Game of the Week: 20XX
Every week the Out of Games staff gets together to choose a game; a game to recommend to you, in case you might be out of games to play! From gameplay showcases, story outlines and stores that sell it, we’ve got you covered.
Taking a trip down memory lane, you may remember the first six Megaman X titles (X1, X2…) as great action-packed 2D platformers with lots of awesome boss fights and satisfying powers. Everyone’s got their favorite installment (X5 is the best and you can’t change my mind) and, were it easy to play (or even find them) these days, we’d probably write an article about them too. Alas, a weird port of them does exist on Steam but it’s riddled with problems and looks kind of weird.
Enter 20XX! 20XX is, basically, a love letter to the Megaman X games before they transitioned into 3D with X7. The game plays quite similarly to its inspirational roots, with an initial choice of either a ranged blue character or a red melee one. Powerups, boss fights, spikes, lava, well-telegraphed attacks, it’s all in there. Let’s take a closer look!
20XX plays like Megaman, but in terms of gaining power, it’s more akin to Dead Cells or Hearthstone’s Dungeon Runs. Power-ups are randomly found in chests, hidden around the map, or as rewards for killing bosses or clearing “Glory Zones” (a level-within-a-level mini-challenge). Now, I don’t want to do a disservice to the variety of things you can pick up by just calling all of them ‘powers’, so here’s a breakdown of the huge variety of ways you can customize each run:
- Powers – active abilities that can be acquired from defeating bosses.
- Augments – (mostly) passive bonuses that can be acquired from chests or shops. Most grant exclusively positive effects, but some require a trade-off (ex. more attack damage at the cost of power damage). These are the bread and butter of your build!
- Core Augments – These are essentially set items (head, chest, hands, feet). Each item grants its own power, with a set bonus for having all four pieces equipped. There are four core augment sets available, each with their own unique theme.
- Prototypes – Acquired from rare “Very Safe Labs” sub-zones, these pick-ups can grant you massive power, at the cost of massive drawbacks. A good example is the “Hysteria” prototype, which doubles the effect of all future augments you pick up, but triples your damage taken. Activate at your own risk!
20XX has procedurally-generated levels, which means the layout (and how many juicy chests, or how many sub-zones spawn) will differ every time you start a run. How many runs will you start, you ask? Well, aside from the easiest difficulty, the game has permadeath, which means once you die, your run is over!
A run consists of defeating all eight bosses, followed by a ninth level (the finale!). Your first level is randomly picked. After defeating the first level’s boss, you may pick your next level out of three choices. As the boss encounters become harder the further you go (gaining new abilities and increased health), a good strategy is to take down the bosses you struggle most against first!
Cross-run progress also enables you to start out with some passive bonuses from the get-go, so make sure to collect every bolt (that’s the currency) you can find since it could greatly enhance the start of your next run!
For those of you who become really good at the game, the highest difficulty also lets you enable some Skulls which further increase the difficulty of your run, similar to how it works in Halo.
Additionally, there’s daily and weekly challenges you can complete, where the map is the same and you’re pitted against other player’s scores.
What you’ve read so far is a good introduction to the game, but there’s lots more to discover once you go a little bit deeper. While it may miss some of the more pre-defined epic moments you can find in the Megaman Xs (like X5’s Dinorex Stage lava wall), 20XX makes up for it in the highly increased replayability it offers with its well-balanced build variety.
It may also please you to know that its sequel, 30XX, is currently available in Early Access on Steam and looks to be an improvement over its predecessor on all fronts!
If you’ve got a friend that’s itching to platform it up, 20XX also supports Steam’s ‘Remote Play Together’ feature. If you’re going to give the game a shot, let us know in the comments below!
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