30XX, developed and published by Batterystaple Games, is an indie action platformer that pays homage to the iconic Mega Man X series from the 90s. Serving as a sequel to 20XX, this roguelite game offers a unique experience with procedurally generated levels, two distinct characters, and a mix of classic gameplay elements with modern twists.
30XX invites players to choose between two characters: Nina and Ace. Nina wields a versatile blaster and can augment her arsenal with the powers of defeated enemies, while Ace relies on his laser sword, boasting wide swings and efficient energy regeneration. The story is simple yet effective: Nina and Ace must protect Earth from rampaging robots.
The game features randomly generated levels, offering fresh challenges with each playthrough. In regular mode, you have one life to complete the entire game, with the opportunity to purchase upgrades and gadgets after each death, enhancing your chances in subsequent runs, but starting over with a freshly randomised set of levels. Alternatively, Mega mode mirrors classic Mega Man gameplay, allowing retries until mastery of each level is achieved.
Next up, 30XX boasts a Community mode, enabling players to design and share their own stages and challenges, adding a layer of creativity to the experience. You can also opt to play community-designed levels rather than the randomly generated ones.
With a wide array of randomised power-ups that change-up every playthrough, the game is extremely replayable. These enhancements, acquired as players progress through the game, encompass improved weapons, unique abilities, and passive upgrades. Some upgrades stay with you for the current run, while others give you permanent ones that help you get further in every subsequent run.
Boss battles are very rewarding, demanding skill, precision, and pattern recognition. Using the weapons you’ve collected while dodging and weaving through the attack patterns to take down a boss is incredibly intense and satisfying.
Visually, 30XX sports a clean and colourful art style, distinct from the classic Mega Man X games that it clearly draws inspiration from. The music is catchy and fast-paced, helping to keep the player motivated as they dash through levels.
While not experienced, the game offers a co-op mode, allowing you and a friend to tackle the world of 30XX together. This feature, available both online and locally on the same screen, which is a rare and welcome feature in today’s gaming landscape.
Power-Ups and Boss Fights:
30XX offers a plethora of power-ups, ensuring that every run feels unique and exciting. Boss fights are challenging but rewarding, as mastering their patterns and weaving through the enemy attacks is incredibly satisfying.
Controls and Accessibility:
One of 30XX’s standout features is its snappy and responsive controls. Dashing, jumping, and wall-climbing are intuitive, with a helpful tutorial zone for newcomers. Additionally, the game provides flexibility by allowing players to adjust gamepad input icons to match various brands of controllers, accommodating nearly any preference if you don’t use an XBox-style pad.
- Fantastic controls. They are highly responsive and intuitive.
- Detailed and colourful sprite work and backgrounds.
- The ability to play with a local friend is a notable and appreciated feature.
- Some minor jank and weird design decisions can detract from the experience.
- The randomly generated levels result in less focus on design and flow.
- The ‘voice’ sound effects may be grating to some players.
30XX successfully captures the spirit of the classic Mega Man X series while introducing modern gameplay elements and features. Its responsive controls, colourful visuals, and the rare inclusion of local co-op make it an excellent choice for fans of run-and-gun action, especially those with fond memories of the classic Mega Man titles from the SNES and PSX era. While it has a few minor shortcomings, this game delivers an engaging and nostalgic gaming experience.
Final Score: 8½ out of 10
Disclaimer: A review copy was supplied