n++ - Steam Review
- Platform: PC (Reviewed) & PlayStation 4
- Players: 1-4 (local play only)
- Achievements: Yes
- Steam Trading Cards: Yes
- Controller Support : Yes; Full
- Retail Price: $14.99
High Level Premise: Fast-paced, single-screen, momentum based platforming
Graphics/Style: Very minimal graphics, everything moves incredibly smoothly
Music/Soundtrack: Very much matches the graphical style: minimal, sparse, ambient techno
Story: There is a story about being a ninja with a super fast metabolism that only has 90 seconds to live unless you collect gold...but in reality there is no story to worry about.
Replay-ability: Controller throwing high
Time Commitment: each set of 5 levels will only take you 2-3 minutes to beat...unless you can't get by one of them, then all day.
Value: If it would have had online multi-player, then I'd say $15 is a no-brainer. It's a fun game, but given the Steam environment , $15 does seem a touch on the high side. There is a lot of play in this game though, you'll probably rage quit before you run out of levels.
Favorite Element: Over 2000 levels of insanity.
n++ is the third game in the n series, which started out life as a freeware flash game (which you can still play and download at http://www.thewayoftheninja.org/ !!) The game is a single-screen momentum based platformer. This basically means that if you can string moves together, you can practically fly and whiz around the screen like crazy. This is a good thing because nearly everything on screen can kill you.
I initially became aware of the series when the second game (n+) came out on XBox Live. If I were to estimate, I would say I spent more time with this little downloadable game than I did with any $60 top-shelf release. I also played through it on the DS and the PSP (yes, there were different levels). So it was with great excitement a couple years ago when I saw the n++ was on the way. I was almost immediately disappointed when they announced it to be a PS4 exclusive. Thankfully, after 13 months, n++ finally came to Steam.
The basics of n++ are unchanged from the other games. You are a tiny stick figure ninja, you are faced with a single screen full of crazy enemies, wild angles, and cavernous gaps. You also only have 90 seconds to live. You can extend your life by collecting the gold strewn about the screen, but beware because the deadliest enemies always hang out near the most tempting gold. Fortunately, as a ninja, you can run, jump, wall jump, and slide down walls with ease. Your main goal is to find the switch that opens the door that leads to the next level and then get out that door.
Levels in n++ are presented in 5-level packages. You have to get through all 5 levels in order to unlock another set. Thankfully, the designers do give you a lot of packs already unlocked should one level prove too difficult. There are three main modes for single player play: Training, n++, and Legacy. Training is what you think it is, n++ mode is the place where you'll find hundreds of brand new hand-made levels (suck it, "procedurally generated"), and Legacy mode is an additional few hundred classic levels from all of the other games, remastered for widescreen displays. There is a lot of content here...
And that is just the solo mode! The is also a robust set of cooperative levels you can tackle with your friends. Unfortunately, there's no online play, but still, if you have a few pals nearby - this mode can be great fun. Especially when there are level where one player will have to sacrifice themselves for the greater good. There is also a race mode where speed is the only goal.
I've always felt the reason the n series has been so good is that the controls are the pure definition of smooth. When you die 247 times in a level, you know it was your own fault all 247 times. This entry is no exception. Controls are tight and precise. The momentum is a tough thing to manage sometimes, you can't change direction in mid air on a dime like in some games. But the moment when you nail a triple wall jump that propels you 3/4 the length of the screen onto the door all while dodging rotating laser beams...it's exhilarating.
Downsides to this game are few, and mostly unrelated to the game play itself. I do miss little things like the signature red scarf the character wore in n+ and the variety of victory poses you had in the other games. I mean, come on, give us the Dab at least!! The music is sparse and ambient, but most of it is also not very good. Thankfully there are 63 tracks, so you aren't punished with the same song every time you play, but I would consider outside music sources. The other thing I'm not a fan of are the "funlocks." Most of them take the shape of unlockable color schemes. Almost uniformly they are UGLY and several are painful on the eyes. While the main look isn't all that exciting, it's at least inoffensive.
There is a robust level editor and community level section...in case you somehow get bored with the rest of the content.
n++ is a great package. It's chock full of hard, but (mostly) fair platforming goodness. I've read that this is going to be the final game in the n series. It's going out on an incredibly strong note. My only major wish is that they find some way to have some sort of online play for multiplayer and race modes. We had it on the XBLA version, it should be easy to implement here.