A game by Batterystaple Games for PC, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One, originally released in 2017.
20XX is a roguelike action-platformer heavily inspired by the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series. The game takes place in the ever-popular year of 20XX, and you take on the role of either Nina or Ace – or both in 2P co-op – as they fight their way through platforming challenges, mechanical enemies, and robot masters on a mission to save the human race. The game simultaneously acts as an homage and a parody of the classic Mega Man series with many of the series staples in place, but with the operation run by a pair of somewhat inept mad scientists.
The opening cutscene shows a building in the foreground as the camera pans quickly upward, mimicking the famous opening cutscene in Mega Man 2. At the top of the building is Nina, standing in her blue armor with her helmet off as she stares out over the city. Suddenly, the city is rocked by explosions. Nina runs to her companion, Ace, who is in communication with scientists that have seemingly unleashed some terrible robot upon the city, and that’s your cue to get moving.
You begin the game with a 2.5x variable jump, a ground-based dash, a wall slide, wall jump, and the ability to jump up vertical surfaces. As in the Mega Man series, you can only fire to the left or right while standing, running, or jumping, and you cannot duck. When playing as Nina, who is dressed similarly to the Blue Bomber, you use an arm cannon to fire individual shots (up to three onscreen at a time), or you can hold the button to charge up a more powerful blast that can penetrate multiple enemies. When playing as Ace, who is dressed in red like Zero, you use an energy blade that you can swing quickly for a 3-hit combo.
On rare occasions, you’ll discover new primary weapons in the form of a 3-way angled shot or 4-way orthogonal shot for Nina, or a spear or axe for Ace. There’s also an unlockable playable character with unique weapon types. Additionally, there are rare movement upgrades such as a double jump, hover boots, and a 4-way air dash. These pickups are only active for the run in which they’re discovered, and they’re rare enough that it’s possible to complete multiple runs without ever encountering them. However, points may be spent between runs to make these drops more common (more on this in a bit).
More commonly, you’ll encounter small health extensions (you begin the game with eight units), armor units that provide one-time damage protection, speed boosts, extensions for your secondary energy meter, or small damage increases for your primary or secondary weapons. Like the Mega Man series, most abilities come in the form of secondary weapons that draw from an energy meter, and these are acquired by defeating each of the game’s eight bosses… but they’re actually optional pickups. After defeating a boss, you can opt to collect its signature weapon, or grab one of two other random pickups if you think they’ll be more useful. You also get a bonus item for beating each level – including the boss encounter – under a par time.
Instead of selecting between eight levels at the start of the game, you are instead dropped into a random level, and after defeating the end-level boss, you are free to teleport to a random selection of three other levels. There is some strategy at play in the level selection, since the later in the game you enter a level, the tougher it will be, and the tougher the end-level boss will be. Late game levels introduce more enemies, tougher enemy variants, more obstacles, and smaller platforms, and late game bosses absorb more damage before being killed and have more complicated movement and bullet patterns.
Since layouts are procedurally generated, each level plays somewhat differently on each run. However, tilesets are quite limited, so there’s very little visual variety from one run to the next, which creates a sense of repetition. Additionally, the procedural generation stitches together handmade action sequences, so you’ll encounter these vignettes on each run. As such, you’ll soon come to recognize the layout of many areas and thus repeat the same actions in order to complete them each time, with the possibility of additional obstacles or enemies thrown into the mix depending on how late in the game you encounter them.
There are multiple currency types, ranging from run-specific nuts that can be spent in vending machines for health restoration or a selection of items, tokens that can be spent in slot machines to receive random items, or “soul chips” that are spent in a shop between runs. Nuts are common drops from enemies and destroyed objects, and destroyed objects occasionally drop health or energy pickups as well. Slot machine tokens appear as rare drops and are also purchasable between runs. Soul chips are granted by defeating bosses and as rare drops from defeating tough enemies, and these can only be spent in the hub between runs.
In the hub area, you can replay the tutorial, take on daily/weekly/speedrun challenges, swap between playable characters, or begin your next run. On the lowest level is a shop that sells permanent upgrades such as health/energy extensions or a higher frequency of random drops, one-time items for your next run, and unlockable items. Unlocking an item makes it possible for that item to appear in shops or as a random drop in future runs.
Levels are fairly lengthy, and each themed area presents its own unique challenges, such as the appearance of teleporters, slippery surfaces in the frozen tundra, conveyor belts and molten steel/lava in the factory, disappearing/reappearing platforms (a Mega Man staple), magnetic ceilings, and lots of bottomless pits in the air-themed area. Fortunately, unlike Mega Man, touching spikes does not spell instant death, but rather a single unit loss in health, and falling into a pit or lava also removes a single unit of health and drops the player back on the nearest safe (non-moving) platform.
Occasionally you discover “glory rooms”, which are optional challenge areas that pit you against multiple waves of enemies in a confined area. These rooms task you with defeating enemies under a certain time limit or without taking damage, and these encounters are tougher than general encounters within the levels. Successfully completing these challenges can lead to some of the game’s nicer rewards like the aforementioned movement upgrades.
At the end of each level, the player passes through a door, which uses the trademark Mega Man pause-and-scroll sequence as the player passes through it, leading to a similarly familiar short hallway with a second door at the end. Unlike the Mega Man games, however, this hallway can contain one or more vending machines allowing the player to spend collected nuts on health or energy restoratives, grab random item drops from slot machines, or make purchases from a random selection of items.
Boss battles are arena-based affairs, but they’re not all limited to the cramped confines of a typical Mega Man robot master battle. In many cases, the camera pulls way back to reveal a gigantic arena with a boss that can move around the entire area, spew bullets across the screen, and summon support enemies that pursue you or fire projectiles of their own. Players will find themselves making use of most of the available space in order to avoid danger and deliver attacks, and some arenas have level hazards as well.
Each boss has a wide array of moves and corresponding telegraphs to help watchful players prepare to dodge or strike, and these become more apparent as the player faces the same bosses again and again. Still, it’s important not to become reckless since your health is not restored between battles (a bit of health is given as a reward at the end of the fight), and it’s possible to finish a battle with just a few units remaining and then get killed in the next level. Also, if you need a break, you have the option to save and quit after each boss battle, so you’re not forced to complete the entire game in a single sitting.
Overall, the minute-to-minute gameplay is somewhat easier than a traditional Mega Man experience, but the game as a whole is tougher since you don’t have infinite continues. The game offers three difficulty settings, ranging from the easiest 3-lives mode, a standard roguelike 1-life mode, and a more brutal mode for expert players. Aesthetically, the game suffers from a lack of variety, which is further highlighted by the many repeated plays required to complete the game. The narrative is very minimal, with a bit of dry humor here and there as the mad scientists kill you (or attempt to kill you) after each failed run, and the narrative sequences may be freely skipped or ignored.

20XX was developed by Batterystaple Games, a studio headed by Chris King. As a huge fan of the Mega Man X series, Chris started work on 20XX in July of 2013 under the name Echoes of Eridu. The game was funded in part by a successful Kickstarter campaign. Following the release of 20XX, the studio began work on a sequel entitled 30XX.
The game was developed in collaboration with Fire Hose Games, developers of Slam Bolt Scrappers and Go Home Dinosaurs, and partners in the release of Catlateral Damage.