The Mega Man franchise is a beloved franchise that Capcom for some reason has ignored for the most part. Since Capcom has mostly disregarded the franchise, the indie industry has stepped up in recent years to try and create spiritual successors to the game. Some of these have been massive disappointments to the fanbase and others have done a good job recreating what fans have always liked about these type of games. One of those games that had quite a bit of success was 20XX which was released back in 2017. Today the sequel 30XX releases on Early Access. While I never played 20XX I was intrigued by 30XX. 30XX has some issues typical of an Early Access game, but it has the foundation in place to be a great game for anyone looking for a Mega Man fix.
30XX takes place 1,000 years after 20XX. You wake up in a world that has drastically changed due to the advent of the Synthetic Mind. Will you fight to try and save what remains of the world you left behind?
Like 20XX, 30XX is basically what you would get if you took a Mega Man style game and combined it with a roguelike mechanic. The game consists of a number of different worlds to fight through. The gameplay consists of sidescrolling platforming as you jump between platforms and avoid enemy attacks. There is also a combat mechanic. At this stage the game has two characters that you can choose from. Ace is quick and uses a sword-like weapon for more of a melee style combat. Meanwhile Nina uses a blaster that relies more on ranged combat. As you progress through the levels you will be able to acquire various upgrades and special abilities that you can use to deal with the enemies that stand in your way. The goal is to make it to the end of the world and defeat the boss.
So far this probably sounds a lot like your typical Mega Man style game. The main difference is that the game is also a roguelike. The levels are randomly generated each time you play so each run will be different. The game has two modes at this point. The classic mode gives you one life. When you die you will return to the hub world and you will have to start again from the beginning on your next run. The other mode is a little more forgiving. When you die and start a new run, you will start at the beginning of the last level you completed. In either mode when you die you are able to use the currency you earned in your run to purchase upgrades which will help you in future runs.
As I mentioned earlier I actually never played 20XX, and I honestly haven’t even played that many Mega Man style games. Because of this I really can’t make any comparisons between 30XX and its predecessor. At this point I think 30XX is already on the right path to becoming a great game. Despite not being a huge fan of the Mega Man style of games, I was intrigued by 30XX as it looked fun. For the most part I think it succeeds at this task. The gameplay is pretty simple as you mostly just jump between platforms and defeat any enemies that stand in your way. I found the platforming and combat to be quite satisfying. I thought 30XX did a really good job recreating the era of 8 and 16-bit games from this genre. For this reason fans of this genre should really enjoy 30XX.
In addition to the satisfying gameplay, I was really intrigued by the procedurally generated levels. While there are a lot of games today that utilize procedural generation in order to make each playthrough different, the idea works better with some genres more than others. This is because good levels are considerably easier to create in some genres than others. I was kind of curious how it would work for this type of game as you can’t just slap something together and still have the game be enjoyable. Good level design is important for these type of games as you need to keep things interesting while also maintaining the right level of challenge. I was pleasantly surprised by 30XX in this area as it works quite well. You can tell that the game uses pre-built hand crafted sections that are then randomly added together to create the final levels. Because of this there are sections that you will encounter pretty regularly throughout your playthroughs. Despite this I really liked this element of the game as it ensures that each playthrough will present you with different challenges. On top of this 30XX includes a level editor where players can create their own level sections or entire levels to share with other players. This adds even more variety to the game. Even if you beat the game there is enough reason to come back and play through the game again as each run will give you different challenges. This really helps the game’s replay value.
While I was intrigued by a randomly generated Mega Man style game, one thing that I was a little leery about was the fact that the game also utilized a roguelike mechanic. I don’t hate roguelike games, but I am usually not a big fan of losing large amounts of progress when I die. For this reason I was really curious to see how difficult 30XX would be. This will obviously depend somewhat on the mode you decide to play as the more forgiving mode will be easier to beat as you won’t start each run at the very beginning. As I don’t play a lot of Mega Man type games, I am far from an expert at this genre. That said I thought the game could be quite difficult. You likely will die quite a bit in the game as you slowly purchase upgrades to make your character more powerful. With only one life, you will either have to play through the game a lot or be really good at this genre to be able to beat all of the six worlds in one run. I usually was only able to get through a couple levels before dying. If you aren’t great at this genre I would say to expect to die quite a bit. Those that want a real challenge though will likely be satisfied especially since the game has a number of difficulty sliders allowing you to make the game as difficult as you want.
I think 30XX deserves quite a bit of credit for the overall atmosphere that it has created. The story is very limited at this point where you basically just get an opening scene and that is about it. I found the world to be pretty interesting though. Each of the different worlds that you will play through has its own unique style which keeps the game fresh. The game’s style actually reminds me a lot of the 8 and 16 bit era of video games. The game did decide to go in a different direction for the graphical style than the original game, and I think it was to the benefit of the game. Anyone who likes the graphical style of this era of video games will likely really enjoy this aspect of the game.
As for 30XX’s current state in Early Access, I would say that it is on the right track. The gameplay feels finished for the most part as the mechanics feel pretty polished. The game has quite a bit of content already as six of the planned eight worlds are already in it. There is already quite a bit to enjoy in the game. It feels like the foundation of a very good game is already in place. If you are a fan of these type of games, you should already enjoy your time with 30XX.
Outside of content that needs to be added in at a later date, 30XX has many of the same issues that you expect from most Early Access games. At this point the game has a few bugs (note I played a pre-release version of the game so some of them might have already been fixed). Playing the pre-release version of the game, there were a few crashes and the video would occasionally freeze for a couple seconds. The biggest issue I had with the game is that the controls would occasionally have some issues. Usually the controls were tight and worked really well. Then there were random times during the game where the left and right movement would just stop for some reason. I was using a Xbox One controller connected to the PC to play the game. Usually this was just kind of annoying, but it did lead to me losing some health from time to time. These type of issues are to be expected from a game that just entered Early Access. I would assume that most if not all of these issues should be fixed pretty soon.
I might not be the biggest fan of the Mega Man style of games, but I was intrigued by 30XX. It is obvious that 30XX took heavy inspiration from the Mega Man franchise. This is not a bad thing as it does a great job recreating what people enjoy about that franchise. The gameplay is quick and fun where anyone who likes these types of games should have quite a bit of fun. Each time you play the game you will also get a totally different experience as the levels are randomly generated. With the addition of a level editor, 30XX has the potential to create an almost unlimited amount of replay value. As a roguelike though, be prepared to die a lot and have to restart your journey as the game can be quite challenging at times. There are also a few graphical and control bugs that are pretty typical for a game that just entered Early Access.
My recommendation for 30XX is pretty straightforward. If you didn’t really care for 20XX or don’t generally like Mega Man type games, 30XX likely won’t be for you. Those that like this genre of games though will likely really enjoy it and should really consider picking up 30XX.
Buy 30XX online: Steam
We at Geeky Hobbies would like to thank Batterystaple Games for the review copy of 30XX used for this preview. Other than receiving a free copy of the game to preview, we at Geeky Hobbies received no other compensation for this preview. Receiving the review copy for free had no impact on the content of this preview.