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N++ Review: Whiplash

/ Aug 7th, 2015 No Comments

Keeping time is important. Knowing when to speed up or slow down is a useful skill. Call it rhythm or tempo, but it is a key part of delivering a good performance. Platformers often are performative as well, with the more difficult among them becoming dances.

N++ demands a level of skill and performance that will leave players cursing and crushing their controllers between their sweaty palms. It requires flexibility and creativity to succeed. N++ is platforming at its toughest and finest.

Proto-Tango Tempo

To be successful in N++ you need to be a quick learner and able to adjust on the fly. While N++ is difficult as hell, it isn’t your typical platfomer. Precision and quick reflexes are necessary to be sure, but those skills alone won’t ensure your success. The key difference between N++ and other games in a similar vein is how physics affect gameplay.
 

N++

Missiles will get you!

The ninja doesn’t simply move and jump in a static fashion, meaning you won’t start or stop on a dime. If you start running to build momentum, you’ll keep moving after stopping. This can produce such results as sliding into a spike and dying or falling off a platform into a pile of electrified balls. In order to make certain jumps, you need to create momentum and use the environment to add thrust. Speed, momentum and weight all affect how you interact with levels.

Level design takes advantage of this fact. Traps and dangers are placed specifically to punish those who don’t learn how the ninja’s specific physics work. For example, one level is a complete circle. Players must build significant momentum and time level jumps to create a launch effect in order to hit the door trigger while avoiding spikes. In another level, players will run up ledges with moving murder robots. To pass it, you need to build speed and thrust over the robot as it rushes to the other side. All difficulties are built around the way the ninja deals with the game’s physics.
 

N++

Things get crazy tough.

One of the smartest things about N++ is how the game is never really easy, but it scales its challenge as players learn new things. The game breaks levels into introduction, N++ and legacy categories. Early levels help you get a good grasp on how elements of the game work, while slowly introducing new traps and concepts as you progress. You’ll learn to control running and jumps before dealing with moving robots or missile turrets.

However, every new concept introduced is game for later levels. It becomes important to integrate these concepts quickly and be able to combine how the ninja acts in the world around these dangers. Levels become progressively more complex and intricate. The harder levels get, the more they demand flexibility and creativity to achieve success. Players need to use all of the variable concepts with the level design to increase their score and defeat challenges.
 

N++

N++ is about learning the steps and knowing when to improvise.

N++ is truly a dance because it is a lovely combination of steps and improvisation. Most difficult platformers become a routine of memorizing specific steps and executing them flawlessly. Despite learning the level layout, how traps work and putting together a specific strategy in N++, something can and invariably will go wrong. Thus, there is no routine, and instead it is important to have a basic understanding of the steps and an ability to improvise within those steps. You still need to execute, but it isn’t about a set series of moves to make.

Learning Curve

One major portion of N++ is the level editor that comes with the game. It gives users the tools to design their own levels and frustrate and troll other players. When you fire it up, the base palette is empty, giving you a blank canvas to create chaos. As you jump into the level editor, the controls are a bit complicated and hard to get your head around. However, the ability to place blocks and objects is easy once you get used to it.

The level editor utilizes a grid pattern to place blocks. You can control size, shape and fill space with some simple button presses. Once you’ve placed blocks (and an exit/door trigger) as you see fit, you can flip over to the object selector and fill the level with gold, traps and obstacles. After dropping lasers, spikes and gold, you’re ready to test the level out.
 

N++

The level editor is a powerful tool with a slight learning curve.

There is a fun thrill of playtesting your level and finding it a hellish nightmare. Playtesting can be done at any time with a press of the touchpad, making it easy to find out what works and change things on the fly. Refining a level to be difficult yet winnable is an interesting balance. Like all user generated content, mileage may vary, but chances are you’ll find some great levels to play.

Overall

N++ delivers a focused platforming experience that challenges how you approach the genre. The amount of content you get is gigantic. The game offers plenty of levels to dig into and replay. Currently, there are over 2,000 levels, but purchasing it now gets you the upcoming content updates that will add a massive amount of levels. Step your platforming game up, and get down on some N++.

N++ was reviewed on PS4 using a code for the game provided by the developer.
 

Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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N++ REVIEW: WHIPLASH

Gaming Illustrated RATING

Overall91%

REPLAYABILITY9

There is a huge amount of content to dig through in N++ between solo, co-op, and user-created levels. On top of that, the quest to collect massive amounts of gold and up your high score will keep you coming back and retrying levels.

GAMEPLAY9.5

There is a high difficulty in N++ that only increases as you get deeper into the game. It is a testament to the complexity and variability of the platforming that you can never feel too comfortable when facing a challenge in N++. The game constantly demands you figure out new strategies and methods to complete levels.

GRAPHICS9

The minimalistic graphics and style might fool the casual observer into thinking N++ has a simplistic look. However, levels have great composition and intricacies. Plus, when the game goes into motion, the silky smooth frame rate and complex physics interactions create something visually mesmerizing.

SOUND9

N++ has a ton of music to keep your heart rate up as your nerves fray from trying to complete the ever increasingly difficult challenges.