30XX – Review
Follow Genre: Action, Platformer,
Developer: Batterystaple Games
Publisher: Batterystaple Games
Platform: PC, Switch
Tested on: Switch

30XX – Review

Site Score
Good: Smooth and responsive gameplay
Bad: Level editor is absent from the Switch port
User Score
(0 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

At the risk of sounding like an old coot, it’s hard to believe that five years have already passed since Batterystaple Games released 20XX, a roguelite platformer that doubled as a love letter to Capcom’s Mega Man franchise. Then again, it’s even harder to believe that it’s been nineteen years since we last saw a full-fledged new Mega Man X game, with Mega Man X8, and five years since Mega Man 11. If you’re a fan of the specific kind of platforming action that these games offer, we can imagine that you’ve been looking for a way to scratch your itch. Well, look no further than 30XX, the sequel to Batterystaple Games’ spiritual Mega Man successor. 30XX is bigger, better, and bolder than its predecessor in every way, although it doesn’t quite reach perfection. Read on to find out why.


There isn’t a whole lot to 30XX’s narrative, but what’s there is substantial enough to move things forward. Our story starts with our main hero, Ace, rescuing the secondary protagonist, Nina, from a stasis pod. It’s at this point that 30XX’s villain, the nefarious Dr. Eleanor reveals herself. She has a personal vendetta with Nina, and she’s not content with simply killing the heroine: Eleanor wants to see Nina suffer. As such, our two protagonists find themselves trapped in a gauntlet, with Eleanor’s creations ready to take the heroes down in the most gruesome ways possible. As far as plots go, 30XX doesn’t really bring anything substantial to the table, although you can find additional bits of lore fleshing things out, scattered throughout the levels.


Rather than the Flash-like visuals of its predecessor, 30XX fully commits to the Mega Man aesthetic, with gorgeous and saturated pixel art. Not to slight the art direction of 20XX, but 30XX looks decidedly less amateurish, with more focused art direction and less wonky portraits. Environments are bright and filled with details. Adding to this is a solid visual performance, with a consistent frame rate, and 30XX is a visual treat.


Accompanying Ace and Nina on their gauntlet run is a chiptune soundtrack that perfectly fits with the high-energy action and bright visuals. The tunes are catchy but not distracting, and the music is as varied as the level designs themselves are. Likewise, sound effects do a good job, and not entirely unexpectedly, voice acting is absent.


Rather than wanting to reinvent the wheel, 30XX sticks to a familiar formula that works like a charm. You’ll need to make your way through a wide variety of levels, each with a themed boss waiting at the end. Along the way, you’ll need to be on the lookout for so-called Augs and Cores, which are used to upgrade either Ace, who uses sword attacks, or Nina, who uses ranged attacks. With these upgrades, you can prepare for the boss fight ahead. Of note here is that in the main gameplay mode, 30XX’s stages are procedurally generated. This means that no two runs are the same and you can’t just brute force your way through a stage by playing it over and over and memorizing when and where enemies will pop up.

Getting used to 30XX’s controls requires a bit of time and effort, mainly because the game relies on simultaneous button combinations to perform specific moves. It feels a bit awkward having to press X and B at the same time, given the button layout on a Switch Joy-Con. There was a noticeable difference between using a Joy-Con setup and our trusty Pro Controller. Once we got past that initial awkwardness, 30XX quickly became a joy to play, however. Navigating the stages felt buttery smooth, with tight and responsive attack inputs.

While 30XX’s core experience relies on that procedural generation to keep things fresh, those looking for a more traditional approach can get stuck in the appropriately titled Mega Mode. Here, the game really emphasizes its origins, as this mode is very reminiscent of the classic Mega Man setup. Initially, stages are procedurally generated in a Mega Mode run, but the difference is that they keep their layout should you suffer defeat, meaning that in this mode, the aforementioned method of memorizing a stage does work. Additionally, any Augs and Cores you pick up here remain as permanent upgrades, unlike in the main mode. Overall, Mega Mode is perfect for those looking for a more traditional and relaxing gameplay experience, or for players simply seeking to hone their skills ahead of the main course.

With 240 Augs to collect, and a ton of permanent upgrades to purchase using Memoria, the in-game currency, there are a myriad of ways to tailor Ace and Nina to your preferred gameplay style. This is helpful as 30XX can be brutally difficult at times, and there are quite a few difficulty spikes that are the inevitable result of a run where the procedurally generated stages happen to show their worst side. That said, 30XX never feels completely unfair, and there is plenty to motivate you to keep returning to the game. You can even invite a friend to join in on the fun and tackle the game in co-op mode.

Those seeking the ultimate challenge can take on a version of 30XX with ever-increasing difficulty in Entropy mode. If you manage to get past what Batterystaple Games throws at you, there is a nigh-infinite amount of additional content available through the community mode, which lets you get stuck in user-created levels, although the actual level editor itself is notably absent in the Switch version. While missing out on creating your own levels doesn’t necessarily make the Switch version feel incomplete, this does mean that PC players don’t just get icing on their cake, but a cherry on top as well.


It took us a while to get into 30XX, as we needed to get used to the game’s somewhat awkward button layout, but once we got past that, we absolutely adored what the game had to offer. 30XX is a treat for fans of Mega Man-style gameplay, and things are further augmented by the fantastic audiovisual presentation. The procedurally generated nature of the stages, an enormous amount of collectible Augs, various modes, and community-generated content make for an impressive package that will keep you entertained for hours. The occasional difficulty spikes, which are the result of the stages being randomly generated, and the absence of a level editor in the Switch version specifically, prevent the game from reaching perfection. As a spiritual successor to Capcom’s classic series, however, 30XX certainly does what it needs to.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
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