This game needs a warning: Perfectionists, do not buy it unless you are sure you want to play well over 4000 levels as you try to get every gold possible.
I know, it’s a long warning, but it’s true.
Welcome to N++, the reported best hardcore-platformer on the market. It is the younger sibling of N+, which might as well stand for Ninja+. So, I guess that makes this Ninja++? Anyhow, this is a game where you play as a little stick figure and have to complete sets of levels, trying to complete each as quickly as possible whilst collecting as much gold as possible. Each level set seems to introduce something new, whether it be a harder version of a previous level, or even the occasional new obstacle.
You have to run, jump, wall jump, and slide your way through each increasingly difficult stage, and you will learn how to complete each subsequent one as if you were at a bomb disarming cacademy. You’ll definitely detonate a few times, but once you get the hang of it, will start clipping your way through levels and making a name for yourself on the global leaderboards.
There are easily a thousand levels and more, with each one centered around a different obstacle and a different skill that will put you through your paces. There is the occasional easy level, but then the next one will make you work for your place on that leaderboard. Went too slow and you want to place higher on the leaderboard? Redo the level set, go back and relearn the lessons that were taught, and then maybe you’ll earn your commendation.
Honestly, when I put it like that, it makes it sound like a boot camp. Well, N++ really is.
The tutorials are hard, but they’re just a fraction of the difficulty you’ll face from some of the latter stages in the N++ selection. Finish those? Move on to the Ultimate levels, and then dip back and play the classic levels. Once you finish all of those, which will probably take you around 30-40 hours of gameplay, you can take a break and play with your friends in co-op mode. You see, each level is designed around using two ninjas to complete the course – the bright side is that only one of you has to make it to the door, and in some levels, that is made clear, for you will have to occasionally sacrifice one player to complete the level.
Don’t fret though as this game is a quick restarter. The only loading time I ever experienced was to head into the main menu, and as soon as you tap A and access the level select, you have to only wait mere milliseconds to get into the next lot of action. This is good, for you will probably die quite often. Sometimes you’ll walk into a mine, or hold the A button down for a second too long. The only thing that you’ll never die from, at least in my experience, is the game screwing up.
Everything about the creation of N++ is precise. The levels are designed to ensure you are on the brink of your skill level each time, with it always presenting a new and exciting challenge that will surely get your blood pumping and your fingers moving as you try to conquer this beast of a game. It is frustrating, there can be no denying, but it’s usually frustration at yourself for not being able to pull something off, or for screwing that final jump up right before making it to those steel doors at the end.
All is well in the N++ garden, but if there’s one complaint I have it’s in regards some of the color schemes. You unlock them occasionally on completion of a level, and most of them are very nice and easy on the eyes, which is really good should you ever try to play this game for hours in a stretch. Some of the other ones however, whilst looking nice, could do with a little bit of dulling in color, just to not burn out your retina before you complete your level set. And if you’re like me, you might not figure out how to change these options until you’ve had to swim through ten level sets, of which there are five levels in each set. I might have skipped a tutorial, but I don’t remember anything outside the tutorial that would have alerted me to this feature.
Aside from that one issue, I adore N++. It’s sleek, it’s precise, and it is an absolute blast. The only other thing I wish it had would be Xbox Play Anywhere as a feature, as I would like to play it on my computer, for I feel like a keyboard might make for an easier time with the precision jump levels. That being said, I would recommend using the d-pad on your controller and not the analog stick. I tried the stick and can only describe it as being more miserable than standing in the rain in a suit made of paper bags. This is a very unforgiving game, and so you want as much control over it as possible.
Everything considered, N++ is an absolute gem. Anyone who wants a platformer should buy this game. It might be preferable for some to have it on PC, but that’s really up to consumer preference and this is one of those games that you can pick up, play for a few levels, and begrudgingly put down again as you go about your day. Before heading back again sooner than you intended.