N++ (PC) Review

By Thom Compton 05.09.2016 5

Review for N++ on PC

Back in the late 2000s, gaming took a surprising turn, and everything got hard. Really hard, in fact, and the younger generation was surprised by the sharp difficulty spike. While games like VVVVVV, The Mighty Jill Off, and, most notably, Super Meat Boy definitely made the steep difficulty of modern platformers noticeable, one game distilled that difficulty into the simplest of forms. That game was N+, and it's back.

N++ sees the return of the quasi-titular ninja again grabbing gold, and dodging meticulous and deceptive death. In N++, everything can kill you. Spikes, bombs, falling, heck, even a bare ceiling can the little ninja's demise. Nothing is safe, nothing is sacred, but most importantly, nothing is free.

N++ manages to crank the stage count up to an astronomical level. While the multiple thousand level number might seem obvious due to the minimalist art style, it's actually pretty impressive. Level design is the star of the show here, and it wears its colours proudly. If it wasn't top notch, this would be just another cheap imitator. However, roughly 70% of the time, the game absolutely nails even the simplest concepts, acting like a masterclass in platforming.

The other 30%, though, feels—and there's no other way to describe it—cheap. Now, it's easy to say that something is hard, then pout about how it's "cheap." Unfortunately, N++ frequently introduces rules it never even makes an effort to explain. For example, utilising angles to gain height doesn't result in death, just jumping around the screen like a doofus. Figuring these things out is really rewarding, but after a few hundred levels, it just feels like the game is thriving on being difficult, instead of engaging.

Screenshot for N++ on PC

Even if, perhaps, playing through some thousand odd levels isn't your cup of tea, perhaps co-op will satiate the taste buds. In single-player, dying is going to happen, and it will happen often. It will also happen in a blaze of explosions and rag doll bouncing. In co-op, you get to show friends why your hair's been falling out. It's surprising how much fun co-op is, given that, really, the game just slaps in another player. Having this other person changes strategy, and is almost more fun than the main game when played alone.

N++ brings mechanics together that have aged miraculously, even if it feels like the grumpy old man in the room. It is the war-hardened elderly man, complaining about how in his day they used to eat nails and hunt bears with only a handkerchief and a bottle of water. While there's nothing wrong with that, N++ just runs the risk of sounding cranky in its minimalist sadism. Perhaps updating to have some features of more modern games would make it more accessible, but, really, that doesn't seem to be the point. You earn your place here, and it's mostly rewarding, though rarely inviting.

Screenshot for N++ on PC

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

N++ wants you to let your guard down, but that's not always the most fun. While the level design is the closest to perfection many could ask for, the game frequently feels cheap or downright apathetic. Because it comes from a different era of gaming, it doesn't always feel like it cares if you succeed. Fortunately, a friend can be brought along, but it is still watching, waiting for the slightest failure.

Developer

Metanet Software

Publisher

Metanet Software

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Really want to give this a go, but it looks like I'd quickly get pissed off XD

First thing I thought when I saw the video, as well Smilie Same with Super Meat Boy - fantastic, but I don't have the patience Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Seres27 (guest) 05.09.2016#3

wow, did you not get it! It never feels cheap to me. did you know there's a whole layer of secrets?

It still got a "Very Good - Bronze Award," so it's not like the reviewer ripped it to pieces.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

I've yet to play it, but I'm sure you're bound to get a few "cheap-ish" levels in a game with thousands of stages. 70/30 ratio of great/cheap sounds pretty good for a game of this size to me! And like Adam said, Thom still thought it was a really good game in the end.

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