30XX Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com 30XX RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network 30XX Review: A Blast From the Future Past https://www.gameskinny.com/bd1ak/30xx-review-a-blast-from-the-future-past https://www.gameskinny.com/bd1ak/30xx-review-a-blast-from-the-future-past Wed, 17 Feb 2021 10:40:11 -0500 Luke Shaw

Tight platforming and roguelikes aren't two things that often go together well. Given the procedurally generated nature of most roguelikes, tight level design is usually overlooked for variety.

Thanks to what I can only assume is a massive amount of work from Batterystaple Games, 30XX manages to include platforming that despite its roguelike nature, wouldn't feel out of place in the original Mega Man games it's inspired by.

30XX Review: A Blast From the Future Past

Across six colorful and varied worlds, you jump, shoot, slash, and walljump your way through increasingly difficult areas stapled together by procedural generation. Each location has a set of increasingly different challenges to pick from, so if you get the shadowy cathedral of Penumbra as your first level, it will be easier than if you get it as your third. The game ramps things up as you go through your randomly assigned quest. 

You're given the choice of controlling two characters, either the Mega Man style Nina, who has a blaster, or the Zero style Ace, who has a blade. There's even the option to play both characters in co-op, a rare option in a roguelike.

Nina and Ace are able to dash, giving them more range and speed for their jumps, as well as wield a bunch of boss power-ups. These range from a vertically fired mortar to a column of lightning and a portable blackhole. There's also scope to combine these powers into new forms by mixing too, but firing them always costs energy.

The roguelike influence comes into play beyond the level of randomization, as you'll unlock plenty of core upgrades along the way, such as increased chance to get health on enemy kills, a double jump, shields on dash, and more. This is supplemented by gaining "Augs," which give you various buffs and different attack types. 

All said, there's a decent amount of variety, and a permanent upgrade you can unlock allows you to salvage them into more core slots, more health, and more energy. 

The meta-layer to upgrading your equipment as you progress through the game comes into focus after beating mini bosses. These drop Memoria, which lets you upgrade a handful of things such as your health cap, and Potentia, which lets you unlock more effective upgrades, such as giving you a random aug as you start a run.

When resuming a run, you'll have the choice of randomizing levels or working from a fixed seed that presents levels in a Mega Man style 3x3 grid. The latter might better suit those who don't mesh so well with the uneven nature of roguelike challenges, as you retain all your upgrades between deaths, letting you treat the whole parcel like a regular Mega Man game.

Each way has its positives and negatives, but the core gameplay is responsive and interesting throughout. Bosses are the trickiest part, many with a bloated health bar and hard-to-avoid attacks. But some are inventive, such as a chase section against an Owl robot in the lofty towers of Highvault, and a battle with a Wizard who activates a stained glass killing machine in Penumbra.

Levels themselves are also full of platforming challenges that riff on a variety of ideas. The neon computer innards of Deepverse feature lots of phasing platforms and hazards that appear out of thin air, while Penumbra features devilish jumping puzzles based around platforms that cycle in a sequence of red, blue, green as you either jump on them or hit buttons to change the active platform. 

There are times when a sequence of level chunks can be strung together in such a way that you'd think it was a handcrafted platformer, and it's a real delight to navigate through them. Sadly there are often times where sequences are on the brutal side, and progress can feel hard to come by. The amount of upgrade currency you get feels a bit on the stingy side overall, with a boss fight giving you one Potentia when upgrades cost 10 to 15. 

Accumulating that much takes a while and reruns don't often feel worth it. The only way to make progress is through the hard graft of mastering the pixel-perfect retro gameplay, which has its merits but definitely creates some friction when combined with the roguelike setup of the game. 

One final point worth mentioning is 30XX's very generous level editor. Presumably, this is part of the tool the developers used to create the randomized level chunks you play. It lets you place tiles, enemies, hazards, and so on, tweaking their movement and other things to create a playable area that you can save, upload, and share with others.

It's fun to just throw things in and have a run-through, and like Mario Maker, I can see people making some devious challenges this way. It's not overly detailed, but the base game's enemy patterns and hazards work like clockwork toys, and careful placement can lead to some hazardous gauntlets. You can save out chunks as easy, normal, or hard, which impacts where they'll show up in levels, and there's nothing to stop you from messing with that expectation by throwing easy sections into hard and vice versa.

30XX Review — The Bottom Line


  • Excellent pixel art presentation
  • Tight, inventive platforming challenges
  • A variety of upgrades to work with
  • Choice of roguelike or traditional progress
  • Powerful, easy to use level editor


  • Upgrading at the metalevel takes a while
  • Some levels types are much harder later on
  • Avoiding enemy attacks can feel a little too hit and miss

Overall 30XX is a bright, well-paced experience that has plenty of forward-thinking ideas rooted in throwback mechanics. 

Special mention has to go to the art style, which perfectly captures the dense and detailed pixel styling of the latter-day Mega Man games on the SNES and GBA. Environments are incredibly colorful, with lovely background art and some cute enemy sprites, even if a few are a little uninspired. 

30XX gives players plenty of variety in how they approach it, and the legacy mode that plays like a regular platformer is a welcome addition. 

[Note: Batterystaple Games provided the copy of 30XX used for this review.]

Action Platformer 30XX Confirmed to Launch Next Month in Early Access https://www.gameskinny.com/yx0hz/action-platformer-30xx-confirmed-to-launch-next-month-in-early-access https://www.gameskinny.com/yx0hz/action-platformer-30xx-confirmed-to-launch-next-month-in-early-access Thu, 14 Jan 2021 15:47:35 -0500 Dylan Webb

Offering an indie roguelite platformer experience reminiscent of Mega Man X20XX reviewed well when it launched in 2017. We've known for some time that the sequel, 30XX, was on its way and developers Batterystaple Games have confirmed today that PC players can dive into the fray on February 17 via Steam Early Access.

30XX launches with six procedurally generated levels via Arcade Mode and just like its predecessor, permadeath is ever-present. Fans looking for a more casual experience can do so via Mega Mode, letting them focus on the game's story. Both modes are available in single-player, alongside online and local co-op multiplayer.

Most excitingly, though, is the introduction of a level editor known as Maker Mode, which allows players to share their creations with the wider community. Better yet, this will be available straight away for early adopters.

Though it's also confirmed for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PS4, console owners will need to wait a little longer. As it currently stands, there's no confirmed release date for these editions beyond a vague 2021 window. 

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about 30XX, we previously sat down with Batterystaple Games' Creative Director Chris King for an interview back in September. Be sure to take a look and we'll keep you updated at GameSkinny with any new developments as they come.

Batterystaple Games' Chris King Talks 30XX and Building for the Future https://www.gameskinny.com/c3bno/batterystaple-games-chris-king-talks-30xx-and-building-for-the-future https://www.gameskinny.com/c3bno/batterystaple-games-chris-king-talks-30xx-and-building-for-the-future Fri, 18 Sep 2020 14:55:22 -0400 Josh Broadwell

When asked how he spends his free time when he isn’t developing 30XX, Batterystaples Games’ Chris King said he doesn’t have much of it to spend. 30XX and its predecessor 20XX have taken center stage for King in the last seven years. But when he does have time, he likes to play the same games until he’s mined their depths.

“I’m probably a horrible developer,” King joked, “because I like playing the same game, and look for that momentum that lets you play the same games over and over.”

That understanding of what makes a game tick is how King intends to make 30XX even better than the first game. Ideas for 30XX’s design came from a number of different places, including King’s love of pixel art. But King said the community inspired some of the most significant changes Batterystaple made for 30XX.

30XX's Steam page mentions games like Mega Man X and Binding of Isaac as direct inspirations, but these are more like guide points giving players an idea of what to expect. 

“I never sort of expect to see whatever inspiration hits,” King said. “I try to go out of my way to play something new every week just to always be taking in those fresh perspectives. You never know when you’re gonna find a specific mechanic emotion or feel that you’d like to evoke yourself. ”

It can be anything, from a gameplay style to something as small as a smart UI feature. 

King’s goal in pulling from so many different ideas is making a game people can keep playing for a long time and still get something out of.

That’s also why King made taking 20XX feedback to heart a priority. 

“My approach to making something is building a fun skeleton of something and saying ‘here are a bunch of ideas I think are cool, but what I'd really like is those of you who enjoy this, tell me what you like and what you don’t.’”

He spent eight hours per week sorting through Steam Community comments and Discord mentions when 20XX was in Early Access, and he made it a point to read every email he received. Of course, not every suggestion made it into the game, but many of them, including ideas championed by just one person, shaped 20XX’s design.

Still, there were some areas after 20XX launched that fans and critics thought could be improved.

“We heard from a lot of people saying they just wanted to enjoy the game without roguelike elements,” King said.

So they came up with 30XX’s Mega Mode. 

Mega Mode builds on 20XX’s Revenant mode with a bit of Celeste’s Assist feature in mind. Mega Mode generates a series of levels from the start, and players decide what levels they want in what order and at what difficulty rank. 

Should they fail, there’s no permadeath. Instead, they can try again with no major penalty, taking the pressure out of each playthrough. The levels won’t change until they’re completed either, making it easier to learn the stage’s ins and outs.

It’s meant as an entry point to roguelike newcomers, King said, and there’s an arcade mode for players wanting a similar level of challenge 20XX offers.

The Batterystaple team doubled down for 30XX, and King said it goes “multiple levels deeper for systems, content, and appearance.”

For systems, Batterystaple overhauled Nina’s and Ace’s progression. 

“One of the things we heard the most was that the end of the game felt the same for both characters,” King said, referring to how Nina and Ace ended up following similar progression paths despite playing differently.

That’s not the case for 30XX. The team built Nina’s path around managing energy resources. For example, Nina gets boss weapons and can fuse them in a number of different ways. Some are small, like basic mods to make progression easier. Others are “over the top” combo attacks, but they take more energy and planning to pull off.

Ace gets a host of techniques instead. These are mapped to button controls for players to weave into his basic attacks without worrying about energy resources.

Then there’s the art style change, something King and the team deliberated over for a while before deciding it was the right thing to do.

“I always knew high-quality pixel art would be valuable to the game,” King said.

But they weren’t sure whether it was a good idea.

“We researched to see, and no other games ever released a first installment using vector art and then a sequel using pixel art,” King said. “We didn’t know if there was a reason for that, if it was a bad idea.”

Batterystaple started working on 30XX prototypes using detailed pixel art in 2018 and kept tweaking and working with it.

Now, “I’m just noticing, oh my gosh, I can’t believe it looks this good,” King said.

It’s a significant difference from 20XX. The single-player level for the PAX Online 30XX demo drops Ace or Nina in a cave with glimpses of the outside world. The foreground is full of texture, from multi-faceted, shining jewels to gently pulsing speaker blocks. The glimpses you see of the outside show a richly detailed mountain, almost a shrine, of speakers.

20XX looked good, but 30XX is already carving a strong new visual identity for itself.

It also plays very well for a build that’s yet to even enter alpha. 

King said it’s not the beginning, though. Batterystaple wants to launch 30XX in Early Access sometime in early 2021, where work will continue just like it did for 20XX.

“It would feel foolish not doing Early Access,” he said. “There’s a whole bunch of work in our roadmap, but a number of large question marks because we know once we get into early access, there will be tons of feedback to integrate.”

Naturally, that means there’s no solid date in mind for a full 30XX launch, but King said the idea is to stay in Early Access for at least a year so the team can make the best game possible.

Meanwhile, the 30XX pre-alpha demo is live on Steam with a short-but-sweet taste of what's to come. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more 30XX news in the coming months.