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May 2021


Platform(s): PC
Genre: Platformer
Developer: Kowloon Nights (EU), Batterystaple Games (US)
Release Date: 2021


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PC Preview - '30XX'

by Cody Medellin on Oct. 1, 2020 @ 12:30 a.m. PDT

Jump, shoot, and slash your way through 30XX, the roguelike action platformer you can play with a friend!

Being a Mega Man fan is hard because there are several different versions of the Blue Bomber. For the mainline series, the wait between Mega Man 8 and Mega Man 9 was excruciating, but at least you were thrown a bone now and then. Zero fans saw that series only span two portable console generations, but they have a compilation to let them relive those titles on the big screen. Fans of the Legends series are still mourning the cancelation of the third entry, while X fans have seen their series undergo some big transformations and experiments before they also had to settle for compilations. At least one developer, Batterystaple Games, took it upon itself to make 20XX, a game that succeeded in getting the correct Mega Man X feel while also bringing something new to the table. The success of that game helped pave the way for a sequel that's aptly titled 30XX, and we got our hands on a pre-alpha build to check it out.

As alluded to earlier, 30XX has all of the features to feel like a spiritual successor to Capcom's spin-off series. You can choose to play with either a hand cannon or a plasma sword as your main weapon, and characters have suspiciously similar color schemes as the ones they emulate. In addition to your main and secondary weapons, your arsenal includes a slide and a longer jump, but you can also hang on to walls and use them as jumping points. The enemy types are the same, with a few extra things like indestructible turrets, but more importantly, the platforming is spot-on. There are disappearing platforms, and you'll need to read lots of patterns to progress and find hidden nooks and crannies.

The main difference in the core mechanics is that 30XX has a great deal of roguelike elements. Levels are procedurally generated, and while there are sections that seem to appear more often than others, the overall layout remains unique per run. You only get one life per run, but the game gives you a break; you have an energy meter and can fall into hazardous pits, but you respawn instantly with a health penalty. Currency is also important, as you use it to get upgrades for future runs. The only things missing from the original are the challenge runs, but that's to be expected in this pre-alpha state.

While the roguelike focus may feel exciting, the game offers up a more traditional option by giving you a lives system. We were unable to verify whether you can obtain extra lives due to the short preview build, but it makes each run easier since you have some wiggle room to mess up. This is especially true since the game doesn't remove other things, like instant respawns from hazards, so it's good for training purposes.

Another element that makes 30XX exciting is the presence of co-op. Like the original, both offline and online co-op are present, but the preview build only gave us the chance to do this offline. Provided you have a skilled partner with you, the game is a blast with a second person in tow, but the real advantage comes from no longer having any shortcomings in your party. Considering how much platforming there is in the game, the advantage isn't tremendous, but it is welcome.

This will all sound familiar to 20XX players, and since the formula is already pretty well tuned, it's a good proposition to get more of the same. However, there is one big change in the graphics. While the original game had a look that was akin to something more made with Flash, this version ditches that in favor of sprites, which make the game look stunning. Environments sport a great level of detail, and both characters also retain the same level of detail as in the original. Effects like explosions are still noteworthy, but the biggest impact is that the game feels like a legitimate spiritual successor to the Mega Man X series rather than a deceptively pale imitation. The change is significant and drastic enough that those who may have dismissed the first game due to visuals would be compelled to give this a shot.

Even if all the sequel got was a graphical overhaul, 30XX would still be something to look forward to for fans of the original and longtime Mega Man X fans alike. The mechanics match up quite nicely with Capcom's series, and the roguelike elements fit well with that formula. Co-op instantly makes this a very appealing experience, and the promise of 10 different stages gives the game some real legs. Although no release date has been announced yet, we're banking on a 2021 release, and we can't wait to get our hands on a more feature-complete build of 30XX.

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