Currently, the gaming scene is swamped with platformers of one kind or another- you can’t escape Steam’s featured page without running into a puzzle-platformer or an adventure platformer of some kind. N++, however, is a different story.
The history of N++ goes back a lot further than you might think. Beginning as freeware flash game N in 2004, developer Metanet software unwittingly created one of the most fluid platformers of all time. N+ was incredibly similar, released on more platforms such as Nintendo DS, Xbox Live Arcade and PSP.
That brings us to N++, released in 2015 for PC, Xbox One and PS4, which may make some consider this title less of an underrated gem and more of the latest in a successful indie series. However, having asked around, not many people I know seem to have heard of it. Perhaps, then, the N series has for too long lingered in cult territory and is largely forgotten by modern audiences. With that in mind, allow me to make a case for the N series for new audiences.
Not to mention the frankly incredible controls, N++ adds to the enormous volume of levels that the series is known for.
This latest entry, as the name implies, very much iterates on the established formula of the series. The player is a ninja, and must navigate through a sequence of short, minimalist ‘episodes’, each with five stages. This may seem iterative and boring, however with such satisfying physics and buttery-smooth movement, N++ is a platforming darling that puts even Super Meat Boy to shame.
Only using three buttons (left, right and a jump), this simple set of controls and mechanics quickly becomes an intricate balancing act of speed, momentum and direction as the player is challenged by countless stages of increasing difficulty.
N++ is a platforming darling that puts even Super Meat Boy to shame.
Before you know it, you’ll be pulling off needle-threading maneuvers and using ramps to narrowly avoid death, all in effort to shave precious milliseconds off of your score (which also serves as a time limit that is always decreasing). This blend of simple but intricate physics, as well as minimal but expansive design makes N++ a speedrunner’s dream.
Not to mention the frankly incredible controls, N++ adds to the enormous volume of levels that the series is known for. The default singleplayer alone has 1625 original levels, plus thousands of player-created levels which are also easily accessible. Add in a healthy community dedicated to creating some of the most rock-solid levels you’ve ever seen, and you have a recipe for the ballet of platform games.