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20XX
Game Reviews

20XX

Addictive running, jumping and shooting that’s well-suited for gaming on the go.

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The Nintendo Switch is turning out to be quite the indie machine. Indie developers’ love affair with platformers, Metroidvanias and less intensive graphical styles tends to make their games a solid fit for the Switch, after all, and no expense has been spared in porting plenty of them to the little hybrid that could. You can now play 20XX, a sort of “rogue-lite” spiritual successor to the long-forgotten Mega Man series, on the go, for instance, and yet again this platform serves the game well.

You’ll start by choosing one of several characters – Mega Man-esque Nina, Zero-esque Ace, and, once they’re unlocked, whip-wielding Hawk and slow-but-powerful Draco – and hopping into the portal to get started. You’ll then progress through each procedurally-generated level, collecting goodies as you go, and beat up the boss at the end to earn a new weapon or upgrade; from there, you can choose the next boss you’ll take on. Repeat until you reach the end, but don’t expect that to happen all that easily, since 20XX adheres to the “roguelite” standard of unforgiving combat, low maximum health and rare opportunities to heal. It’s tough, in other words, and you’re going to need some practice to prevail.

You’re only going to make it through with the help of items and upgrades you’ll find throughout the level. There’s plenty of those to unlock and collect as you go. In order to do so, you’ll need Soul Chips, which serve as a form of progression currency that carries over between runs. No matter how often you fail, collecting Soul Chips during a run helps ensure that your next will be that much easier, which is a nice touch that keeps the game from feeling overwhelming.

From a presentation perspective, the Switch version of 20XX is pretty much on par with any other version. That parity is nice, if unsurprising; the Flash-game aesthetic here doesn’t exactly need a lot of horsepower, after all, and that helps ensure a steady framerate and tight controls. The Switch is a great console for multiplayer, as well, and I’d argue that it’s even easier here than on PC since your two controllers are right there for local play along with an online option.

20XX ends up being a great fit for the Switch; it’s a bite-sized game that’s well-served by the handheld format. Being able to get in a run here and there when you’re on the way to work or waiting at the doctor’s office is just about enough to justify the price of this one. Even if you’ve played 20XX before, don’t underestimate how nice it is to have your Megaman-lite on the go.