Tuesday, 8 January 2019

N++ Ultimate Edition Review (Switch)


We’ve been playing the N series for a long time but the rather lovely limited physical release of the Ultimate Edition on Switch was too much to resist (yes, we actually bought a game to review with our own money!), and a chance to head back into such a pure piece of skill based gaming is something the Switch really needed. The fact the game has now almost doubled in size certainly helps as well.

N++ Ultimate Edition is the final version of the game in the N series and comes packed with a ridiculous amount of content. You get pretty much all the levels from N and N+, N++ and a whole host of new levels of well. In all there are around 4000 thousand levels to test yourself against. If that isn’t enough there are also race and co-op levels to try out. If that still isn’t enough there’s also a level editor to make and share levels online.

As well as levels there are a host of graphical options and music tracks to unlock as well. It’s hard to think how exactly any more could have been squeezed in here. It’s certainly good to have lots of different things to play around with as you’ll be dying a lot. Luckily, restarts are pretty much instantaneous now so you can set off to make exactly the same mistake again in a matter of seconds.

Presentation in N has always been minimalist and it remains the same here with a simple selection of colours for each scheme and clearly defined level design. It means everything is focused on getting your little ninja to zoom around the levels at break neck speed and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We really liked the retro graphic scheme (not a massive surprise perhaps?), which makes the game look Vectrex-esque with lots of neon outlines.

The goal of each level is to hit a switch that opens the exit door and then make your way to it. A timer bar continually ticks down throughout the set of levels you have picked and it can be topped up by picking up little gold squares. Hit the switch, grab the squares and avoid the mines and obstacles and then move on. That is essentially it, a simple concept but one that never gets old.

With the new levels come some new enemies to get your head around. The missile and gun turrets return along with all your most loathed contraptions from before but now you also have to deal with a host of new death machines such as the evil ninjas that follow your exact movement trail. Of course if they catch you it’s all over but then everything kills you in this game. Everything.

The gameplay itself is based around an inertia system. As your ninja runs, jumps and falls they pick up speed which can then be used to launch off surfaces or up the side of walls. Hit the ground from too high and you die, but hit the ground on a downward slope and your ninja will just keep running ready for the next set of acrobatics. It’s a simple system that works perfectly and you can only wonder how long it took to balance out in testing. Most importantly it makes you feel like a badass super ninja and when you get the flow of a level there a few better feelings. Luckily, the game allows you to watch replays of both your and everyone else’s best runs to show off and also see how to shave seconds off your time.

Overall, N++ is an outstanding game. It’s just so full of excellent content and imaginative ideas that platform fans have to check it out. It’ll also last you forever and even if you do get through everything then you can start designing your own levels. It’s the definitive version of one of the best indie games ever. Buy it, love it and get killed thousands of times in it.

Overall 9/10

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