N++ is a 2-d side scrolling platforming game developed and published by Metanet Software. At first glance the game’s aesthetic is very simple, and for the most part it is a simple game. Moving left or right, jumping and wall jumping are pretty much your entire repertoire. Combine those actions with some slight inertia physics and you have an easy to pick up game that anyone can enjoy. It isn’t until the game has slowly eased you into the core that you realize how dastardly N++ is.
The intro section alone has 125 levels, and each one has a little something to offer to teach all the different tricks to approaching a level. The intro also shows you many of the different “enemies” you’ll have to work around. Some levels are crazy simple, while others will have you frustrated to the point of throwing your cat. How hard the game is depends solely on how much of a completionist you are. Every level has these little square gold nuggets that add 2 seconds of time to the level clock, and this is where the game really pulls its replay value from. You don’t have to collect them all, but if you do you’ll be subtly rewarded with a little gold nugget on the stage select screen.
For the sake of writing a solid review, I aimed to collect every single nugget on every single intro level. The rollercoaster of emotions it took to do that was astounding. Some levels I could get in one go, but on others I would spend 20 minutes or more, after which my thumbs would be physically sore. Sometimes I’d forget to blink, or I wouldn’t realize I hadn’t taken in a breath for the whole duration of a level. Sometimes you’ll restart a level over 50 times before you can start to see a way to beat said level.
As a fan of N+, which I played on the 360 I was disappointed that there wasn’t any online multi-player available. Metanet also elected to not have any different color schemes for your ninja; instead you’re offered a plethora of color schemes for the game itself. While complaining about a lack of wardrobe options for my ninja seems a little silly, I do feel that a lack of multiplayer would alienate some of the player base that found the first game enjoyable. One feature that did carry over is the level creation. So while the base game only has 2,360 levels (pfft only), players with a clever or creative itch can upload their own creations, making the level count near infinite.
All in all I liked the way the game felt; the hit boxes are crisp, the controls are intuitive, and with how visually simple the game is, it’s easy to maintain high FPS (which means if you screw up, it is on you). But after about a week of play, I’m happy to move on and give my thumbs a break. So if the idea of destroying the d-pad on your controller sounds like fun then this game might be for you. N++ is available on Steam and the PS4 market place for $14.99