N++ (2015)

Developer: Metanet Software Inc.
Publisher: Metanet Software Inc.
Played On: PC (Steam)
N++ Website

Sometimes sequels can be disappointing. Sometimes that is no fault of the actual game. That’s where I am at with N++. The platforming of N++ comes from the perfecting of a formula. Story doesn’t get in the way of clean visuals with gameplay that consists of running and jumping.  The levels have a great flow and rarely get to the frustrating point. There are bombs, lasers, and missiles that will try to get in the way so timing becomes necessary. The problem I ran into was I’m not motivated to get the best time when playing by myself. Zero cares. In theory you should want to finish levels as fast as you can and gain time by picking up orange blocks throughout the level. Since I don’t care about picking those up and getting better times there is no adrenaline rush. Why does it matter? I only sped up to avoid levels that felt awfully slow and plodding if I didn’t. If you aren’t playing the way N++ wants then “long” levels feel like a chore.

N++ Peaks

Despite all my motivational issues with the game, my biggest gripe remains that I’m no longer sixteen and in my friend’s basement racing against a few geeks. I don’t dislike N++ but I’m a tad older and don’t sit around with friends playing games anymore. That’s why N+ resonated with me so much. It was never the game we came over to play yet when people were waiting for the pool table or to hop into the next Halo match. N+ was the perfect game to pass the controller around while you waited for your turn.

Games can be a gateway to the past but my memories of N+ is so routed in companionship. I never played the game by myself and I almost felt like the game might as well have been multi-player only. Why bother walking through stages rather than racing against friends or traversing the unique co-op traps. N++ feels like a hopping simulator rather than a heart stopping action game where you work with friends to distract missiles while avoiding bombs. That or blow up to kill your friends. Sometimes the fun of the game wasn’t even about success. We were young kids that liked watching stick figures explode across a tiny map. Such fun to have. There were games we played more yet I’m not sure that any game was such spontaneous fun. We played a whole bunch of Halo in my friend’s basement and that always ended up in a lot of grumpy lads who screamed “HOST”. Fun for most but not all. N+ though? That was a game no one could stop laughing at either out of stress and something down right hilarious happening. That’s how laughter works.

Games shouldn’t have to compete with the legacy of the series’ past. That said, it is hard to remove long lasting joyful memories. Probably could separate those thoughts from the quality of the game but that seems like a lot of work so I won’t. I would rather appreciate that N++ is no longer the type of game that fits into my life. The joy N++ brings to me is knowing that there is a group of friends passing the controllers around playing this while waiting for their next activity.

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