Short Takes: N++ (PS4) - Punishing Platforming Perfection
Note: Due to the absurd amount of levels featured in this game (not including the ones created by the community!), we are still making our way through the entire game. Stay tuned for our full review.
Developer: Metanet Software Inc. (@MetanetSoftware)
When Sony announced the games for this year's PSN Play promotion, I wasn't fully onboard with the selections. Sure, I was excited to play Journey again — it's an excellent game that should be experienced by all — but I've played it before. I already had a growing interest in Everybody's Gone to The Rapture, based on positive impressions from industry insiders. However, N++ was an unknown quantity; I was completely ignorant of the game and its predecessors. Over time, though, I began to hear good things, like the fact that it's a platformer with retro-inspired graphics, tight controls, and an awesome soundtrack. It started to sound pretty good. Now that I've spent some time with the game, I can attest that these reports are accurate.
N++ is described as an "action-packed puzzle-platformer." I don't know about the "puzzle" part, but the "action" and "platformer" aspects are on display in full force. As a stick-figure ninja, your job is simply to get to the exit door of each level. In order to do so, you must first press a button to open the door, and then reach the exit without being destroyed by the "unintentionally homicidal" enemies found throughout the game. If you ask me, the enemies seem pretty clear of their intentions! You traverse each level by running, jumping, and kicking off of walls. Momentum plays a large role, as you can jump higher and farther by getting a running start. If you fall from a great height, you die. However, if you land on an incline, you can survive such a fall. It's even possible to kick all the way up to the top of a wall if you employ good timing in your button presses. Each stage contains several pieces of gold that can be collected, which will extend the time limit for completing the level. This is where the real challenge comes in. Beating the game is one thing, but if you can collect all of the gold in every level, then you are a true ninja master! I haven't completed all of the levels in N++ yet, but I've enjoyed what I've experienced so far.
The bottom line is this: If you're looking for a significant platforming challenge, then N++ is your game! The controls feel great, the levels are well designed, and the soundtrack is first-rate. However, if you get easily frustrated by near-impossible odds, then maybe you'd be better off playing Journey.