30XX Shines in Steam Summer Game Festival

The Steam summer game festival was delayed by a week, but the wait was well-worth it as tons of new demos were released to give not only players something to enjoy – but indie devs a chance to get high-profile exposure. One such game is 30XX – the follow-up to the tremendous Mega Man/roguelite combo 20XX. Upon first covering that game almost five years ago, several things are evident. For one, I can’t believe it’s been five years since then and in that time, the game has seen DLC released for it and been released on consoles and can now be enjoyed on just about any gaming platform you have outside of a mobile device.

20XX brought together Mega Man X-style gameplay with procedurally-generated levels and a rogue-lite mechanic where death meant any upgrades you gained were done after you died. It turned what’s normally an offense-based affair in run and gun platformers into a defensive one as you had to be far more careful to avoid damage than worry about dealing it out. It made you think about your jumps more than ever before and mixed up things like the disappearing blocks puzzles in ways that hadn’t been done before or since in quite as smooth a manner – including in Mega Man 11.

Now, 30XX brings with it a more 32-bit art style instead of the almost Flash-esque look of the original 20XX. The demo is limited, but still offers up the same choice of either single player or co-op action allowing for either the Mega Man-esque Nina or the Zero-esque Ace. In the original game, you had a wide variety of extra stuff you could get from different stages to mix things up. With the demo being so early and limited to one run in a single stage, it lets you see how the gameplay has evolved and enjoy revamped gameplay. Things still feel about the same as they did before when it comes to muscle memory – but the controls are tighter than before.

Jumps were a bit floaty and wall jumps didn’t quite feel right for precision platforming. 30XX refines the jumping controls and makes them more responsive, while also improving the flow of combat. 20XX felt like an original Mega Man-paced game in a Mega Man X-inspired skin. Now, you have a smoother experience that feels more in line with the more refined Mega Man Zero games with the dynamic color scheme of classics like Mega Man X4. Enemy variety has been improved as well, with fewer instances even at this early stage of having the exact same enemy in the same area over and over. Platforming challenges are improved, relying more on the dash mechanic and revamping the disappearing block puzzles to be more of a sliding translucent walkway.

30XX doesn’t have a set release date, but even at a super-early playable stage, shows great promise. The redone art style looks fantastic and features more detail than ever before, while the controls flow nicely and keep combat feeling fresh from screen to screen. Time will tell how the final game works out, but everything shown off so far is that it will be well-crafted as even in a content-lean presentation like this, it’s clear that a great deal of care went into it. Hopefully it does well on PC and then comes to all consoles as the original game did.