N++ is ridiculous, painful, obnoxious, and completely impossible to put down. An action-puzzler, the game thrives on the gambler’s mindset of, “just one more time, and I’ll have it.” With just the right balance of futility and conviction, N++ serves to entertain, frustrate, and test the willpower of its players.
Set in a computerized world, the tiny ninja you control is out to find the switch that opens the exit door, and collect gold pieces on their way out. Like unto Portal, each series of levels begets a more difficult series of levels, each one more intensive than the last. Amidst mines, EMPs, and robots shooting laser beams, each little world is full of danger.
The danger is what makes each level so fun, as the challenge is impossible to ignore. Walls of mines and electric floors cannot deter a determined player, as death does not necessarily breed failure. Besides the inevitable knowledge that comes with death, there is also an element of hilarity. The game has a ragdoll effect that makes a dying character flail about, burst into thousands of pieces, or roll around at the mercy of gravity, much to the amusement of the player. This makes the actual failure of dying just a little less frustrating.
The controls, while seemingly unresponsive at first, generally become second nature. While the controls are minimal, the layout is entirely natural. Fluid and receptive, action placement is very logical and easy to implement into the levels. As I was first playing the game, I discovered how to restart the level by instinctively pushing the Triangle button, with no prior knowledge to its use. Each simple action makes the difficulty of the game less daunting, and more enjoyable.
The one irredeemable quality of the game lies in the music. While musical choice is understandable, it is distracting to the game and difficult to enjoy. The theme to each track seems to be “static,” as the dubstep-esque soundtrack thumps, pops, and grates on in level after level. Unexciting, unoriginal, and entirely unenjoyable, the soundtrack will stay unchanging for minutes at a time, dragging through the same annoying beat through several levels. Not all tracks on the soundtrack are impossible to enjoy, as some have a certain level of transcendence that actually do bring peace to a hard level. However, the idea behind the songs is most likely to promote stress, and the soundtrack makes the game more obnoxious when a difficult level has already tried your patience, and the only comfort lies in a syncopated, whiny soundtrack.
There are over 1,000 levels to enjoy in-game, but outside of the main story, there are infinitely more levels to savor. With a level creator that can be shared through the N++ social system, levels you create can be played by others, and vice versa. The “Most Difficult” levels that other players have created are available for play, all in addition to the already innovative co-op and “Deathmatch” modes.
N++ is perfect for masochists and fans of customizable puzzle games alike. Keeping true to N+, the same tiny ninja is nimble, silly, and a joy to control. Reasonably priced for a more than reasonable amount of fun, N++ is the perfect go-to for any amount of play.
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