20XX Steam Early Access Review

Austin James December 21, 2015
20XX Steam Early Access Review
  • Gameplay
  • Graphics
  • Audio and Music
  • Storyline
  • Save Humanity!


Developer: Batterystaple Games
Publisher: Batterystaple Games
Platforms: Windows

Editor’s Note: This review is based on a game that is in development at the time of this writing.

Steam is in the background loading 20XX, a new Early Access game. My Mountain Dew is half full. I’m almost done reading a article on string theory and how it pertains to Silent Hills. The download complete prompt makes its presence known in the corner of my screen. That was all I remembered as I awoke from my gaming induced daze several hours later. This is what happens when your childhood is brought to PC.

20XX - Echoes of Eridu

20XX is a platformer rogue-like game inspired by the Blue Bomber himself, Mega Man. The major similarities between the two end at the game play and characters. On the front end 20XX has near-unlimited ways to customize Nina and Ace, the game’s main protagonists. 20XX also allows local or online Co-op in the current client. On the back end of 20XX, each level is randomly generated. Some people are a fan of this dungeon crawler feel, others do not like it for other reasons. The main reason is due to forgetting that 20XX is inspired by Mega Man, not meant to BE Mega Man.

The 20XX protagonists both tip their hats to the Mega Man series: Nina is inspired by Mega Man and X, Ace is inspired by Protoman and Zero. The different play styles of the two can be utilized very well whether in solo or co-op play. When you choose Nina or Ace and you gain upgrades awesome things ensue. You may decide to sacrifice almost all of your health to do unreal amounts of ranged damage on Nina. In another play through Ace may use a sword the size of Sanosuke’s Zanbato. Through the runs you will start picking up Soul Nuts and Nuts that can be used in shops. Soul Nuts are used to unlock items and allow them to spawn in your runs. Nuts are used mid-delve for health and power ups from shops you may run into. Shops aside there are also time trials in-game. Finish in the allotted time and acquire bonus loot. All of these pale in comparison to being able to play in “hard mode”. Achieved through one memorable word: Skulls. Keep in mind though, the rogue-like genre is unforgiving; die, and lose it all.

20XX Starting area - Echoes of Eridu

The graphics are well polished for a platformer still in Early Access. The graphics remind me of playing Mega Man X on SNES to a extent. While the graphics are not Mighty No. 9 level, they are certainly years ahead of the previous platformers some of us grew up with. 20XX‘s bosses and enemies are well designed and balanced between the elements and machinery. The animation quality of all aspects of the game are on point. The level architecture although randomly generated are always logical and rarely unjust. Nina and Ace are just as interesting, although they are more cartoon-like than other heroes in platformers.

The music is simply grand, a great strength to 20XX. It is just as inspired by the classics as the graphics and game play. The audio for enemies is on point with various attacks and movement. Nina and Ace’s attack and skill audio are immersive to the 20XX world. The boss combat sounds are very much immersive as well in respect to their levels and music.

The story line is a big weakness for 20XX. The whole “battle mighty bosses in the name of saving the human race maybe!” (Source) trope is very overused. It may just be from years of playing Mega Man games though. I’m sure as this game becomes more refined the story line may change. Are Nina and Ace siblings or are they digital assassins from the future? Should we expect them to make a Terminator baby for 20XX: Doomsday? Details, Batterystaple Games, Details!

At the end of the day 20XX does scratch the itch for a good platformer. It is a nice nod to previous games of it’s genre. At $12 for Early Access and $15 on release it is a solid price. 20XX has replay value with permadeath on the horizon. So here’s to Batterystaple Games’ Kickstarter success! May the great Blue Bomber in the sky guide 20XX against the robot overlords.