Platform Reviewed – PS4
Developer – Metanet Software Inc
Released – 28th July 2015
Verdict – A++
Retro 2D platformers are fast becoming a tired and stale celebration of nostalgia. Many games pop up on Steam that scream, ‘Buy me, I’m a retro platformer.’ Mediocrity is plaguing my favourite genre so when I play a game as good as N++ my faith is restored.
N++ is a special platformer. I loved its challenge, but never felt frustrated. It has style to spare and packs in over two thousand fast paced levels of incredible ingenuity. This creativity comes mainly from how well the levels cater to the controls. Playing as a beautifully animated Ninja stick-man your every movement is in your hands to judge. In air mobility is crucial in determining how far you need to jump or how much to retract. Every level is so tightly designed that you’d be forgiven in thinking the task ahead is impossible, but then you discover just how intuitive the movement can be. Nailing the physics and weight to the character has enabled Metanet Software to create a game that rewards either a methodical approach to completing levels or a breathless speed run.
Helping N++ stand out in a somewhat oversaturated genre is the developers desire to produce a thouroughly modern platformer. The need to feel retro is something not on their minds. Sure the influences are there but N++ feels like a game made for today and not for yesteryear. Together with the smooth 60fps and 1080 output the minimalist visuals have a crisp style that made me feel like I was playing a spruced up Atari 2600 game. This may sound contradictory but aside from the visuals it’s the expert design and polished gameplay that elevates N++ above the rest.
To add meat to the bones there’s also co-op centric levels and 4-player races. There’s plenty of content to keep you entertained outside of the substantial single player mode. Co-op centric levels and 4-player racing amount to brilliant local multiplayer mayhem but it’s a shame there’s no online. Instead online functionality comes in the form of leaderboards and level sharing with the level creator. I didn’t get to use one myself as I’m too lazy but I looking forward to the crazy contraptions the online community will surely spoil me with. Also included in N++ are unlockable backgrounds to play around with. This changes the art style to suit your preference. I went for the stark black background (top picture) as this felt more suited to helping me focus on the foreground platforming.
N++ is a perfect platformer. Indie games have become their own industrial force now so to have this come along and blow the competition out of the water is no mean feat. This really is an expertly crafted platformer with fair but ruthless challenge, perfect gameplay and a six hour collection of thumping electronic tunes to sweeten the deal. Essential.