Gacha games are one of those things that I’ve never really gotten into. Whenever I’ve had friends try to get me into something that has monetization in regards to progression, like lives or rolls to collect new characters, it’s an easy decision to keep my wallet closed even should I enjoy the game. Mega Man X Dive was a game I had originally downloaded back in 2021, played a little while, but bounced off it hard due to lives costing real life money and reaching a point where stages would need to be replayed a large number of times to grind out currency for upgrades in order for bosses to not take five minutes of constant shooting to beat.
Thankfully, Mega Man X Dive Offline is a rebalanced PC version of the mobile phone game, X Dive, with all of the monetization removed and progress sped up to accommodate players without encouraging them to drop wads of additional cash. To preface this: It’s a very, very good thing that Capcom took the time to preserve this title, and the subsequent effect of them rebalancing the in-game economy in the way they did actually means that X Dive is now significantly more fun to play than its mobile incarnation.
The story of Mega Man X Dive is simplistic, and effectively just an excuse given to the player to go out and find new programs to materialize into new characters to play as. The database containing information for the entirety of the Mega Man universe has become corrupted due to the absence of an administrator to manage it, so the player is given the task of resolving glitches in the database in the form of using Hunter Programs to remove Maverick Data. You’re initially given Mega Man X as a program so you can jump and shoot your way through the various stages provided, but you’ll quickly unlock many fan favorites from effectively every series of Mega Man. Even fans of Mega Man X Command Mission are thrown a bone here.
The controls for Mega Man X Dive Offline, at least out of the box, will control just like how you’d expect a mobile phone port of a Mega Man X game to play. You can dash, jump, and shoot, but there’s some funky auto aim and auto charging that give the title this cheap, mobile veneer even when using a controller. Thankfully, by exploring the options menu, I found that the auto aim could be turned off, manual aim turned on, and precision jumping (jump height being determined by how long the button is pressed) could also be enabled. Making these quick changes helped X Dive Offline control much more like a Mega Man title and a lot less like a mobile phone port. The controls are completely customizable too, as is tradition, so if you don’t like the button assignments, you can change them, too.
The one thing players can’t really change is the placement of icons for your various weapons and sub-weapons on-screen, as each weapon has a usage limit and cooldown that you need to manage, so those will need to still be visible, so you know how much ammo you have remaining. Your various attacks have ammunition that regenerates over time, indicated by a circle that fills up around the icon, but thankfully this mechanic doesn’t really get into the way of gameplay as much as you’d expect. You can still run around shooting lemons, a gatling gun, or amusingly, a realistic rifle as much as you want and break it up with the occasional missile launcher.
With all the changes you can make to the controls, Mega Man X Dive Offline can be configured to play like a slightly watered down version of a Mega Man X game, but thankfully that’s not all X Dive has to offer. In this title, you don’t just have to play as Mega Man X- you can play as Sigma, Roll, Aile, Bass.exe, or even Tron Bonne from Mega Man Legends. The major hook is that you get to play as a wide variety of characters across the entire Mega Man franchise, and the X Dive Offline version basically gives you a shop where you can spend the currency you make from completing levels to unlock your favorite characters from all the various Mega Man titles throughout the last 36 years.
The good news is that once you get your controls configured how you want them, and once you get a character to which you’re attached, there’s a heaping number of stages to play through in X Dive Offline. There’s something to the tune of 20 different worlds with multiple stages located in each, so if you enjoy the jump and shoot gameplay and the addition of unlocking new characters from the Mega Man franchise history, X Dive Offline can keep you busy for quite a long time. Many of the stages are simplified, likely a concession for the mobile phone format of the original version, but there’s still a very large number of levels for players to clear and enjoy.
The level-to-level progression of the original X Dive was slow and absolutely atrocious for a free player, demanding what felt like part-time job levels of time investment to participate in events if you didn’t pay real money. Thankfully, X Dive Offline is the complete opposite of the mobile phone X Dive experience. In the Offline version, it’s pretty easy to level up at a regular rate without having to replay levels dozens of times, and you get boatloads of the in-game currency to buy characters, weapons, and level up your favorites. This means you’re powering up and unlocking new characters at a consistent and constant rate due to the in-game monetization being removed, which further enables an addiction of, “Why wouldn’t I keep playing to unlock Zinogre Iris?” Gotta catch ‘em all never left, the catchphrase just took a break for a while.
For the most part, the moment-to-moment gameplay of X Dive Offline isn’t bad, especially after changing up the controls, but many of the levels are bite-sized. You can easily finish most levels within a minute or two, which makes sense given that this was a game originally intended to be played on mobile phones while in a waiting room or on the bus. The gameplay itself is serviceable, but it’s very clear that for this Offline version, the appeal of X Dive is to collect all your favorite Mega Man characters and kit them out to deal big damage.
The visuals of X Dive Offline are about what you’d expect of a mobile game port- they do the job well enough, but there’s nothing cutting edge in the graphics, here. The soundtrack, on the other hand, is spectacular, featuring a large number of remixes from all across the series, sometimes even using unreleased tracks from titles like X5. Just like Sonic the Hedgehog, Mega Man titles usually go above and beyond for their soundtracks, and this is no exception (Mega Man 11 doesn’t count).
Overall, Mega Man X Dive Offline should at least be commended for transitioning a free-to-play gacha game to an offline version so those who enjoy that title can continue to play it even after the mobile phone version reached the end of its life. This, honestly, is something I think that most popular gacha games should do, and makes preservation for many of these titles a lot more reasonable (Dragalia Lost being a big loss because they didn’t do this).
Of course, because X Dive was a free to play game, there are some unavoidable issues that pop up- like power creep. Characters and powers added later in a gacha’s life span tend to be overwhelmingly more powerful to incentivize spending, and X Dive is no different- you’ll find a lot of the later, more expensive characters will outright be more powerful than lower rank ones from earlier in the game’s life span.
All that being said, though, Mega Man X Dive Offline is a fun time. It skips a lot of the gacha nonsense that made the mobile phone version a chore to play and rebalanced the in-game economy to compensate for this. If you’re reasonably invested in the Mega Man franchise and have been jonesing for something to play since Mega Man 11 is a few years old, Mega Man X Dive Offline is an easy recommendation, especially if you can snag it on sale. A price of $30 might be a bit too much given the simplistic nature of the title’s levels, but $15 to $20 is probably the perfect price for something celebrating a franchise’s history like this.