Even though we have more than enough great Mega Man games to go around, there’s always room for an inspired roguelike. At least, that’s what Batterystaple Games provided when it released 20XX back in 2017. Combining all the best platforming elements with huge level design and co-op, it became a huge hit for the company. So, surprise, there’s more where that came from with 30XX.

Announced a couple of weeks ago, this follow-up brings back all the goodness that fans remember from the first game. But there’s more, including the ability to switch between different items to enhance your character. This changes up the combat game significantly, as you can try unique things and mix up how you take on your adversaries. Oh, and did we mention it looks great?

In the too distant future

The sequel to 20XX actually takes place a long way from the original – we’re talking a thousand years. During this time, the human race has become disinterested in evolving any further. This mainly stems from the interference of the Synthetic Mind. As one of two different robot warriors – Ace and Nina – you’ll set out to explore the world and see what might have gone wrong.

Before you jump into the game, you’ll see what options are available. You can choose between either of the characters right off the bat, then select whether you want to go it alone or in co-op.

Playing with a friend makes a tremendous difference here. That’s because both of you stay on the screen at the same time – no split-screen here. That means no matter how far apart you get, everything expands to accommodate the view. This is useful because you can catch up to your partner, or maybe even see an area you missed during your exploration.

Shoot first, shoot some more, then ask questions

But the core of 30XX‘s gameplay lies within its old-school tactics. As with the original (and some Mega Man games before it), you have either the shot or sword ability, depending on which item you choose at the start. The sword is useful for close-range striking but leaves you empty-handed from a distance. The blaster lets you not only shoot quick shots but also charged shots. Both are handy when you’ve got enemies coming from a distance. How you proceed is up to you.

Then the progression enters the game. It’s here that you’ll find secondary options on how to level up your character. Want to try a quick blast to go along with your sword? You can equip it. Prefer being able to unleash a mighty fireball with each dash you perform? You can do that too. Each choice leads to something new, allowing you to select something that works right for you.

30XX Slash

Platforming and boss fights

Shooting your way through each stage is just the beginning. 30XX also comes with some well-designed stages that will test you to your limits. For instance, temporary walls may appear, scaling their way upward as you jump alongside them without missing a beat. There are also tons of rooms loaded with fireball cannons, so you’ll have to step lively to avoid being fried. Oh, and we did mention going out of your way and trying to find hidden goods, right? Because each stage seems to have a few to track down.

These include special items, as well as health power-up stations and challenge rooms. It’s here that various enemies will pop up out of the blue, and you’ll have to take them down as quickly as possible. You aren’t being judged on neatness here, only results. So feel free to clean house and move on through the game.

Oh, and you’ll come across boss fights. Two particular standouts were introduced during our demo. The first is a spiky mini-dinosaur that likes to roll around in a ball to deal damage, all while shooting bullets everywhere. The second is a somewhat rather large monk, who blasts off powerful fireballs with each new move he makes.

There are a number of these scattered throughout the game, including some interesting mini-boss battles. Completing these opens up more items to use from then on, so you’ll want to jump in and get the job done.

30XX is looking good

While 30XX doesn’t necessarily reinvent the wheel with its visuals, it doesn’t have to. Batterystaple Games knows what clicked in the original game, and it works just as well with 30XX thus far. The backgrounds are vividly designed, with a little parallax scrolling thrown in for good measure. I also enjoy the cute little animations, particularly with your character’s dashing. This includes a number of shadows following closely behind them, creating a vivid effect. And in the right shading of color, too.

Other things – like explosions, enemy designs, and even a little bit of neon lighting – stand out as well. And, as we mentioned previously, the co-op effect is cool, as the screen zooms out and you see where your partner is.

Oh, and one other thing about the levels – they’re randomly generated. That fits 30XX right into the roguelike category, as you won’t have the benefit of recalling where you’ve walked before. That’s a good thing, as it adds to 30XX‘s overall challenge. You’ll have a ball with this one – and so will your friend, if you bring them along for the ride.

Weapon XX

Batterystaple Games is moving right along with the development of 30XX, though it doesn’t have a finalized release date just yet. It could be anywhere between this fall and spring 2021, depending on how smoothly things come along. But we can wait, especially for a game that packs on so many features. This includes the ever-changing gameplay with power-ups, the slick co-op element, and those roguelike levels that will keep you on your toes.

30XX is available to wishlist on Steam. And if you haven’t seen the game in action just yet, watch the trailer below.

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