much hype when it was announced alongside the Switch. I feel like if it’s not a triple A game, it’s too easy for a title release to get lost in the sea of releases, no matter how hyped its announcement may be. Remember Wolfenstein II?
If you haven’t played any Mega Man game (yes, including Mega Man X), I highly suggest you change that quickly. There’s still time before Mega Man 11 gets released. As a matter of fact, you could even start with 20XX – the near-perfect homage to Mega Man X. It has the same perma-death, upgrades and loot system that every Mega Man fan knows and loves. Sprinkled with fresh ideas like randomly generated levels and an online multiplayer co-op option, Batterystaple and Fire Hose really hit the nail on the head here. From the get-go, the title screen’s chip-tune music already started bubbling nostalgic feelings in me.
You get to choose between X’s tribute, Nina or Zero’s tribute, Ace with 3 difficulty modes that you can change before each ‘run’ (perma-death, remember? No saves to save you here). Loot consists of ‘nuts’ (which is in-game currency), health or energy refills which you’ll find aplenty in the Easy and Normal modes. At random points (during my normal-mode run) I found vending machines which took nuts in exchange of health. But it’ll always explode after 5 purchases. Nothing in life is easy. From Level 2 onwards, you can find ‘Scrap Recyclers’ which are basically upgrade (called ‘augs’) shops with a health vending machine too if you need it. I’d buy life upgrades anytime I can, honestly.
From the get-go, the game tells you to play using a controller and it took me some getting used to. I haven’t played a platformer on a controller for a while but it wasn’t too long before I was speed-running through the levels (before my eventual death at the hands of a Level 4 boss. RIP). The developers created really unique enemies and bosses, which get harder and harder as the levels go on. Another new concept the devs brought to the table: a choice. At the end of each level, after the boss fight, you have the choice of taking the boss’ ability, getting a load of nuts or getting an aug. Honestly, toughest thing ever. Even picking the next level isn’t as tough as that.
One other thing I enjoyed about this game is the humour. I’m a sucker for sarcasm and this game is full of sarcastic comments, if you haven’t realised already from the screenshots. It is great. At the end of every (failed) run, the professors press a “payment” button for your deeds. That payment is death. Perma-death!
I should warn you though, Level 3 onwards, the game gets pretty intense. Hot tip: try to go through the Rollster Beta and Twin Astrals levels as early as you possibly can. Not only do the levels get tougher as you go on, the bosses get a lot more intense too. So far, I’ve deduced the two aforementioned bosses as the most intense after Level 3. Or maybe I’m just a bit of a noob right now. I did only clock in 2 hours before writing this review. Who knows! Only way to find out is to play for yourself. Wink wink.
20XX was released 16 August 2017. It is available for purchase on Steam for RM31. The writer bought the game on her own during the Steam Winter Sale. All in-game screenshots were taken by the writer.