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"In the Year 20XX..."
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20XX is an Indie Platformer/Roguelike hybrid that takes heavy inspiration from the Mega Man X series.

Just like the X series, the goal is to make your way through each stage, discovering new powerups and abilities along the way, to fight the boss at the end. However, where X has deliberately designed stages, 20XX uses a random level generator to create a unique layout filled with new items each time you play.

The plot, such as it is, is that two Android mercenaries, Nina and Ace, have been contracted by professors Brighton Sharp and Arlan Flat to quell a robot uprising. The duo must run, dash, shoot and slash their way through 10 different levels and defeat the hordes of renegade robots, destroy their leaders, find out who is truly responsible for the attacks and, hopefully, survive long enough to get paid.

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Bosses:

  • Perforator Alpha, weak to the Shadespur, gives you the Vera.
  • Eternal Star, weak to the Force Nova, gives you the Shadespur.
  • Vile Visage, weak to the Mortar, gives you the Force Nova.
  • Death Lotus, weak to the Boomerang Blade, gives you the Mortar.
  • Rollster Beta, weak to the Flameshield, gives you the Boomerang Blade.
  • Twin Astrals, weak to the Splinterfrost, give you the Flameshield.
  • Shatterbeak, weak to the Quint Laser, gives you the Splinterfrost.
  • Kur, weak to the Vera, gives you the Quint Laser.

20XX exited Early Access on August 16th, 2017 for PC. It was later ported to PlayStation 4, X Box One, and Nintendo Switch on July 2018.

The game has seen some post-launch support. Among the free updates, some paid add-ons were released—

  • The first DLC character, Hawk, was released on February 12, 2018.
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  • The second DLC character, Draco, was released on July 10, 2018.

It has a Character page in much need of contributions. Please add tropes related to the main characters or bosses there.


Tutorial complete! Prepare to die.

  • 1-Up: The Rebeginner. Die holding one and Ace or Nina will respawn, it does cost the hefty price of 60 nuts (and 30 soul chips to unlock).
  • A Winner Is You: DLC characters Hawk and Draco have no special ending cutscenes. Beat the game and the credits will simply roll.
  • Action Bomb: In the form of small spiderlike robots. If you get close enough they will attempt to rush you and detonate, sending fireballs in multiple directions when they do.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The "Flee!" Glory Zone room, where you have to scale a platforming challenge while fleeing an invincible curtain of Flapps that gets faster the further away you get from it.
  • After Boss Recovery: Downplayed, you might get a few health pickups, but rarely a full health recovery (from the Blue Lander). If you have certain skull modifiers enabled then you have the possibility of having no recovery at all. Played Straight with Kingseeker, a Prototype Aug that fully heals you after defeating a boss, at the expense of no health dropping from enemies.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The basic plot of the game is that robots are going berserk, and the playable contractors must set out to stop them. And then it gets Inverted; the enemies and bosses are actually functioning perfectly fine, since their intended role is to serve as obstacles for the protagonists. Nina and Ace are the crapshoots, since they ultimately turn against their creators to free themselves from their tyrannic rule.
  • All the Worlds Are a Stage: The final level 9 and 10 reuse enemies and gimmick platforms from all the areas in the game.
  • Always Accurate Attack: Subverted and inverted. Dr. Flat's mech switching sides causes an explosion that sends your character into a damage animation... Except apart from knockback, it does not actually decrease health and in fact invokes Mercy Invincibility from the normal contact damage from the moving mech.
  • An Adventurer Is You: The Core Augments - armor parts - can, and might, change the playstyle wildly depending which one you go for:
    • The Tank: Armatort, the Unstoppable. Gives several defensive abilities that allows the Contractors to have much better odds of surviving.
    • The DPS: Dracopent, the Foul. Focuses primarily on normal attacks which allows the players to deal more damage without special effects.
    • The DPS 2: Owlhawk, the Wise. The set focuses on special weapons and having all of them allows any character to cause a lot of damage while having tools for any situation. However this style is limited by the amount of weapon energy the character has.
    • The Jack-of-All-Trades: Oxjack, the Flash. The set focuses on mobility and synergizes somewhat well with any playstyle, but doesn't really excel anywhere.
  • Animal Mecha: Most bosses are based off of some sort of robotic animal, with the exceptions of Vile Visage and Perforator Alpha.
  • Antepiece: A result of the level generator. When generating a level, the game will pick from certain stage-specific templates, and add things depending on the difficulty. For example, you might find two moving platform tracks in parallel when in a Skytemple level. The same two tracks may reappear in a later Skytemple level, but might have laser beams added onto it.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • After beating a boss, you can press a Power key to set the power to that key, instead of picking it up like a normal item and having to fiddle with your powers from the pause menu briefly. You can fire special weapons without consuming energy to give your newfound power a spin and understand how it works too.
    • On version 0.984b onward, Vending machines are guaranteed to vend at least three times before having a chance to detonate. Previously, vending machines would often spawn with only one pickup available before detonating, leading to much disappointment.
    • The first level will never spawn Energy pickups, since you won't have any Powers to use them with until the end of that level.
    • After defeating a boss, any bottomless pits or lava pools will no longer damage the player if then fall in, preventing Kaizo Trap situations. Similarly, any traps in the boss room will disappear.
    • Every attack deals a minimum 10 damage to chests and crates. Very helpful if you've picked up the Focusing Sagelens and deal a piddling 1 damage per basic attack.
    • Item drops don't vanish with time, you can take your time to pick anything if a hazard or enemy is too close.
    • A run can last very long, normally about half an hour. At the end of each level you have the option to save your game and continue later.
    • Soul Chips aren't affected by gravity like other normal item drops, preventing the player from losing them to a bottomless pit or falling in a very inconvenient place.
    • Attacks from Repros won't trigger the nastier effects that some of the enemies have like the Maintcores' reflector shields.
    • Shops have blue icons indicating whether they will appear only in the middle of the level or during the boss corridor (indicated by a skull).
    • Upon using the small circular teleporters (commonly found in Frostor) you have a small period of invincibility. This prevents an enemy camping on it to get a cheap shot on the player and also prevents stages hazards from catching them off-guard as well.
    • Playing on Reverent or Normal on co-op allows one player to teleport to another by holding the "pick up augment" button. This might be helpful to lead one player to a chest or to help someone cross a troublesome section of a level safely. However this is disabled on Defiant difficulty.
    • Falling platforms on co-op will take longer to start falling than in solo matches to prevent players from accidentally sabotaging each other.
    • Death Lotus's bossfight, which revolves around him disappearing into the wall after making a few attacks and emerging from a randomised point, was tweaked so that, at least on lower difficulties, a red marker would appear around the point he would emerge from. This allows Ace, who has no non-power ranged attacks, to close in on his location and start whuppin' rather than having to rush there in the hope of getting in a couple of swings before he bails.
  • Arm Cannon: A staple of Contractors. Nina has a cannon, Ace his vibro weapons, Hawk her energy whip, but it gets silly with Draco launching his huge hammer from his arm.
  • Armor As Hitpoints: You can collect it periodically through various means, and it will act as a 1:1 shield protecting your hitpoints. While you have at least one point of armor active, you are also Immune to Flinching.
  • Art Evolution: You can check the evolution of 20XX's game banners right here.
  • Armor of Invincibility: A downplayed example: Armatort's full set will grant invincibility to stage hazards sans bottomless pits, but not to enemies.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: The Mortar passes through enemy shields. The Quantum Spook allows every attack to pierce shields (and walls).
  • Asteroids Monster: If he's not fought as the first boss, once killed for the first time Rollster Beta will cause him to divide into two, smaller Rollsters with less health, and can divide a second time if fought late enough. The miniature hamster wheels based off of him also share this property, though they divide into only one of their weaker versions.
  • Astral Finale: The final level both of them takes place on The Station, with the Earth as a backdrop.
  • Attack Drone: The aptly named Murderdrone repro.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Dr. Arlan Flat, chief of the project and Final Boss, he's quite tough as well.
  • Awesome, yet Impractical: Set Bonuses. Collecting all the armor parts from one set will give the wearer immensely powerful abilities, see the entry for Set Bonus down below. However, it's incredibly difficult to obtain all the Cores from a set in one run, mostly due to the RNG being finicky.note 
  • Bad Boss: Drs. Sharp and Flat take entirely too much pleasure in the deathtraps they put Ace and Nina through, will happily insult them for the smallest perceived slight, space them or detonate their bodies if they fail a run, and they'll both take their turns fighting you to the death should you make it far enough.
  • Bag of Holding: There's no real limit to how many augments you can hold. You can carry all 8 powers as wellnote , but have only 3 of them active at a time.
  • "Balls" Gag: The main currency of the game is Nuts (the hardware kind), with quite a few puns relating to nuts.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: You know Dr. Sharp? Y'know, the doofy-looking scientist who gets comically attacked by Kur in the opening? Turns out, he's part of the Big Bad Duumvirate and the penultimate boss. When you fight him, he sure as hell proves why he's the penultimate boss.
  • Big Bad: Presumably Kur, the draconic robot who can be seen attacking the city in the opening... except he isn't, as there was no attack and the whole game was just one simulation. The real Big Bad Duumvirate are Drs. Sharp and Flat, the scientists in charge of creating and testing Ace and Nina.
  • Bonus Stage: Glory Zones may or may not be found at the midpoint of each level. Activities range from scaling platforming courses, to destroying many enemies as quickly as possible, to special obstacle courses meant to be cleared with the use of a particular Power, often with an additional stipulation like not being allowed to take damage. Though entirely optional, completing these challenges usually offers a Core part, necessary for some powerful Set Bonuses.
  • Boring, but Practical: N-Buster for Nina and A-Saber for Ace are not the most exciting weapons of the game but are generally well-suited for most situations. Likewise Hawk's whip, the Siphon, is not terrible to the point of being considered an Emergency Weapon, but is by far and away her most "boring" weapon.
  • Boss Corridor: Before every boss in true Mega Man fashion. You'll often find some goodies inside that may or may not help you.
  • Boss Dissonance: Due to how levels are formed and depending on which boss you're more used to fight you can have Easy Levels, Hard Bosses and Hard Levels, Easy Bosses in the same run.
  • Boss Room: Every boss arena can have small to major changes depending how early or late you fight certain bosses.
  • Boss Rush: Rush Job pits you in back-to-back boss encounters, ascending in difficulty as a normal run would do. You're still offered Augs at the end of each stage and a Shop teleporter can sometimes appear, so you're not completely outpaced by the boss strengths.
  • Boss Subtitles: Each boss, when you finally meet them, is introduced with an animated splash and a nickname or quip about the boss:
    • Twin Astrals, Forged in Flames.
    • Death Lotus, Prince of Plants.
    • Eternal Star, Herald of Hope.
    • Kur, The Gatekeeper.
    • Perforator Alpha, Discordant Riddler.note 
    • Vile Visage, Pillar of Nightmares.
    • Rollster Beta, Roll Free or Die.
    • Shatterbeak, Icy Avenger.
    • Dr. Brighton Sharp, Duke of Development
    • Dr. Arlan Flat, Chief Out of Control
  • Bottomless Pits: Most of the generated levels float over one, with the exception being the Factory levels which are completely closed in. Falling into one will subtract a health point before teleporting you back to the last safe ground you were touching.
  • Bottomless Pit Rescue Service: Having the Gapminder Repro when falling does the aforementioned Bottomless Pit teleportation, but without subtracting health.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: The very first thing Dr. Arlan Flat does during his boss fight is destroy his own health meter, preventing you from seeing how much health he has at a glance (Flat's mech has a health bar of lights underneath his cockpit).
  • Bullet Hell
    • The Twin Astrals love this, firing off waves of bullet spreads. They're called the "Touhou Twins" for a reason.
    • Perforator Alpha likewise fires a lot of bullets, often in four directions and rotating its aim so that you must move around to avoid being Swiss cheese.
  • Changing Gameplay Priorities: Happens more often than not, at the start of one level you can have moderate Attack, at the end you might have a lot more Power and Owlhawk armor parts and change considerably your playstyle.
  • Charged Attack: All characters have some form of charge attack to increase their damage or, in Draco's case, perform an utility move.
    • The Rippling Axe (becomes a "charged" attack if used airborne) and Plasma Blender (gets stronger the more damage it causes) cannot be charged normally.
    • The Dracopent set revolves around charged attacks - the head will store two charged attacks at once, the arms will allow for a third-level charge, and the Set Bonus causes all attacks to come out as a second level charge though they can still be charged for the third one.
    • The Quint Laser can be charged, making the shot larger, stronger, and faster, though it'll also consume more energy.
  • Cloning Blues: The final boss fight reveals something that's been hinted at since beta: Nina and Ace have been destroyed and recreated over and over again by Dr. Sharp and Dr. Flat for testing. The final two levels see Nina and Ace turning against their creators to break the cycle of death and rebirth.
  • Close-Range Combatant
    • Ace only has so much range on his default A-Saber, but has greater attack power than Nina. The Sharp Sharp Spear weapon can be used to alleviate his issues with horizontal range, however.
    • Hawk's Siphon also has a short range, but she lacks the attack power of Ace. To compensate, her Siphon can drain energy to fuel her sub weapons.
  • Coin-on-a-String Trick: Or, rather, Nut-on-a-String, but the Nutsaving Stringwire still qualifies. 50% of all vending machine uses won't cost anything. Including the ones where Contractors donate health for nuts, somehow.
  • Colossus Climb: Sort of. The Final Boss must be hit in the cockpit of his Humongous Mecha, so Ace or Nina must climb a series of precarious platforms in order to be able to damage it.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: Stronger enemies come in different colors. Black and Red enemies are among the strongest variants.
  • Context-Sensitive Button: The same button used to pick up augments and weapons is also used to use vending machines... Or pet Dally in the HQ.
  • Cool Helmet: All Contractors have one. They can become even cooler with Core Augments.
  • Crate Expectations: They always carry nuts, health, energy or, rarely, augments.
  • Critical Existence Failure: Players can survive just fine with 1 HP. Drop below that and they'll meet an explosive demise.
  • Critical Status Buff: Crisis Overdrive increases all status if Nina or Ace's health drop to red. Crisis Timestopper freezes all enemies for 3 seconds if they drop their health to red as well. Inverted with Contractor Beta, which makes you more powerful at full health, but get weaker the less health you have.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Every foot core augs have different commands - double jump, double jump to hover or fly or a multi-directional air dash.
    • The Rippling Axe will significantly change your attack patterns by turning any midair push of the attack button into a brutal vertical strike, which can lead to the same sort of problem if you're used to weapons that don't immediately remove your horizontal momentum when used.
    • Playing with Draco feels very awkward at the start because you must press Up + Attack in order to use his charge attacks. Considering some of his attacks can propel him upwards or forward it's very easy to mess up an input and throw yourself in harm's way.
  • Dark Reprise: Level 9's boss theme, "Apex", has bits of the main theme.
    • When you enter a Very Safe Lab, the stage background music becomes distorted and creepy.
  • Death Is Cheap: Not for you it isn't, as it results in you losing everything you've acquired that run. That said, if Nina or Ace is destroyed, their consciousness can easily be retrieved and placed into a new body.
  • Death Glare: Nina and Ace will sport one while charging their attacks. Hawk and Draco maintain their neutral expression.
  • Denial of Diagonal Attack: Lampshaded. Nina's N-Buster is said to need additional upgrades in order to aim in non-horizontal directions, and that she'll have to make do.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Weapons like the Scatterblast and Plasma Blender tend to be very risky due to their short range, but they can absolutely tear apart anything short of the toughest bosses of the game in seconds if used right.
    • Most of the prototype augs from Very Safe Labs have potent bonuses but crippling drawbacks. Sanity Converter massively increases power damage but puts a rather harsh limit on how often you can use them (each use, unless it's free because of Owlhawk's helmet or whatever, consumes max energy), Violence Enhancer gives you a powerful damage buff at the cost of taking double damage, Defiant Decree makes bosses tougher in exchange for more loot, Consuming Fury gives you a Glass Cannon effect at the start of every level, Hysteria doubles pickup effects but triples damage you take, and so on. If you can work around the drawbacks, though, you can tear through your enemies.
    • Oxjack's stuff has poor defences and requires lightning-fast platforming reflexes to use effectively, particularly the Set Bonus. On the other hand, the amount of chaos you can cause with a super-mobile character in a platform game is quite high.
    • Hawk in general. She starts out as the weakest of the three characters. Her strengths lie in her near limitless supply of energy to fuel special weapons.
  • Difficulty by Acceleration: The Lightning and Furor challenge skulls. The first increases the speed of the game itself and the second doubles the speed of some enemies. You can have both of them active at the same time.
  • Disc-One Nuke: Finding the Dracopent's Claw (which allows an even more powerful charge) and Dracopent's Fang (next attack also becomes charged) early in the game is rare, but if you happen to bump in any of these (or both) early bosses can be slaughtered in seconds even without Attack augments.
    • Finding an Owlhawk's Focus (green helmet, reduces energy consumption by half) for Hawk early on will soften one of her biggest handicaps and allow her to spam special weapons with even more freedom.
  • Don't Celebrate Just Yet: Once Dr. Arlan Flat is defeated Nina and/or Ace must escape the self-destructing station.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Can be invoked via challenge skulls. Famine will make the game never drop health, Bankrupt will make nuts never drop, Final Destination will make all items to vanish.
    • The Kingseeker prototype aug gets rid of all health drops for the rest of the run, but you get a complete refill when you kill the boss.
    • The Enlightenment prototype aug gets rid of virtually all bonus augs throughout the level and even deletes shops and Very Safe Labs. (It compensates for this with a free Contractor Omega at the start of each level.)
  • Dual Boss: The Twin Astrals. Their battle strategy is to teleport around the room at intervals, before using the Flameshield and firing either homing bullets or a spray of bullets. At later levels, one of them will turn red if the other dies, in addition to reviving with half health if not killed within 10 seconds of each other.
  • Early Game Hell: The beginning of runs, especially in Defiant with challenge skulls, can be very rough until you start finding augments. Especially painful if you're playing as Hawk, who starts with a weak melee attack and an equally weak but long ranged sub weapon.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery: Of the Serious type. Achievements cannot be unlocked when playing on Reverent (Easy) Mode. The game doesn't outright tell you, though.
  • Elaborate Equals Effective: Not that Nina or Ace's regular attires aren't elaborate, but the Core Augments can change considerably the appearance of their armors.
  • Elite Mook:
    • Gamma enemies, generally painted black and red, are much stronger and they tend to have juiced up attacks compared to their normal counterparts.
    • Soul enemies; guaranteed to drop a Soul Chip, but far stronger, faster, and more damaging than their counterparts. Gamma enemies can appear as Soul enemies, making them even more elite.
  • Emergency Energy Tank: Crisis Lifebank repro will collect any health pickups close to you. They automatically self-destruct once your health gets very low releasing some of the health they've collected.
  • Equipment-Based Progression: There are no EXP or level ups here. You become stronger by finding augments and armor parts.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Shatterbeak, the mooks he is based off of, and the Repro based off of those are all penguin robots.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Especially with Ace's cool Spinning Glaive.
  • Evil Genius: Dr. Flat and Sharp. While Sharp's evilness can be contested slightly, Flat's definitely a bad guy, with a background in telemarketing, childhood dentistry, and head of a private military corporation.
  • Evil Knockoff: The Final Boss sends failed, barely functional, copies of Nina and Ace against them. Some are capable of using charged attacks and are actually dangerous, while others just charge mindlessly or simply self-destruct when close enough to the heroes.
  • Exact Words: Very Safe Labs. Well, the lab itself is safe. It's just that the upgrade in it might be...troublesome.
  • Expy: Nina is one of X, down to the blue armor and long-ranged buster weaponry. Similarly, Ace has red armor and melee weapons just like Zero. Averted with Hawk, who has her own unique play style that doesn't resemble any character from the Mega Man games.
    • Without her helmet, Nina also resembles Rokko Chan.
  • Final-Exam Boss
    • Dr. Brighton Sharp, who wears a battlesuit equipped with all of the previous bosses' special weapons, though some of them work a bit differently than yours.
    • Dr. Arlan Flat as well, to a lesser extent. He doesn't attack you directly until you've dealt some damage to him, but when he does, he uses the bosses' weapons. You also have to go through some of the hazards of the previous stages just to get to a position to hit him.
  • Flash of Pain: Happens to players and bosses when they get hurt.
  • Flavor Text: All over the datalore. Ranges from silly, random to downright weird.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • While Eternal Star is no slouch himself, the countless swarms of Flapps he summons throughout the fight will make it pretty difficult to get any damage against him unless you have something that can hit 'em all at once.
    • Vile Visage will periodically retreat behind a nearly-impenetrable shield while he summons random mooks to harass you.
    • Death Lotus summons a bomb-spitting flower whenever he digs into the wall. They're rather flimsy, but it's easy to let them pile up and cause the screen to be showered with blue missiles.
    • Dr. Arlan Flat summons clones of Nina and Ace to fight you in the intermissions of the fight. They're fragile, but some of their attacks do double damage if they hit you.
  • Foil: Dr. Brighton Sharp to Dr. Arlan Flat. Going beyond the pun of their names... Sharp fights you directly, wearing a power armor, and using modified versions of the special weapons you can acquire throughout the game. Flat, however, is cowardly and even though he's piloting a gigantic spider mecha he prefers to let his "arena" fight for him attempting to wear down the player by making them running through several trap courses while throwing defective models of Nina and Ace and eventually attacking as well.
  • Fragile Speedster: The Leafmetal Plating augment, reducing damage in favor of runspeed.
    Leafmetal Plating description: Become as fast and as durable as the wind.
    • Oxjack's Core Augments provide little in the way of protection beyond a shield that's only active while dashing with the torso upgrade. For contrast, both Owlhawk and Dracopent let you regenerate health by killing enemies with the appropriate methods, and Armatort boosts health pickups by making some of them also grant you armour. However, Oxjack's augs let you use it midair - multiple times, if you have the Set Bonus - and allow you to quickly and efficiently charge your weapon.
  • Gameplay and Story Integration: The Flavor Text for the Peng enemy mentions that Dr. Flat received his own personal toy-sized model after the Board acquired the rights to it. Sure enough, during the final Escape Sequence, you can find said model in what is presumably his room.
  • Gatling Good: The special weapon Vera. To a lesser extent Hawk's Protorifle.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: Dr. Arlan Flat. He runs away after taking enough damage or a set time once you damage him.
  • Glass Cannon:
    • The aptly-named Glass Cannon augment. It improves damage while reducing maximum HP.
    • The Violence Enhancer augment greatly increases the damage you deal, but doubles the damage you take, while Consuming Fury essentially gives you a Glass Cannon augment at the beginning of every level.
    • The Hysteria augment triples damage taken, but doubles the effect of any non-prototype augs you pick up.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Ace is a close-quarters combatant while Nina makes use of long ranged weapons. The same goes for Hawk and Draco; while Hawk usually has to get close to use her Siphon to recharge her special weapons she has no real strong melee attack, Draco on the other hand has access to ranged weapons, but, like Ace, his most devastating attacks are usually the melee ones.
  • Hammer Space: While this is mostly averted since all weapons are made of energy or something similar, Ace's glaive and spear have a handle that's way too big to fit in his arm "cannon".
  • Hard Mode Perks: Playing on Defiant with challenge skulls always increases the quantity of Soul Chips you'll get.
  • Have a Nice Death: If (or when) you fail a run you usually get a last dismissive commentary from the game. Additionally Nina and Ace have special cutscenes where they are blown to bits or flung into space at the end of failed runs.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: A rare villainous example. Dr. Brighton Sharp doesn't wear anything to conceal or protect his face when fighting Nina or Ace.
  • Homing Projectile
    • Grome enemies will fire homing missiles every now and then. The thing that comes the closest to this for players is the Re-Flapp repro which will home to headbutt any enemy that gets too close to Nina or Ace.
    • Hawk has one in the form of her Seeking Striker, which behaves similarly to the homing rockets that the Grome enemies fire.
  • Humongous Mecha: Dr. Flat pilots a gigantic spider mech.
  • Hyperactive Sprite: Even when standing still all Contractors are always rocking back and forth ready for combat.
  • I Call It "Vera": The weapon you get from Perforator Alpha, a rapid-fire minigun, is actually called Vera.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: Goes from Reverent (Easy), Normal, and Defiant (Hard).
  • Immune to Flinching:
    • Having any Armor points when hit will stop the flinch animation from happening and just grant mercy invincibility.
    • Armatort's torso piece also grants this as long as you're wearing it.
  • Improbable Accessory Effect: It's a roguelike, so this is a given.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: They always contain goodies. Diamond chests always give primary weapons (or unique secondary weapons if you're playing as Hawk), Core chests always contain armor pieces (unless a skull challenge denies them) and the rest contain regular augs and/or cash, energy, and health.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: All over the Agnisort levels.
  • Increasingly Lethal Enemy: Death Lotus will create other small petal enemies to rain projectiles in his arena. If fought on later levels the boss can create from 2 to 3 at the same time.
  • Instant 180-Degree Turn
  • Joke Character: Vika and Jest. Prototypes, but functional, versions of Nina and Ace unlocked by finishing the game on Defiant with at least 3 skulls. They have half of the normal starting health, only 2 weapon energy, their weapons deal halved damage, and items on shop have cost doubled. Oh, and they cannot find new basic weapons nor Cores. The only, erm, positive trait about them is that prototype augments will have their positive benefits doubled, they can potentially become Lethal Joke Characters because of that.
  • Justified Extra Lives: Dying in a run is quite final... For that particular body. Then Nina or Ace's "soul" simply gets transplanted into a fresh new body that Sharp and Flat had been working on upgrading.
  • King Mook: All of the bosses, with the exception of Kur, are based on normal enemies found in their stages.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: The game actively encourages you to avoid becoming this, with a healthy selection of augs that involve a tradeoff in stats, it's best to think with the way you want to play before you pick up Xcalbers and become unable to use powers.
  • Ledge Bats: Flapps have a very bad habit of knocking you into pits, lava and the like, but any enemy in Level 9 has potential of being one.
  • Level in Boss Clothing: Dr. Arlan Flat can feel like this as you will probably spend most of the time dealing with the obstacle course in his arena.
  • Limited Move Arsenal: You can have all special weapons available, but you can only use the 3 you equip at a time.
  • Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards: Owlhawk's armor set. The legs core is the only one that is usable by itself, with all the other cores relying on heavy use of Powers to be effective. However, get all of the cores, and not only do they have amazing synergy with each other, but they also provide the best Set Bonus in the game. The question is, are you going to find all the cores in one run?
    • Hawk starts out with a weak weapon and a similarly weak power, but her mixture of power pick-ups and an almost limitless supply of energy makes her extremely potent.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: Killing Dr. Arlan Flat causes the entire facility to self-destruct. Justified since he's specifically said to have installed a dead man switch in his heart to test his creations one last time should one finally kill him.
  • Loading Screen: In every level transition. They contain tips and hints on game mechanics, some which can be pretty obscure.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Nina can take down distant foes with ease, but has less default attack power than Ace.
  • Loot Command: Augments (and Cores and weapons) must be manually picked up. Thank goodness for that - some augs will decrease stats, and automatic pickup would result in many runs where you only have two health.
  • Mana Potion: Energy Capsules. They're very blue.
  • Marathon Boss: Dr. Arlan Flat. The battle can be VERY long if Nina or Ace are lacking in attack or power augments as the boss will always run to the other side of a very large arena once he's hurt.
  • Marathon Level: Can be invoked via the aptly named "Marathon" skull. Level 9 will always be this, however.
  • Maximum HP Reduction: Some augments and prototypes offer status increase in exchange of HP. The red vending machine allows you to swap maximum health for money. The Final Shell prototype drops maximum health to one 1 exchanging it for armor in 1:2 ratio.
  • Mercy Invincibility: Every time you get hit, but it usually doesn't last very long and careless players will get hit multiple times. The Mistimed Protector augments increases the duration of post hit invincibility, though.
    • Bosses have a downplayed version: after a hit, there's a brief interval where other hits do half damage.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Mass Concentrator (later renamed the Forcemetal Shell) increases Max HP and attack strength, but reduces runspeed.
    • Ace's Rippling Axe does enormous damage (at the start of a run, the Axe has the same damage on a standard attack that Nina gets on a charged shot), but only has a two-hit combo, attacks slowly, and has that weird charge-attack mechanic.
  • Mon: Repros are tiny robots, built in the likeness of stage enemies and bosses. Pick one up and they'll float behind your character, assisting you with attacks or some form of utility.
  • More Dakka: Get Owlhawk's full set with Vera. Press fire. Watch the sparks fly.
  • Multiple Endings: Kinda. The overall ending is the same, but the final cutscene still is slightly different depending on whether or not you choose to free Al Bot in the final level.
  • Mythology Gag: Early builds of 20XX had a spider robot boss that was eventually Dummied Out and replaced by Vile Visage. Dr. Arlan Flat's spider mecha bears a very strong resemblance to it.
    • Vile Visage's datalore entry notes that the previous guardian prior to Visage fled and Visage was built in its place. They're obviously talking about the spider boss again here.
    • Some of the Augs allude to their introduction to their first appearance in a build, like how the Meganut could initially be purchased in shops or that the Spillover Matrix used to also convert energy to health before being nerfed.
    • The startup artwork shows an early design of Nina.
  • New Game+: In a sense. The more you play, the more augments you can unlock spending Soul Chips adding more variety to later runs.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: Unless you've activated the "Rock" skull, the bottomless pits don't kill you instantly, and instead deplete onenote  health point before teleporting you back to the last safe platform you were standing on.
  • Oh, Crap!: Nina and Ace escaping The Station on an escape pod, looking back at it through the window, then seeing it was about to explode.
  • One-Hit Kill: Surprisingly averted. Unless you use a particular challenge skull, there are no hazards or enemies that cause instant death. Touching spikes will simply deal minor damage, and falling into pits will merely subtract a unit of health and send you back to the last section of solid ground you touched.
  • One-Hit Polykill: Nina's charged attacks often do that to smaller enemies. A charged up Quint Laser is strong enough to obliterate nearly every regular enemies in its path as well.
  • Orbiting Particle Shield: Flameshield will have this effect, even stronger with all Owlhawk armor set. Minimech O. Grinder repro also serves as one, and while one of these doesn't provide much protection, three (up to eight) certainly will.
  • Padded Sumo Gameplay: The "Goliath" achievement invokes this trope. It requires that you go through the entire game without picking any damage enhancing items with the Undying skull which doubles the health of every enemy in the game.
  • Painfully Slow Projectile: The Quint Laser. It's proportionally powerful, though.
    • One new upgrade slows down enemy shots.
  • Pass Through the Rings: Light 'em Up challenges in Glory Zones requires players to go through some round panels to win.
  • Path of Most Resistance: If an alternate path is generated by the level you can bet you'll have extra platforms, enemies and spikes waiting before you reach that crate or chest. Downplayed with Shops (or Very Safe Laboratories) as while they can have obstacles in the way, they'll always be much tamer than ones leading to extra loot.
  • Platform Battle: Eternal Star's arena will always have bottomless pits and movable platforms. Death Lotus' arena in later levels will have lava alongside the appearing-disappearing platforms as well.
  • Platform Hell: Level 9 is a Marathon Level with some of the most difficult platforming challenges in the game. It combines all of the previous stages' platforming elements with impunity, spices it up with Boltpairs, Ice Architects, and Flamespewers en masse, and populates them all with numerous enemies ready to block your progress and knock you into pits. On top of that, probably a good 80% of the level is made up of said platforming elements, which means that when you DO fall into a bottomless pit, the spot you get ported back to - that is, the last bit of solid, safe ground you touched - is likely to be a considerable distance back.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Nina and Ace are pretty good friends, being next-door neighbors, doing their job together, and frequently fist bumping, but they aren't shown to ever progress past being friends.
  • Player Nudge: Some of the Trap-based Challenge Rooms give players a hint on the secondary functions of Powers. One such example is locking a Contractor in a room full of Flamespewer traps and giving them the Splinterfrost, cueing them in to learn that the Splinterfrost can disable Flamespewers.
  • Play Every Day: There are Daily Challenges where you can compete against other players in a random layout to obtain the highest score or fastest time that day. It's subverted in that Scoring Points is the only thing that comes out of this, and there are also alternative Weekly Challenges.
  • Power at a Price: Prototype Augments, found in Very Safe Laboratories. They give a very strong upside, at the cost of a sharp, mostly permanent downside. Examples include the Earthmetal Plating, which massively improves your life and energy at the cost of setting your attack power back to the default level, or the Zookeeper's Burden, which instantly gives you one copy of every Repro, but completely removes your ability to fire your weapon or use powers at all. Besides that, there are plenty of regular augments that also feature tradeoffs, such as the Glass Cannon that grants attack power but reduces health and the Utilifier that grants energy but reduces power damage.
  • Power Copying: After you defeat a boss, you have the option of obtaining a special weapon similar to one they used, or ditching the weapon to pick up a currency bonus or an upgrade.
  • Power Glows: Glowing enemies will always drop Soul Chips, but are accordingly far more powerful than regular enemies in the level. Nina, Ace and Hawk also glows while charging their attacks.
  • Power-Up Food: Brain Food Lunch increases HP, Energy while restoring the latter completely.
  • Private Military Contractors: The Contractors are heavily implied to be one: the opening cutscene has Dr. Sharp calling them for help with the robot uprising, the HQ has a contract from Dr. Flat on the corkboard, a run of the game is called a Job. The in-universe lingo for the types of robots Nina and Ace are is a Contractor. Subverted. Nina and Ace aren't actually hired guns; they're just programmed to think they are, so they have a motivation to go on the missions.
  • Puzzle Boss: A downplayed example. You can, of course, wail on every boss the old-fashioned way, but certain bosses aren't directly weak to the power they're supposed to be, so you have to figure out the trick that exploits the boss's REAL weakness. Use Vera to reflect Kur's quint lasers back at him, and Eternal Star's minions cause a chain-reaction explosion when killed with Force Nova.
  • Quad Damage: Nina's Star Beam can deal four times the normal damage, but she must be very close to enemies, even more than when using the Scatterblast.
  • Rainbow Pimp Gear: Just picking up the strongest armor present as opposed to aiming for a Set Bonus can result in this. It's further encouraged by the Mixmatch Mastery aug, which boosts stats if armor pieces don't match with each other. Subverted in that armor pieces change color to suit the Contractor wearing it so it doesn't look too hideous.
  • Random Drop: Item pickups and nuts. Augments are found in shops, rarely in crates, or at the end of levels, vending machines can also drop them if they are destroyed while you have the Vendsmasher augment.
  • Random Drop Booster: The "Scavenger" augments (Vitality, Energy, Scrapmetal, Armor). Don't count too much on them, though.
  • Randomly Generated Levels: While most levels always keep their basic layout, obstacles, enemies and augments found in them is always randomized.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: The most common color palette for Gamma level enemies (the strongest kind of normal enemy) is black and red.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Environmental cues suggest this through what is presumably Ace and Nina's dormitories. Nina's door has her name neatly printed on a whiteboard hung from the front of it. Ace's door has his name spraypainted on, complete with a tally of how many bosses he's killed.
  • Reduced Mana Cost: Owlhawk's Focus will reduce energy consumption of special weapons by 50%.
  • Reluctant Mad Scientist: Dr. Sharp, who mostly wanted to create successful artificial life capable of apparent humanity but works with his much meaner partner because it's the only way he can get funding.
  • The Reveal: There is no robot invasion. There never was. The entire game has been Sharp and Flat throwing Nina and Ace repeatedly into certain death and rebuilding them in order to test and improve their robots and weapons.
  • Reverse Shrapnel: The Flameshield does this, creating four fireballs that orbit the user.
  • Ridiculously Human Robots: Nina, who could easily pass for a human wearing Powered Armor. Ace is never seen without his helmet (and said helmet shows his eyes like an LED display) so it's harder to tell. Both of them are also capable of eating and drinking.
  • Rolling Attack: The Glaive weapon for Ace allows him to do this if he's in the air or sliding down a wall.
  • Sadistic Choice: Gameplay wise, true to roguelikes, you'll more often than not be torn choosing between the rewards offered after finishing a level or when shopping.
  • Sequence Breaking: Having any foot armor part can allow players to skip some parts of certain level with ease.
  • Selective Magnetism: The Charging Magnet will draw in health, energy, and nuts while not affecting anything else.
    Charging Magnet flavor text: Maybe a world where it pulls in foes, other Contractors, and blocks isn't one you'd like to live in anyway.
  • Self-Imposed Challenge: Challenge Skulls, which can be activated in Defiant/Hardcore mode. Effects range from longer stages, higher enemy density, running the game 50% faster, dying instantly to hazards, and doubling damage taken from enemies.
  • Sequel Hook: After completing Dr. Flat's entry in the datalore by beating him for the third time, said datalore entry reveals that the Board is aware of Nina and Ace's escape, and are planning on taking them back by force.
  • Set Bonus: There are four armor sets in the game, each with four pieces - head, arms, torso, and legs.
    • Armatort's set bonus grants invulnerability to stage hazards.
    • Oxjack's set bonus allows for three mid-air dashes.
    • Dracopent's set bonus causes all attacks to be charged attacks.
    • Owlhawk's set bonus amplifies Powers, giving them special abilities.
    • The Patchwork Connector lets you grab the bonus with only three pieces, leading to some weird and potentially very strong arrangements - given a perfect starting seed, for example, one could have Dracopent's legs, helmet and torso, allowing all shots to be charged, but Armatort's weapon, allowing you to fire an unlimited number of charge shots that cut through enemy projectiles.
      • Taken even further with Patchwork Integrator, a prototype augment, which allows you to receive the bonus of armors with mere two pieces. The catch? A hefty 40% penalty on your attack and power damage.
  • Short-Range Shotgun: The Scatterblast for Nina. The multiple projectiles make it strong up close, but weaker at longer ranges, and they dissipate faster - although charged shots have longer range, and a double-charged one will fire more projectiles as well. Nina with the arm core enhancer and a full Dracopent set is basically instant death to anything within about twenty feet of her.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Quite a few to the Mega Man franchise, being a Spiritual Successor to it in particular.
    • Nina's Wave Beam upgrade shares it's name and appearance with the Wave Beam from the Metroid series.
    • The art for the Vera looks exactly like Heavy's default minigun. The name is also a reference to the trope I Call It "Vera", which Heavy invokes with every single one of his miniguns.
    • The Ninja Sash's artwork features a headband with an insignia-inscribed metal plate bolted to the front. Sound familliar?
    • There's a Powerup Magnet aug shaped like Magneto's helmet.
    • At the end of runs, there will be a brief comment on your run quoted from a supposed department. One such comment is "It's bad and it should feel bad!", and is listed as being said by "WOOP WOOP WOOP".
    • Another possible end-of-run message is "But...the future refused to change."
    • The Plumber Hat, which increase jump height, spent a while as a bright red cap that's almost identical to Mario's, before being replaced by a picture of a top hat on a spring. There were also the Contractor Aplha, Beta, and Omega augs which boost all stats, that resembled Mushrooms, complete with the face painted on the stalk. They too were changed, replaced by colored paper resembling blueprints.
    • The Heart Container works almost exactly as it does in The Legend of Zelda series, minus the full health restore. The description for the Striking Feather also references chickens that attack in swarms when provoked.
    • The Vibroreserve is a potato battery that looks exactly like GLaDOS in her potato body from Portal 2.
    • The Quint Laser is based off of (and looks and behaves like) the Quad Laser used by the Mooninites in Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
    Quint Laser flavor text: The bullet is enormous. There is no escape.
  • Side View: Naturally.
  • Spread Shot: Nina's Forkalator and Scatterblast weapons. The projectile from Splinterfrost, once it hits, fires a Spread Shot backwards from point of impact; with the full Owlhawk set, it becomes an all-directional blast.
  • Sprint Shoes: The sash items (Ninja and Hyper). Boltdash augment halves the duration of your dash, but doubles the speed output letting you go ridiculously fast.
  • Stealth Pun: The small ice platforms in Frostor are square. Assuming they'd keep that pattern in the third dimension, that would make them ice cubes.
  • Sucking-In Lines: The effect indicating that Nina or Ace are charging their weapons. It goes from yellow, to blue/red, to (if you have the right Core Aug) purple.
  • Suspend Save: After defeating the boss of every level you have the option to save and continue later in case you need.
  • Take Your Time: There's no actual pressure to hurry up or anything during the final escape sequence. There's no timer to speak of, and the wall of explosions behind you will never actually overtake you if you dawdle. In fact, it will actually retreat if you fall back for whatever reason. Just don't take too long. The explosion wall's hitbox will advance slowly, and deals double damage to you if you get caught in it.
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Snippets from the Main Menu theme can be heard during the last two levels and bosses.
  • Too Fast to Stop: Collect one too many speed augments like Ninja Sash, Hypersash and you'll find out that controlling your character will become nearly impossible.
  • Training Boss: Al in the tutorial mode.
  • Turns Red: Every boss has the ability of doing this on later levels. Only the first few set of bosses won't do it, and even then there are some that still will.
  • Utility Weapon: Every boss power has some additional utility use besides just doing damage;
    • Shadespur - Locks the holographic platforms in Vaculab permanently. It's also the only weapon capable of firing through walls, unless you acquire a certain Aug.
    • Splinterfrost - Disables the Flamespewer traps primarily featured in Agnisort.
    • Mortar - Negates the shields of enemies that use them. It'll also home in on the Hive Bomb obstacles from Frostor, killing them instantly.
    • Force Nova - In addition to blocking most enemy shots, it also permanently disables the Boltpairs present in Skytemple.
    • Boomerang Blade - Can be used to grab most items from a distance.
    • Flameshield - Normally, fireballs block a single bullet before being destroyed. They'll protect against shots from Ice Architects indefinitely, however.
    • Quint Laser - Fully charged lasers will topple Vending Machines, granting some free pickups.
    • Vera - Can be fired downwards while in the air to propel yourself upwards.
    • Blast Jump - Unique to Hawk. It gives her an additional jump, damaging enemies around her as she does so, and stacks with leg core augments.
  • Videogame Dashing: All characters are capable of this. Oxjack's armor set in particular is focused around improving this ability, granting you a projectile-negating shield while you dash and also giving you up to three air-dashes.
  • Videogame Caring Potential: Al has been caged up during the Escape Sequence, and you can choose to free him by breaking the cage, or leave him trapped inside the exploding space station.
  • Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: While the damage on Hawk's flamethrower isn't bad, the range isn't all that impressive, and it chugs down energy like a college student preparing for their third all-nighter in a row. Averted with the fire flask, however, which is brutally effective against ground targets and can be used to send damage down vertical shafts by lobbing it just short of the entrance.
  • Video-Game Lives: They're only available in Reverent (Easy) Mode, though.
  • Video Game Settings: Naturally. Recurring Location happens for every 2 of the initial 8 bosses.
  • Wham Shot: If you didn't get the hint that Dr. Sharp and Dr. Flat are the true villains, then you're in for quite a shock when you enter the Stage 9 boss arena and find Dr. Sharp waiting for you in a suit of Power Armor..
  • Wall Jump: Works like it does in the Mega Man X series, though it's tweaked slightly - jumping off a wall no longer pushes you away and you don't stop for a moment when jumping onto a wall, so wall scaling becomes far more fluid. One pickup even lets you stick to a specific point as long as you're pressing against the wall.
  • Weaponized Offspring: Eternal Star is very fond of this spamming dozens and dozens of small Flapps to attack you as the battle rages on.
  • Warm-Up Boss: The first boss will never have any of their most dangerous gimmicks and the arena will always be the least dangerous possible.
  • Yet Another Stupid Death: It's not unusual for players to bite more they can chew and try to fight more enemies they can handle and get mauled to death. If Rock challenge skull is active sometimes the player can forget most stage hazards are now are insta-death and end up getting themselves killed too.
    • It's possible to kill yourself by picking augments that decrease your maximum health (Glass Cannon, Leafmetal Plating...) if you don't have any armor points on you.
  • Year X: The title, in addition to the game actually being set in that time period as a homage to the original Mega Man games.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Nina and Ace recieve "payment" (detonated) if you fail a run before reaching Level 4. Die after Level 4 (but before Level 9) and Drs. Sharp and Flat will instead reward them with a well-deserved "vacation" (flung out into space). Justified, in that they are trying to perfect the bodies of the two, and if you lose, obviously they need to get new bodies somehow...

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