Metanet Software have had increased success over the years with their games N and N+. These basic looking games have received both enjoyment and rage from fans and continue to do so even to this day with numerous awards granted. Recently the third edition N++ was released on Xbox One following its earlier availability on PC and PS4. I’m keen to see how long I can last before my temper flares again.
N++ continues to bring multitudes of challenges to the players who will be put to the test in this simple-looking, but surprisingly addictive game. I admit that prior to receiving this copy, I had not played any earlier versions or releases of the N series games. If you also have never played it, I will cover the basics to explain the goal and obstacles you are going to encounter.
Your character is basically a stick man located somewhere on a 2D room. Your objective is simple, get to the door, but it’s not that simple. You will need to locate and activate the button that opens it and this generally requires some obstacle. If I were to list the different obstacles, this review would be very large and likely to not be readable for some time. The reason is that there are so many levels/rooms to complete, that completing the game is not a quick task. To name a few though, there may be mines located on the walls or floor, some form of robot that can hit you, whether physically, with lightning or rockets. There may be some platforms for you to traverse or objects to assist in movement or jumping. Let’s just say that there is a lot and move on.
Unless you are a speed runner whose main goal is to complete each level in the fastest time, and that is an option for you, you may want to collect all the yellow squares in the room before exiting, that is your choice but some may require considerable planning. I discovered that sometimes there may be one almost completely hidden and will require another go to obtain the symbol to show which rooms you achieved this goal. Be warned though, some rooms have the yellow squares located just behind the door and unless you are very careful, you’re likely to activate the exit before obtaining these which can be quite frustrating on its own.
Controlling your character can be an obstacle in itself. Sure, all you do is run and jump but sometimes you may need to time your speed in order to not instantly blow yourself to pieces. Other times you may require a considerable run-up to get enough speed to leap over obstacles or large gaps. You do have the ability to jump up walls where required and even this can be affected by your speed and smoothness of controls. A lesson I learned early was, even though your character can perform ridiculously impossible jumps and actions, you are still restricted to the distance you can fall without splattering all over the ground. Thankfully, you can slow your decent via sliding down walls, or landing on a sloped surface.
I did mention earlier that there are a lot of rooms included in this game and to give you some sort of scale, the number exceeds 5000, so I’m sure you’ll understand that I have not yet completed them all yet but am keen to enjoy doing so in the future. What I did like, is the variety of each room shape, obstacles and goals. I don’t recall seeing any that even remotely looked similar to another, that is a great achievement for the developer from anyone’s point of view.
I have to admit that I really do enjoy playing N++, but it can get considerably frustrating but unlike most games that have touched my temper with a taser, the only one I can really blame for my failed attempts is myself. So I find myself in a conflicted situation, I scream at the TV (which I am aware is pointless) but I am always at fault. I didn’t jump far enough, I jumped from the top of the screen and didn’t slow my decent, I ran into that drone despite knowing that it was incorrect. Damn it, I want to blame the game but I can’t. Well played N++, well played.
Audio & Visuals
I have already discussed the visuals of this game and you would be able to get a fair indication from the pictures I have included throughout this review. In the world we live in, with high demands for ultra high resolution and frame rates, this simplistic-looking game has been done in the appropriate amount of detail. When you consider the first version of the game was made as a Flash game, you can understand the decision to retain its original appeal, and let’s be honest, it’s fine the way it is and does not need to be remastered with a fully fleshed out character or pretty backgrounds. The game runs very well which is to be expected considering the low system requirements to run it.
Included with the game is a great assortment or music to keep you entertained and somewhat hide your screams of anger from your neighbours. If anything, I found this to be a bit too loud, especially when using a headset. When in a party chat, I had to reduce the game volume to 1 and it still was making clear conversation a struggle.
You do have the option to play this game with up to 3 of your friends. This could be quite entertaining and enjoyable however, as none of my friends have a copy at the time of writing this review, I was unable to experience this feature.
There’s not much you can say that faults N++, it is entertaining, challenging and addictive. A good choice for fans of puzzle games. Metanet Software have got another winner on their hands and it is great to see this version finally come to the Xbox One.