Full disclosure: I’m not big on roguelikes. Besides games like Dead Cells and Cadence of Hyrule, the genre doesn’t usually pique my interest. However, 30XX is looking to change that mentality. The followup to 20XX, 30XX mixes random platforming straight out of the Mega Man series with co-op goodness.
30XX wears its Mega Man inspiration on its sleeve
I almost began my time with the 30XX PAX East 2020 build alongside a developer, but then a fellow Media colleague came along and was my partner, instead. I played as the long-range buster user, Nina, while my buddy played as the short-range blade wielder, Ace. Basically, Mega Man and Zero.
The similarities with the Mega Man X series don’t end there. Both characters can hug walls and jump between them. Also, there are spiky death traps and fatal lava, boss abilities to steal, and upgrades to obtain.
What makes 30XX unique, though, is its randomness. Levels will never play out the same way twice. And thanks to today’s technological advancements, the screen expands if one character goes out ahead of the other. That being said, I always waited for my friend because I am a gentleman.
Random can be fun and challenging
Though 30XX does not have set stages like Capcom’s blue robot’s outings, it’s still a thrill to play. There will always be uncertainty about what an area will throw at you. Enemy placement, environmental hazards, and platform placements are going to be unplanned. Adrenaline filled my body as Nina and Ace outraced rising lava tides and jumped precariously over pointy spikes of doom.
As Nina and Ace traversed the world, I ended up putting my hopes into my partner’s performance. There were times where I would die and had to rely on my teammate to make it to a resurrection pod to revive me. We were also quite good with our respective weapons: my ally could slice up foes in a heartbeat, while I dashed and jumped while holding a charged shot the entire time I played (years of playing Mega Man games will cause your hand to stretch in ways no human thought possible).
Mid and end bosses appeared during our playthrough. Defeating these robots gave our heroes unique equipment that boosted our attacks and abilities. For instance, we triumphed over a gorilla cyborg and then we were able to do an upwards attack so we could reach higher heights. Surely, the new attributes will come into play in other worlds with particular challenges testing the upgrades.
30XX opened my eyes to the possibility of an exciting co-op roguelike. The action is frantic and very compelling, especially with a buddy decimating androids alongside you. Also, the randomization works to the game’s advantage, keeping players on their toes at all times. The title is due out in 2021. While a Switch port hasn’t been confirmed, it’s quite likely, especially since 20XX came to the hybrid console. Here’s hoping!