I’m going to start by saying that in recent years sidescrolling platformers have not been my main area of gaming expertise, although as a kid I racked up many hours playing games such as Metroid, Megaman and of course the ultimate sidescroller Super Mario.
Straight off the bat I was hit with a sense of nostalgia as I delved into 20XX, it has clearly taken inspiration from Metroid and Megaman which meant I was able to get hooked almost instantly. The game follows Nina and Ace, two protagonists with more firepower than they could ever possibly need. A robotic uprising has caused an uproar on earth and these two are tasked with calming the situation down… with lasers.
20XX does a lot of things right, one of the first things I noticed was the quality of the environments and sprites. The team at Fire Hose Games clearly invested a lot of time in this, while I feel I've been thrust into this futuristic world, rampant with robots, it still feels somewhat dystopian and slightly steampunk. As you venture into the world you come across corridors sprawling with old pipes, the buildings seem like they’ve seen better days. The disrepair also brings about extra challenges, pools of burning hot magma keep you on your toes, as well as malfunctioning pipes spewing out balls of fire, all while being swarmed by the rampaging robots.
The quality of the characters and enemies really stood out as well, a lot of side scrollers tend to rely solely on the game play, going for a much more basic look. I feel as if 20XX said no to this and gave us some great HD looking sprites with some nice diversity.
Another great little feature is in the main lobby of the game, you collect points and data chips during the missions, these can be spent on upgrades and items for your character, this makes fighting robot menace somewhat easier and gives incentive for replaying missions to become stronger, while I felt the game already had some pretty good replay value this extra little (welcome) grind made me go back and forth and get a lot more out of the game. Added bonus for the portal reference below as well!
A feature that stood out for both good and bad reasons was its procedurally generated maps. No level would be the same, and after testing it a few times it’s true. Each time we’re given a randomly laid out level. This however was a bit of a downfall for me as well, while some areas were interesting and fun to navigate I found others to be bland and just a bit irritating. Calm it on the lava please, it’s not good for my health…
However, that's about all the negativity that could come to mind, I really enjoyed this game and would recommend it to any platformer, Mega Man or Metroid fan out there, or anyone who’s just bored of their steam library (cough me).