Taking classic gaming formulas and adapting them to modern indie roguelikes seems to be a growing trend. So, does Mega Man X work well as a roguelike? 20XX is here to answer that question.
Having recently reviewed A Robot Named Fight which is a roguelike take on Super Metroid, I was interested to see how 20XX adapted Mega Man X gameplay to the genre. For starters, I must say that the gameplay definitely feels authentic when you compare it to the Mega Man X series (something that I wish I could have said about A Robot Named Fight and Super Metroid). You play as either Nina or Ace and they control like X and Zero (respectively). Therefore, if you prefer a more intimate melee approach then Ace would be the way to go but if you want to shoot your foes from a distance then Nina will do the trick. For the record, I found playing as Ace to make the campaign much easier. Anyway, the controls are tight and experimenting with different weapons so you can find which ones work best for you is great fun.
When it comes to presentation, 20XX is certainly capable. Its visuals are cartoonish and the characters are fluidly animated while the music definitely sounds inspired by the Mega Man X series. However, neither the graphics nor sound quite reach the high notes of the franchise that it's clearly inspired by. You won't come across any particularly catchy tunes and the environments aren't as comprehensive and memorable as the ones in Capcom's games yet you'll still enjoy your time within the futuristic world of 20XX. In other words, it doesn't look or sound bad at all yet it feels off-brand enough to make long-time X fans want to play the classics.
As you play 20XX, you'll discover tons of temporary power-ups and weapons as well as currency that you can use in the hub area between stages in order to unlock permanent upgrades and items that will spawn from then on. As a result, you may lose all of your temporary power-ups whenever you fail a run but there are plenty of unlockables that'll make you feel like you didn't completely waste your time. Being able to start a run with valuable chests or more health is a very cool bonus. Back to temporary power-ups; after defeating each boss, you can choose to either collect their weapon, a random power-up, or some cash. It's decisions like this and the fact that you can choose the next stage from a selection of 3 that make each run different enough to the last one.
That being said, you'll start to encounter very familiar scenarios after only playing a few attempts. Of course, the bosses are always the same and even though the stages are procedurally generated, there are many segments that are merely copied and pasted so it all becomes repetitive much sooner than you'd hope. The campaign basically has you work through 8 stages then there's a final stretch so either way you look at it, it's not a very large or varied game. On top of this, some platforming segments can be downright infuriating. As if hopping between moving platforms with lasers moving all around wasn't hard enough, try doing that with enemies flying around that keep shooting at you. My final complaint is that 20XX feels a bit too similar to Mega Man X and I wish that the developers took a few more liberties with the tried and true formula in order to craft core gameplay that's at least a little more distinct.
20XX is a capable roguelike version of Mega Man X. If you're a fan of 2D action games then it's definitely worth checking out as long as you don't expect it to be a revolutionary take on either genre.
- + Fantastic yet familiar Mega Man X gameplay with tight controls
- + Well-done graphics and sound
- + Rewarding permanent unlockables
- - Stage segments and bosses get repetitive after only a few runs
- - Borrows too heavily from Mega Man X
- - Some frustrating platforming segments