I don’t think I would be the only one that will remember playing ‘N’ on a browser during I.T classes back at school. It was one of those games that caught on quick and soon enough everybody in my class was playing that instead of doing their work, terrible I know. That is going back a good 13 or so years, which makes me feel somewhat old, but alas. Since then, N has developed and what we now have on the Nintendo Switch is N++, the third instalment of the N franchise, and is still just as addictive now, as it was all those years ago.
For those that have never played any of these games before, it’s a physics-based platform game in which you play as a stickman/ninja and must work your way through an absurd amount of varied stages. When you load a level up, you see its entire contents on screen at all times, the camera never moves and you always see where the goal is. What this means for us, is that none of the levels are huge monstrosities that seem to never end. Sure, there are levels which can take a while to get through on a single run because it has been densely compressed, but it never seems overly daunting.
The premise is actually very simple indeed. Your goal during each and every stage is to open the goal. To open the goal, you simply have to hit what is essentially a floating rectangular switch that is located somewhere in the stage. This means that once you have hit the switch, you’ve only done half of the job. Your character is very floaty, you don’t jump as you probably would hope you would and it’s all just a little iffy sometimes, which I know will completely put off some people. I personally don’t mind them too much, but I must admit that at times it felt like it was hampering me slightly as I was going through each level, but I did feel that I was getting used to them more, the more I was playing.
There are many lethal hazards in each level which you have to contend with and bypass. The most common ones you’ll be coming across will be things like spikes, homing missiles, and landmines. You are also able to die from falling from a vast height, so you need to be aware of this when making risky jumps and use tricks like wall jumps to avoid hitting the floor if you do fall.
There are gold pieces to collect during each level too and these give you more time to complete the levels as you’re only given ninety seconds as standard. They’re not required in the slightest but they are tracked, however, meaning that you know which levels you haven’t got one hundred percent on, giving you that little extra incentive to go back and find them all. Some of them are in difficult positions though, as you would expect, so it really does feel like an all or nothing at times.
While I never found N++ to be excessively difficult at any point, it certainly wasn’t easy. That is one of the problems with games of this ilk, sometimes they can be overly difficult and start to become very frustrating, to the point where I don’t even want to play anymore. But I never felt that with N++. Community levels are present and they can obviously provide a different challenge should you require one because you know what some creators out there are like. From the community levels that I played, a handful of them was downright cruel, but it provides the better N++ players out there levels that are more akin to their skillset with the game, whilst giving you more game in the process.
N++ is a very simple looking game, anybody can see that. Its style definitely won’t be for everyone and some could even say that its lazy from the developers, but considering the original was a browser game to start with, coupled with the fact that it isn’t supposed to be about the graphics, it’s hard to knock it in that department. N++ is all about the gameplay and its ability to keep you coming back for more. For the most part (slight control issues aside), it nails both of those aspects, which is why I started to forget about how the game looked and instead realised just how much fun I was having, and that is what this game is all about.
You are able to customise the look of the game in a few different ways. Firstly you can change the colour scheme which doesn’t just change how menus look, but also the look during gameplay too. You can change the music played during levels, too, so if you have a favourite then you can keep listening to it. You can unlock more colour schemes and songs as you progress through the game, and there is an obscene amount to unlock. Whether they are really worth your time unlocking, I would say no personally.
You can’t really go wrong with N++. The floaty controls will put some off to start with, but given time, you get used to them and they don’t really become much of a problem. From a game that I played during classes at school thirteen years ago, to now appearing on all of the major consoles. One thing hasn’t changed in all of those years, and that is its ability to make me want to play just one more level. Once it has its claws in you, it won’t let go and considering the community levels mean you potentially have thousands of levels to play, the fun doesn’t need to stop. Platform fans rejoice.
Version Tested: Nintendo Switch
Review copy provided by Metanet Software