Practically every style of game gets a roguelike interpretation nowadays. Sometimes these roguelike takes are official series entries like Double Dragon Gaiden, and other times they emerge as games inspired by classics. That's the case for 30XX from Batterystaple Games. 30XX is the sequel to 20XX, and both games are heavily inspired by Capcom's Mega Man series. After spending a couple of years in Steam Early access, 30XX is finally graduating to full release status on Steam and also launching on Switch in August.
After a short single-player tutorial, 30XX begins with players taking control of a newly awakened robotic life form. A beautiful mad scientist has apparently awakened the heroes and challenged them to either stop her from destroying the world or die trying. From there, players emerge in a lobby from which they can switch characters, talk to NPCs, join co-op games, start a run, and more. The game can be played in Roguelike Mode or Mega Mode, the latter of which provides a more traditional experience without permadeath.
One or two local or online players can select from a range-focused bot that plays like Mega Man or a melee-focused bot that plays like Zero. Both players can choose the same character, so no worries if nobody wants to play the more challenging melee character. The team then sets out through a series of randomized levels that end with exciting boss battles. Beat the boss, and each character gains access to the boss' weapon for the duration of the run. Between runs, currency collected during the run can be spent on permanent upgrades that will make the challenge more manageable.
We played several runs of the early access version of 30XX and came away impressed. This is a gorgeous game, with much improved artwork over the previous entry. The controls are nice and tight, and the levels and optional challenges that pop up allow for lots of thrilling Mega Man-style platforming. Playing online co-op with a friend allows the team to cooperate and split up as needed. Co-op works so well that it's a wonder that Capcom never released a proper co-op Mega Man game (the arcade games are just bosh rushes).
If the full version 1.0 release of 30XX manages to improve on the already great early access version, it's going to be an amazing game indeed. The Steam version already features a level designer, and both the Switch and PC versions will be able to play those levels. That's a lot of action platforming potential!
30XX sells for $19.99 on Steam Early Access. The full game will launch on Switch and Steam on Wednesday, August 9. Stay tuned for our co-op review!