N++ (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Shane Jury 19.08.2018

Review for N++ on Nintendo Switch

Starting life as a free PC game in 2004, the original N was created by a team of developers called Metanet Software. Made with inspiration from classic side-scrolling games like Lode Runner, N used a basic concept of both unlocking and reaching an exit within a 2D level, but varied up the environment around that task to a significant degree with each stage. A level editor was present in this early build of the game, and adding user generated content on top of the already generous level quantity was purely icing on the cake. N+ was essentially the console and handheld port a few years later, arriving on Xbox Live Arcade, as well as Nintendo DS and Sony PSP. N++ is the most recent version, hitting PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in 2015, and most other formats not long after (including PC), with the Nintendo Switch version being this year. Is N++ an A Plus Plus, or the bottom of the class?

Continuing along the lines of the previous editions, N++ offers purchasers a vast number of challenges to conquer, displayed in a basic yet striking line-based art style with a considerable number of pumping music tracks and colour palette displays to choose from at will. Despite the minimalist art style, the game is crystal clear on the Switch whether in Portable or Docked mode and maintains a solid frame-rate. The game is far more of a quick play puzzler, so is light on narrative, although does outline the need for the player-controlled Stickmen Ninjas to reach the stage goal before their limited lifespan is diminished.

Screenshot for N++ on Nintendo Switch

Befitting its simple presentation, the main menu of N++ appears almost instantly after start-up, and the Play option is the first thing to be selectable, offering a wide range of easy and difficult levels for the solo player, alongside a selection of stages tailored for co-op play, and a Race mode for up to four users. The Help option on the menu neatly outlines the controls and the concept, but due to how easy they are to grasp, the first few basic levels act well as a tutorial, regardless.

The gameplay hook for N++ is simple to grasp; namely to touch a switch to open the exit, and make it there in one piece. How the levels develop and evolve around this simple premise is the true appeal, and the strongest aspect in encouraging the vital 'One-More-Go' feeling that many notable puzzlers have in spades. Levels can come in many forms, with only the Door Switch and the Exit being the consistent elements of every one; some may have mines dotted around to impede movement, or a laser that tracks Stickmen in their sights. Levels can even be of all shapes and sizes; a long corridor making use of precision jumping, or a vertical shaft that needs timed wall jumps to navigate safely.

Screenshot for N++ on Nintendo Switch

Speaking of which, what the Stickmen Ninjas lack in conventional weaponry and gadgets, they make up for in motional flexibility, with wall jumping and slope sliding aplenty. Too high a drop or a mere touch of a dangerous object will still signal the end of the little Stickman, but their litheness, combined with the fluid controls, make for satisfying movement, and rarely will a death be the fault of the game itself.

Each level also has a secondary goal, and it ties into the time limit for each block of five stages. Gold blocks are scattered strategically in each level, and often require braving more perils or using more time to reach, but can overall increase the allotted limit for each block of five. These blocks are by no means imperative to obtain as the 90 seconds given is usually more than enough to finish all five, but it is a fun extra challenge for those inclined.

Screenshot for N++ on Nintendo Switch

From simply looking at the modes and levels on offer in N++, there is an enormous amount of content to enjoy, but the game goes one step further with a fully featured level creator. Stages can be uploaded online, and a potentially infinite number of stages are available to play. It is a shame that the touch-screen of the Switch wasn't utilised for this mode, but the standard control set is simple to use, regardless. A simple but engaging and fun game concept, backed by a cheap price and limitless content, make N++ on Switch an instinctive no-brainer.

Screenshot for N++ on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

A free-running joy at home or on the go, N++'s tricky yet gratifying array of platformer puzzle levels ensures a worthwhile purchase, and the online options only extend its already considerable lifespan. With single- and multiplayer options fitting the Switch's form factor and detachable controller attributes like a glove, N++ is a strong consideration for top indie game on the eShop.

Developer

Metanet Software

Publisher

Metanet Software

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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