It’s about time! Still better late than never I guess. It’s been a year since Jane Dennis’ review for N++ on its PC release and now it’s finally reached consoles. Jane gave N++ a glowing review and couldn’t praise the versatile and gripping ninja platformer where it’s all about collecting that sweet, sweet gold. Also about dying a lot or trying not to die! So how is the transition onto consoles for N++? Let’s see.

I remember playing the original N+ back in 2007 on the Xbox 360 and loved it. It was a simple platformer that tasked players within various environments harboured by intense obstacles with lateral and physical elements. What made N+ so gripping was its simplicity that allowed all manner of players to join in and took them on an experience that engaged increasing difficulty through various challenges and gave them a satisfying sense of reward on completion. N++ was a sequel which I questioned a lot before its release as I wanted to know how it could do better than the original and what it offers new.

N++ reframes the simple construction of design that the original game had and expands with new modes and a greater degree of challenge for new players and those who mastered the original game. It’s still the simple 2D platformer that focuses on an experience which combines player skill and trial and error gameplay. The levels can range from easy layouts to ones which are more complex, from standard point A to B objectives to races, mazes and more endurance focused sprints and lateral strong platforming. There’s a large variation of styles in level structures and many of them create environments that may present similar elements and dangers but are utilised in different manners.

N++ does encourage players to go out of their comfort zone in order to achieve the highest possible rewards. Collecting gold coins is the staple of the series and in many instances; this simple act can be the most ruthless. Players are normally engaged to activate and find the exit which is simple enough. But by adding in a Mario style collection task, the dynamic of N++ changes completely to offer a new sense of challenge and reward. As everything is timed, it’s vital to collect gold coins in order to extend the time limit. It’s also a clever way at prodding the inner perfectionist within the player. In many of the levels the heart of the challenge is collecting the coins and by doing so you’ll grasp that sense of accomplishment. It’s simple yet very effective.

I will admit that the difficulty does spike even in early stages of the game. As this is a trial and error format of gameplay, don’t be surprise if you find yourself having to retry several levels over and over again. It requires patience but at certain moments even I did rage quit or just shouted out that the level was going too far. It can be a little too antagonising but thankfully there’s no linear level structure and you can play most of the level from the very start. So you can go back at any stage to try and complete a level you were stuck on before.

Some neat features and additions are present with new dangers, new level dynamics and of course a bigger and better formatted level designer. Everything feels slightly more refined with tweaked controls and even the art style has a couple of new tricks up its sleeve. One of the biggest improvements since the last game is the soundtrack which is really awesome, with a bigger selection of instrumental tracks infusing electronica beats and techno jams into a hypnotic trace that’s ideal for the prolonged play sessions.
Overall N++ is simple yet hugely enjoyable. It’s a fantastic blend of player skill and lateral conquest that’s welcoming to new and old players with some neat new tricks that engaging and rewarding. Highly immersive and utterly compelling from start to (if you get there) finish.

Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!

++ Simple but engaging design
++ Gripping and challenging gameplay that's rewarding
+ Neat additions into the level design
+ Good soundtrack
-- Difficulty spikes

An Xbox One copy of N++ was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review