N++ is the latest (and supposedly the last) instalment of platforming chaos from Metanet Software Inc. Having been released previously on PS4 last year, the game has finally made its way onto PCs. N++ is the sequel to the game N and N+, so you can assume what the latest title has in store for you. With over 2,360 hand-crafted levels, level editors and local co-op to name a few features, N++ will keep you more than occupied as you brace yourself for its tough obstacles.
N++ labels itself as a fast-paced, momentum-based platformer, and it’s not hard to see why. You’ll constantly be relying on speed and motion as you parkour your way up walls and platforms to master obstacles successfully. Even the way your character slides to stop in place after running, all needs to be factored in as you desperately try to evade enemies and avoid plunging to your death. Each level of the game becomes incrementally more difficult than the last with the introduction of new objects and gameplay mechanics, keeping each level fresh and different from the last.
It goes without saying that N++ can be a challenging game and you won’t find any difficulty settings to cater to you here. Instead, you’ll have to rely solely on skill and wit alone to overcome each level. Admittedly, this can be frustrating especially when a particular instance is giving you grief, but this is arguably one of the best things about playing the game. After a few hundred deaths, you’ll eventually get better and beat the level which makes for a truly rewarding experience. Practice makes perfect as they say and N++ makes you practice a lot.
Apart from the diabolical level design, you’ll also be collecting little yellow blocks which adds to a timer in each level. Picking up these blocks are an integral part of the gameplay because when that timer runs out you die and start again. This all adds to the challenge here, but it wouldn’t be a fast-paced platformer without it. The game can be thought of as a speed run of events as some levels may take you a few seconds to complete while others may last a few minutes. Your time also gets logged onto a leaderboard after you successfully complete each level. There are three modes available in the game starting with solo, co-op for up to four players, and race mode. Race mode proves to be more challenging as the timer never resets making each unfortunate death affect how quickly you finish a certain level.
The animations for your untimely demise in N++ are pretty brutal yet comical as your poor stick-figure character gets its tiny limbs blown to pieces in every which way. In fact, there is a lot of humour in this game, from the clever titles written in each level that sometimes hint at what your supposed to do, to the general ridiculous feats of the level design.
The art-style of N++ portrays a minimalist aesthetic with little colour variants and simplified objects but this all ties into the feel of the game exceptionally well. There are various colour schemes to choose from with the added incentive of unlocking more as you play. Each colour scheme is still minimalist in style but the different splashes of various colours are enough to keep the game continuously unique without a drab moment. There seems to be a strong computational theme which is interesting. This is heavily showcased through the aesthetic and level chapters that are labelled with strange numerical codes. Even the soundtrack compliments this theme further with some great electronically composed techno vibes.
When it comes down to it N++ is an incredibly fun game that gives you an addictive rewarding feeling. It may not feature an overly interesting story or characters but obviously, this is not what the game is about. The number of features within this game alone make it worthwhile, not to mention its beautiful minimalist aesthetic. N++ is a great game to have in your arsenal if you adore challenging platformers with a lot of polish.
Sunita Osborne is a freelance journalist and contributor to PN2. You can find her on Twitter @SunitaOsborne