I look like an idiot when playing N++. An intolerable idiot at that, it seems. Apparently, twitching on the sofa when your partner is trying to relax is kinda frowned upon unless it’s a medical emergency.
You see, the problem with N++ (and I say ‘problem’ but it’s really not a problem at all) is that the controls are so damn bloody good. In all my years of playing games, it’s rare to come across one (that isn’t a shooty bang bang thing) where the distance between myself and the controller just disappears and I slip into an approximation of me as one with the game, ‘the zone’ if you will.. Except, the exacting nature of N++ and the fluidity of the movement somehow manages to translate to a curiously physical thing. It’s something a little outside of just pressing buttons, reaching up my arms until every step, every slide, every jump is met with my own body moving at the same time. Not necessarily in time, really.
N++ is the kind of game that ruins other games, y’know?
Of course, it’s not just the controls here. The level design is often wickedly funny in its cruelty, falling way more into the “ah, I see what you did there” camp than “oh, I hate you now” and with each stage being completable by normal functioning human beings and with the option of collecting all the gold for those who are a bit more on the weirdy side of stuff, it’s rarely frustrating in the throwing the controller sense.
Here we have the platformer as frustration because you know, you always know that the next move isn’t out of reach, everything is tuned so beautifully to make sure you always know that it’s you that’s just mucked it up here not the game. You can be better. You can always be better. And N++ lets you be better. Deaths are instant, restarts the same. You live and crucially, you learn.
All the tune of some deep and often stomach rumbling techno.
N++ is so bloody good. So, so bloody good.