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N++ review for Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One


Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Publisher: Metanet Software
Developer: Metanet Software
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-4
Online: Yes
ESRB: E10+

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, N++ has a lot going for it. It’s got flashy, brightly-coloured visuals that you can customize, and it has a pretty catchy electronic soundtrack. Given that it feels like lots of other twitch platformers seem to skimp on both aspects — since, after all, you’re only going to be spending a few seconds in every level — it’s nice to find one that doesn’t.

It’s also nice to see a game that offers so much in terms of selection: N++ boasts that it features more than 4,000 levels. Even if you only spend a few moments on each level, that still means you’ll be playing this for a good long while. Factor in the many, many deaths you’ll endure in every level, and it’s clear that this game isn’t lacking in content.

Of course, between the flashy visuals and the fun soundtrack and the crazy amount of levels, it’s easy to overlook the most important question: is N++ actually any good? And the answer to that is a resounding, “enh, kinda, maybe?”

The problem lies in the fact that the game’s intention and its controls are fundamentally at odds with each other. On the one hand, you have thousands of bite-sized levels, all of them built around the idea that players will need lightning-fast reflexes in order to get by. On the other hand, N++’s controls are woefully imprecise. Jumping is floaty. Your on-screen avatar has a tendency to glide along the ground after he lands, rather than coming to an immediate stop. Basically, imagine if someone tried grafting LittleBigPlanet’s jumping into Super Meat Boy, and then making the ground icy, and you’d have a good idea of what’s in store for players here.

As you can imagine, it doesn’t work so well.

On top of that, N++ isn’t always the most intuitive of games. Most of the levels feature obvious solutions, but every so often the game will throw in total headscratchers without giving you any kind of hint as to what you’re supposed to do. I have nothing against trial and error, and the internet’s existence means it’s easy enough to find solutions if you’re really stuck, but for a game that wants players to rely totally on intuition and muscle memory, it’s kind of weird to have levels that don’t seem to make any sense. It’s not a game-breaking flaw or anything, but it does seem like a weird design choice.

Not as weird as floaty controls in a twitch platformer, mind you. That’s just baffling. There’s something to be said for making players figure out and adapt to your quirks, I guess — and if you’re cool with that, then N++ has more than enough content to keep you occupied for weeks — but given the choice between a game that has solid controls and a game that doesn’t, I don’t know why you wouldn’t pick the former every time.

Metanet Software provided us with an N++ Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: C+