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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 Feb. 16, 2021 @ 11:00 p.m. PST

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

When we looked at 30XX a few months ago, it looked like a good follow-up to 20XX, the developer's previous solid effort to bring back the Mega Man X style of platforming action that is sorely missed today. The big changes noted back then had to do with the graphics, as the move toward sprites made the game look both polished and timeless. Since then, the game has gained a Steam Early Access date of Feb. 17, 2021, giving us a reason to check in to see how things are progressing.

When compared to the build we saw last year, the core mechanics remain the same. You always have a choice between a female character with an arm cannon or a male character with a plasma sword. You can dash into a speed-boosted jump and bounce off walls to climb to higher places. Beat a boss, and you'll gain one of their powers, but they can now be slotted into one of three quick action buttons instead of needing to juggle menus to switch between each special attack.

The game still follows the roguelike formula, and while the levels don't seem too randomized, their order certainly does. You have one life to beat the whole game, but you can get currency to make yourself more powerful in subsequent runs if you beat a level's boss. For those who would prefer something more traditional, there's a mode that allows you to play with three lives and save your progress, but the randomization aspect is still present. Also, co-op fans will like the fact that it's available locally for both the roguelike and traditional modes, with online play planned for the game's formal Early Access release.

Aside from the inclusion of more biomes, the big addition to this version thus far is a level maker. Like the rest of the game, this is still in its early phases, so the editor interface is rather rough. It can't be navigated with a controller and opens up as a separate program, which can be problematic if you're playing the main game in full-screen mode, since the editor tends to hide behind the game when it starts. Many of the choices you'll make lead to errors that require rebooting the editor, and the lack of a tutorial or clearly labeled instructions means that you'll need to experiment to figure out how it all works.

With that said, once you find your way around the program, it can be pretty robust. Levels can vary wildly in size and measure up well against the game's official offerings. All of the backgrounds from the main game can be used, but you can't exactly mix and match different backgrounds with different musical tracks. Everything from floors to enemy placements is essentially painted on, while there doesn't seem to be a limit on how many things can be placed in the level. Playtesting a stage is immediate, provided you can get used to the fact that you must switch programs to do so. While our version didn't have this feature, the formal Early Access version promises support for level downloading, so we can expect to have a good flow of levels going once the tools are tightened up.

30XX's Steam Early Access release is just around the corner, and the inclusion of the editor is bound to give the game some real legs once players get accustomed to it. Even if players don't take advantage of making and playing custom levels, the core game retains the aspects that made the original title such a hit — and it's now equipped with a proper retro presentation that makes it more enduring. Provided that Batterystaple Games is on pace to fix any major issues and add in some polish, 30XX could be a real winner.

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