It was 10 years ago, when a platformer arrived on XBLA and instantly became a cult classic. It was addictive, it was hard as old boots, but above all else it was good. Exceptionally good. There was also a plethora of levels, and more than you could shake a stick at. To say it was one of the best games on Xbox 360 would be an understatement, with a simple concept and rock hard difficulty, it kept gamers coming back for more. Now, Metanet Software have returned with what will no doubt be an iconic classic in N++.
First of all, let's talk content. There is a lot of levels in N++ and I'm not kidding. In total, between all game modes and difficulty settings there is 4340 of them to test your skills in. Yes, you read that right. Incomprehensible, but it's most certainly true, and not only that but there's also an option to make your own and share them with the community. This is where you will find even more devious levels than what the developers can muster in some instances. To say that you get incredible value for money is grossly understated here due to the amount of hours that would be required to play every single level within N++. There's also cooperative levels should you be so inclined.
If if you've never heard of the series before, then where have you been? Visually, it has always been kept simple, with focus being entirely on gameplay to prove that realistic graphics are not the be all and end all. This time around, there is a generous selection of different colour schemes available to you, with some only being unlocked after completion of certain episodes. You can even unlock new schemes for your ninja too. The content just keeps coming, and with new colours to unlock and choose from N++ can always be given a makeover should you get bored of seeing the same colours. Cosmetic changes like this are welcone as unlocks rather than cosmetic DLC that some games will offer you these days. Well played Metanet.
Upon starting the game, you are given some beginner levels to start with, and in all honesty, if you can't finish them without dying then you're in for a tough ride. The game will not give you an inch. Not only are Lon falls and land mines a danger to your ninja, but various other enemies are out to get you. There's a generous amount in some levels, and at first it may look impossible. But no level is impossible, just hard. Speed and momentum are your best tools when it comes to completing a level. Before starting any level, I was able to survey what lay ahead which allowed me to plan a route through. Sure I failed several times, and became frustrated with a lack of progress on certain episodes, but that sense of achievement when I finally beat a solid level spurred me on to tackle the next.
Whilst N++ has faultless gameplay, you could be forgiven for thinking that it would be devoid of a soundtrack. Not in this case though. The soundtrack included isn't the sort of music I'd listen too, but here it fits the game perfectly with
When playing the multiplayer, this is where it steps up a few notches. Racing your friends to the end of the level just isn't enough to claim the bragging rights, as if you reach the exit first, you get to control a rocket with which to obliterate your friends should they not be ninja enough to dodge and weave their way to the exit. Extremely satisfying to come out on top, and just plain fun.
Creating your our own levels with the editor is where your inner evil can shine, allowing your imagination to conjure up some devious and devilish levels to share with the community. Some of the levels I tried my hand at where pure evil, with countless enemies and traps ahead which no doubt will prove near impossible to all but the most talented ninjas out there. Outright cycicism in some instances.
The game play is smoother than silk, with no frame rate concerns. I played a lot of levels, and I mean a lot. Nowhere close to the 4000+ included, but it was gratifying to experience those that I did. Even when a level presented me with a route that would put many off, I was determined to not let it prevent me from advancing further. It becomes addicting, forcing you to rethink a route and strategy and giving up is just not an option. You want to be the best Ninja? So do I. This means that one day I will complete every single level, even if it means going slightly crazy in the process.
I've not played a game as infuriating and addictive as N++ since I gave N+ my time. It's tougher than most games out there, has a ridiculous amount of content due to there being over 4000 levels and even a level editor. Oh, and multiplayer. The developer has created the sequel so many wanted, given us new gear and schemes to unlock along the way, and all for a very reasonable price.
Developer: Metanet Software
Publisher: Metanet Software
Release Date: 4th October 2017
Value for Money: 10