20XX

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
20XX Game Poster Image
Fun, fast-paced sci-fi action has tricky random levels.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Local and online co-op play fosters teamwork between players. Theme of overcoming obstacles and planning for the unexpected.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While Nina and Ace seem like positive, upbeat characters, there's not a lot of character development or anything known about them, since the main gameplay focus is on action.

Ease of Play

Controls are simple and intuitive, but game is far from easy. There's a steep difficulty curve and one chance to get through each stage; procedural stage creation keeps players from memorizing patterns or levels.

Violence

Constant sci-fi combat, with players using blasters, explosives, and melee weapons to defeat a steady stream of robots. The game's animated style gives it a Saturday morning cartoon look, filled with explosions but no blood or gore.

Sex
Language

No swearing in game dialogue, but online play could potentially expose players to profanity/other offensive content.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that 20XX is a sci-fi action arcade game available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PC. Players fight a variety of out-of-control robots over a series of randomized futuristic locales. Players get one life to complete each stage and are forced to start over from the beginning upon death, although they can use power-ups to purchase upgrades for later attempts. There's lots of cartoonish sci-fi violence, with plenty of explosions and mechanical bits flying around but no blood or gore. Although the game's story and dialogue are appropriate for younger audiences, parents should know that online co-op play could potentially expose players to toxic or offensive behavior.

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What's it about?

In the not-too-distant future of 20XX, the world has been overrun by robotic creations that have gone out of control. To put a stop to the mayhem, the call goes out to Nina and Ace, two mechanically enhanced hunters who specialize in dealing with these kinds of threats. Players slip into the power armor of this robo-busting duo, diving into the thick of things armed with laser swords, blaster cannons, and one life to get through each stage. Save the world alone, or call in for backup, thanks to both local and online co-op two-player action. Either way, procedurally generated stages mean no two playthroughs are alike, leaving players to count on skill, not memory, to survive.

Is it any good?

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and it's hard to miss that this action platformer is a love letter of sorts to fans of Capcom's Mega Man franchise. At first glance (and if you squint hard enough), it would be easy to think that 20XX is the latest adventure for Dr. Light's favorite son. After all, there are cute animated cybernetic "kids" blasting their way through lots of cartoonish robots. You've got platforming elements that require pinpoint precision in jumping and sticking the landing. You've even got a host of bionic upgrades for your intrepid heroes. But while 20XX might resemble Mega Man cosmetically, it's also got plenty of changes beneath the surface to differentiate itself ... for better or worse.

One of the big ways 20XX builds a name for itself is in its structure. Each stage is procedurally generated, pieced together randomly from a patchwork of parts. This keeps things relatively fresh, with no two playthroughs being the same. But the flip side is that those set pieces don't always fit together seamlessly. It's never enough to make things unplayable, but it does cause the difficulty to rise and fall like an amusement park roller coaster. The challenge is made harder by only giving players one life to live. Losing means starting over, although players can use Soul Chips to buy upgrades that help with subsequent attempts. That means the challenge peaks at the start and only gets easier over time. Fortunately, if things are too rough, you can select an easier difficulty level that provides three lives to work with but doesn't let you keep any achievements or trophies. Despite its sometimes-frustrating lack of consistency, 20XX is still a nostalgic arcade-style experience that can unofficially scratch fans' Mega Man itch.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. How is the impact of violence in a game like 20XX affected by its cartoonish visuals?

  • What are some things that can stoke kids' creativity and imagination? How can games, books, movies, etc., inspire or influence that creative drive?

Game details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love sci-fi

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