Mega Man fans have been craving jump-and-shoot action in what has been a long drought for the series. The last main title was released nearly a decade ago and the spiritual successor to the classic series, Mighty No. 9, failed to satiate players. But with the console release of 20XX, developed by Batterystaple Games and Fire Hose Games, fans can finally scratch their Mega Man itch – if only for a moment.
A tribute to Mega Man X, 20XX is a roguelike platformer that has players controlling Nina and Ace. 20XX ditches the traditional Mega Man boss selection screen, instead throwing us into a procedurally generated level with any one of eight robot renegades. Defeating a boss grants you the option of taking its power, money, or a passive upgrade followed by three random stage choices. Each boss has a weakness to another boss’s power as is tradition with Mega Man. Two more levels at the end will have you facing the robots’ creators.
20XX gets a lot right. Shooting, jumping, and dashing (and any combination of the three) produces the same satisfaction you’d experience from Mega Man X. Platforming demands the same precision and attentiveness. Even the way enemies flood the screen had me reminiscing on the SNES title. Everything about it feels like Mega Man X.
But as such it’s impossible to play for even a moment without reflecting on just how similar the gameplay is to Mega Man X’s. The result of which is that 20XX is derivative and lacks any identity. If its roguelike elements and level design weren’t so lackluster, then 20XX would have had more personality.
The same platforming sections often came up twice in a run, exclusively in the levels that shared an environment. My lasting impression was that I had played five levels twice and not ten unique levels.
The landscapes felt generic too. Gone are the ocean and mining stages that Mega Man X did so brilliantly. Instead we’re given duplicates of a fiery factory absent of any Flame Mammoth flair and a starkly generic sky tower. What’s left is a tribute that failed to recognize the level design that inspired it.