20XX has changed my opinion of Roguelites.
From the moment I began playing 20XX it was obviously designed after the classic Mega Man games. It looks to be a standard roguelite platformer with familiar design points. It may look familiar, but it is unique to any game I have played before.
I have to admit to having had this game for quite some time now, and I would like to explain why.
This has been the hardest review I’ve had to write in my time at Game Hype. First and foremost, I am not a fan of most Roguelites – they usually bore me with repetitive levels, no matter how random they might be. This combined with prolonged and tedious attempts at progression, sufficed to say, ultimately the novelty wears off within a few days. I have never in my life enjoyed a roguelite the way I have enjoyed 20XX. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, 20XX has turned me onto the roguelite genre. Second to this, every time I sit down and write a part of this review, I unlock yet another weapon or augmentation, which I simply had to try before writing further, it’s only fair to get the broadest idea of what every game contains, and this game contains a whole lot more than anticipated.
When first playing the game there are two characters, they have very different abilities, meaning one, Ace, is the perfect melee companion whilst the other, Nina, has the fire power of range weaponry. Each has their own perks, including abilities which improve their chances against individual bosses. Who you play as is totally down to your own style. Myself I prefer a range weapon, so I played as Nina, but fellow Game Hype reviewer Daniel prefers the up close and personal style possessed by Ace. Again it is totally down to your own personal preference, but I would completely recommend giving each character a good try, and SPOILER ALERT there are more than two characters. There are more than one version of each character. There are more weapons than you could possibly have prepared for. There is way more to this game than meets the eye.
The progression pattern of 20XX is intriguing, and by completing the various modes of the game you achieve more unlockable content. The graphics and design of the game is excellent, it looks remarkable, and each level is generated based on your position in the game, progressively getting harder and harder to complete. Classic platforming gameplay combined with the brighter better graphics of modern gaming and a twist of sci-fi, this game ticks so many boxes that I never anticipated. Not to mention the unlockable content, can be purchased with ‘soul chips’ which are found when killing certain enemies. Every run ends back in the menu page where you can purchase temporary or permanent upgrades to improve the next run or all subsequent runs. The more you play the more you unlock and the more interesting the game gets. 20XX also tests your decision making skills, do you go off the path through the minefield of the level to discover potential weapons and augmentations or do you go straight through the level, taking as little damage as possible before you meet the boss?
There are in level shops, health points, ‘Glory Zones’ which provide you with a reward if you complete the challenge. As you progress there are even experimental augmentations to unlock in the ‘Very Safe Laboratory’, which offer you perks in exchange for a sacrifice. Batterystable games have clearly thought very hard about the options for evolution within the game. I cannot speak for how the game’s console release compares to the PC edition, however, can honestly say I was more than impressed with the depth of game presented.
If it wasn’t enough that the game is incredibly well thought out by way of each run being unique, there are also a range of difficulties and level types, you can play the next run in one of three difficulties. You can choose to boost your next level with extra items, or turn off all the permanent upgrades you have purchased during the game to take you back to square one. There are daily and weekly challenges to complete as well as the quick fire ‘rush job’ option which does exactly what it says on the tin. Not only this but it has the option of multiplayer, both locally and via network. I have played largely as a multiplayer team with Daniel and completed it with both starter characters, played and re-played with the perks and un-lockable items. I just couldn’t put my controller down, and every time I went to there was something else to go back for. It has been hard to find fault with 20XX, however, no game is perfect.
The look of the game is exceptional and the game play is nearly flawless, but it tends to lag when playing on the network multiplayer. There have been occasions where the platforms have disappeared or the characters have stopped working. Not only this but on several occasions, when playing with friends of a different skill level, the game has frozen during cut scenes and, unfortunately, this was most commonly found on the final boss level, where it has caused the console to crash both during local and network multiplayer, and on one occasion during single player runs too.
There have been some clearly identifiable bugs in the development of the PS4 edition. However, the team have been notified, and I’m sure have done everything in their power to fix these issues. The game’s glitches have lessened dramatically over the time I have had it, and although at times frustrating, the enjoyment of the game is still far superior to the irritation caused by these minor issues.
One of My Favourite Games of The Year.
Ultimately the game has really opened my eyes to the excellent opportunities roguelites offer, and even with the bugs and glitches, which are sure to be ironed out in time, this has quickly become one of my favourite games of the year. Fellow reviewer Daniel Scott has enjoyed helping me to review so much that he has bought his own copy of it. There is honestly no higher praise I could give.