Tech News on G4
N++ is endlessly engaging
Sept 4, 2015
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
So far this year, we have seen or will be seeing all the usual suspects in the video game world - zombies, robots, superheroes, war heroes, and plenty of familiar mascots. None of those characters can hold a candle, though, to the masochistic ninjas that populate the utterly brilliant N++.
It's been seven long years since the last title in the series, aptly named N+, and it's clear that that time was not wasted. N++ is instantly identifiable as a sequel, but there's so much cool stuff added and refined here, that it feels in some ways like a brand new game.
For those of you who haven't played N, N+, or N++, the basic premise is dead simple: you're a ninja stuck in a room, and all you need to do to get out is activate a switch to open a door, and then reach the door.
Of course, N++ throws plenty of curveballs your way in any given level, whether it's heat-seeking missiles, mines, deadly ninja clones, or lasers, just for starters. Making things even more complicated are the gold blocks that are scattered throughout each stage. Getting through a door safely usually isn't too difficult, but finishing levels with all the gold is a whole other ball of wax, and it's this challenge that will surely have you replaying levels dozens of times.
There are many reasons why N++ is so spectacular - we'll go through a lot of them in a moment - but the biggest one is its physics. Players will have to use trial and error to learn how to gain momentum, as it's momentum that you'll need in order to complete many of the challenges in the game.
Besides some cursory text hidden in the game's menu, there is no tutorial or any sort of hand-holding in N++. You learn by dying, and as frustrating as that can be sometimes, that is exactly what will have you coming back again and again, even after you've been zapped by the same Pac-Man-wannabe for what seems like the thousandth time.
Toronto-based developer Metanet Software Inc. has created a ton of levels to keep you busy for a long, long time, but with its excellent level creator, the game's makers have fully embraced the world of content creation and sharing. Simply put, you'll have plenty to do for months - maybe years - regardless if you're a player, creator, or both.
The multiplayer in N++, which allows up to four people at once to join in, is a revelation unto itself. Co-op levels will require some serious thought, along with plenty of acts of selfless ninja heroism.
Race mode, which acts essentially as the game's competitive multiplayer, is equally as fun. Instead of heroic acts in the name of saving your fellow ninjas, you'll be activating mines, shooting rockets, and stealing gold to earn the highest score in each set of five levels.
There are plenty of other things that make N++ so wonderful. The menus are some of the slickest I've ever seen, and the navigation makes it dead simple to do anything, whether it's searching for levels your friends have favourited, or simply changing the current music track.
Speaking of which (how's that for a ninja-like segue?), N++ also incorporates one of the best video game soundtracks - with six hours worth of music according to the developers - I've listened to in a long time. Every song manages to blend into the background, allowing you to enjoy the beats while you fall into yet another trance-like state as you focus on perfecting another level.
Then there are the minimalist graphics, which perfectly match the game's simple gameplay. As tough as N++ can be, it's actually a great title to introduce to more casual gamers, simply because its core mechanics can be learned in all of about five minutes. In fact, a friend of mine who barely touches game consoles was hooked by the co-op levels in N++.
There really aren't a lot of negative things I can say about N++. It's a tad disappointing that the multiplayer modes aren't online-capable, but considering how awesome the experience is when you're playing on the couch beside someone, that may be a blessing in disguise.
This is one the most well-put-together gaming packages to come out on the current generation of consoles, and the simplicity of N++ is one of its greatest assets.
Unlike the deft and subtle ninja stick figures that populate N++, I'll be far blunter with my final observation of the game - it's awesome, and you should play it immediately.
About G4 in Canada
G4 Canada (formerly TechTV Canada) launched in September 2001. G4 is the one and only television station that is plugged into every dimension of games, gear, gadgets and gigabytes. Owned Rogers Media Inc., the channel airs more than 24 original series. G4 is available on digital cable and satellite. For more information, see www.g4tv.ca.