20 Minutes Till Dawn is a top-down roguelike shooter in the vein of Vampire Survivors. You face an endless horde of enemies, gaining experience and new abilities along the way, trying to last as long as you can — or rather, 20 minutes pass and dawn breaks.
Though they have their similarities, the games are also quite different. This game has its own quirks, that you might want to know about before buying in at its admittedly cheap price. So you know what you’re getting into, here are some things you should note before starting the game.
7 You Aim And Fire Your Guns
Though comparisons between this game and Vampire Survivor are inevitable, they’re actually different in a couple of important ways. Perhaps the most important is that in 20 Minutes Till Dawn, you actually have to aim and shoot your guns, as opposed to having your offensive skills go off at set intervals.
This wrinkle makes the game play more like a twin-stick shooter, akin to games like Atomicrops where accuracy matters almost as much as your build. There are some exceptions to this, especially when it comes to Summon skills, which act on their own and/or target towards your cursor.
6 Rune Purchases Are Permanent
20 Minutes Till Dawn has a meta-progression mechanic in the form of runes. You can buy these with Souls, earned after a run, with the amount determined by your performance. These runes are split over offensive skills (Sword) and defensive skills (Shield).
Each skill has five ranks and there are three in a tier, getting more expensive as you go further up the tree. You can pick one rune per tier each for Sword and Shield. There is no way to refund spent Souls, so use them wisely — but also keep in mind that you can earn as many Souls as you want, as long as you keep playing.
5 Each Character Has Their Own In-Run Upgrades
Anyone who played the demo knows that the bosses, tough enemies highlighted in red, either drop chests or pentagrams. Pentagrams allow you to choose from powerful upgrades that come with a hefty drawback, while chests give you a random skill and some experience points.
In the actual game, what you get in the chests is dependent on which character you’re playing, and often synergize with their unique skill. They’re still random, but each character only has two, so you’ll get the other one when you kill another boss with a chest.
4 The Game Can Get Disorienting
The game starts out pretty quietly, with only a few enemies and whatever starting gun you choose. However, 20 Minutes has a relatively short time for the game to ramp up, and pretty shortly the enemies start pouring in and getting tough, and your build can get pretty wild.
Though the game has an artistically simple aesthetic, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly as the screen fills with enemies, lightning, bats, bullets and more. A few of the builds that are possible can almost make it seem like the screen is strobing, so be careful, all the epileptics out there.
3 You Can’t Kill The Trees
Like everything that isn’t you, your bullets or the ground, the trees in this game are some kind of eldritch abomination. And like all the eldritch abominations in the game, touching them will hurt you.
Now, you may think, if it can hurt you, then you can kill it. This is a line of thought bolstered by the fact that you can actually damage the trees — they even show damage values when you shoot them. Unfortunately, the trees are more like stage hazards than enemies and can’t be killed, no matter how bad you are with plants. So, y’know, watch where you’re going.
2 Reloading Works Funny
In the demo, reloading your weapon happened either when you ran out of ammo or when you triggered it yourself. This is still true in the actual game, but now the game will also automatically start reloading your weapon if you wait long enough to fire, though you can interrupt the process by firing your gun.
While it’s not a huge problem, it can be unintuitive, since there are a few runes and upgrades that trigger when you reload or run out of ammo. This means you lose a lot of fine control over those, when your gun will just reload whenever.
1 It’s In Early Access
Even in the 10 Minutes Till Dawn demo, this game showed a lot of polish, so it’s easy to forget that this game is a work in progress. There might be a few bugs to work out, like how Hina’s clone will retain attack speed buffs between runs, which when paired with the Magic Lens ability, may cause your game to crash.
There are also likely to be a few changes in mechanics between now and when the game releases for a version 1.0, like how the Flame Launcher and reloading mechanics changed between the original release of the game and now. Of course, there are plenty of examples of fun early access games, so don’t let this deter you.