I love platformers. I love Mega Man. And man, do I love 30XX.
30XX is the sequel to the 2014 title 20XX, and one can tell at a glance that it was inspired by the Mega Man series just a tiny bit. It’s a 2D platforming roguelike in the same vein as Dead Cells, but it’s also so much more than just that.
To fans of the Mega Man franchise like me who have been feeling hopeless about the series’ continuation, 30XX is the game that shows that hope never dies. 30XX is my introduction to the franchise and sets high expectations in the best way possible. Join up with Nina and Ace, brave the ever-changing Network, and let’s take back the thousand years we’ve lost.
30XX knows what it sets out to do: be an incredibly fun action roguelike and from minute one, it delivers. 30XX plays like an absolute dream: responsive and tight controls for jumping, shooting, dashing, and wall-jumping. There isn’t a speck of floatiness to make the action feel cheap or unfair - and there is a lot of action.
30XX pays homage to the Mega Man franchise in more than just looks and character movement: it also took upon itself to be just as tough and challenging, and clearing the later stages of runs is always an accomplishment. And that is without mentioning the optional challenges spread throughout the levels, or the difficulty enhancements that can be turned on before a run, much like the Heat Gauge in Hades.
But wait, there’s more. Want to compete with others? The leaderboards, daily challenges and weekly challenges are all there for you to get your fix of glory and/or pain. Want to share the love with some friends? Co-op has you covered. Want to cause pain and/or glory yourself? 30XX has a level editor mode and plenty of community support.
On the other side of the challenge spectrum, there are the augments and upgrades that the game gives the player. They stack together in all sorts of different ways, from small helping robots to movement boosts, and enhancements to your weapons - and there are a lot of augments. It is likely that it will take a very long time and many runs until every single one is found and experimented with.
And these augments are fun! A seemingly simple combination and a bit of luck can make the player feel like a demigod for the run, being able to mow through stages with overwhelming power and speed…until they can’t. 30XX hit the golden balance between challenging players, and giving them the chance to feel powerful.
- Tight and responsive gameplay
- Engaging action and levels
- Incredible replayability
- Good community support
- Perfect challenge/reward balance
30XX puts almost all of its focus on its amazing gameplay, but unfortunately to the detriment of the story or its characters. 30XX never sets out to be a story-heavy game and the Mega Man games that inspired it also were never known for their deep plots, but 30XX does feel particularly…barren of charm in that aspect.
While Ace and Nina have detailed sprites, neither is particularly expressive or have much at all to say at any point other than a victory pose at the end of boss fights. The HQ has some friendly faces, but only one has any sort of personality, charm or presence.
The robot cat with absolutely no lines and a single interaction option is more engaging than literally any other character in the entire game - including the villain! Eleanor appears at the beginning only for us to go the rest of the game having no reason to care about - or even any way to understand - her plans.
Plus, the worldbuilding on 30XX definitely exists: the locations all have names and implications that paint a bizarre but interesting picture. Yet none of it makes a lot of sense, especially when it comes to the endgame. Things happen. They look great. And I just wish I knew what any of it was so I could care about them.
- Frustratingly vague plot
- Characters have no charm
Final Score: 8/10
Despite my going on at length about the cons, I would be a dirty liar if I said that 30XX isn’t phenomenal. Its cast might be barren compared to the Mega Man series and other roguelike games such as Hades, but it never set out to compete with them in those aspects. Sure, it could have put more effort into them, but the results speak for themselves.
It’s addicting, fun, replayable, and wonderful in many ways. It is sheer platforming excellence, taking the best aspects of its inspirations to make something truly special. Mega Man Zero is among my favourite video game series ever, and 30XX feels nostalgic in the same way, despite this being my first foray into the series.
30XX is more than just a game that was inspired by Mega Man: It’s a love letter that is written masterfully enough to become its own story. And I dearly hope that it has a great future in the years to come.
Thank you for checking out our 30XX Switch review, thank you to Batterystaple Games (via Stride PR) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: