Posted 28 February

New N++ trailer offers first glimpse of the cult platformer on PS4

Find out what to expect from the follow-up to the 2008 indie sensation

Hi everyone! This is Metanet, back with another update.

Since our last post, we’ve been focused on getting N++ into an alpha state – this mostly involved adding all of the particle effects, sounds, and animation that help to really bring things to life. While the main core of the game has been working for a while, it’s nice to finally see things with more bells and whistles!

We’ve also been making and arranging levels (this is a continuous process that will go on right up until the game ships) as well as doing some playtesting. So far people are responding well to the new levels, although we may have made some of them a bit too hard ;)

The good news is: we now have a playable demo which we’ll be showing soon, at BitSummit and Game Developers Conference. If you’ll be at either of those events, please stop by and check it out!

For those of you who don’t really know what N++ is, today we’re going to delve further into one simple question: “what is N++?”

1

The genre of game that best describes N++ is without a doubt “platformer”: you play as a tiny ninja who runs and jumps around a 2D side-view world full of interactive objects and deadly enemies, collecting gold and trying to make it safely to the next level. It’s fast-paced, tense and exciting.

However, N++ has a unique feel which distinguishes it from other platformers: the ninja moves with an exaggerated sense of inertia and momentum.

Gradually learning how to control the ninja – developing an intuition for how it will react and how to harness its momentum – is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the game. Once mastered, the ninja is capable of some fantastically agile acrobatics; there’s nothing like the thrill of pulling off a difficult manoeuvre to soar untouched through a swarm of enemies.

2

The levels in N++ are also a bit different from traditional platformer fare. Instead of just boxy square tiles, there are many angled surfaces and smooth curves. This is no accident – the ninja’s momentum-based movement means that hills and slopes can be used as ramps to launch off, and learning how to use the environment to your advantage is a key part of playing the game.

The ninja can jump up walls almost as easily as running along the ground, which opens things up vertically and leads to a very dynamic and diverse range of levels. Playing N++ is kind of like what we imagine parkour/freerunning to be like – although much less physically demanding!

3

Each level is contained within a single 16:9 screen, which makes the game feel a bit like a puzzle-platformer. The question of each level is: can you figure out a safe route to the exit? More importantly, can you actually perform/execute this route?

N++ is very fast-paced, and there aren’t many places where you can rest and plan out a route – the enemies just keep on coming, and they can’t be stopped, so you need to be able to think on your feet.

In order to beat a level, you have to first touch a switch which opens the exit, then get to the exit alive. Sometimes the switch is behind locked doors, and usually it’s guarded by several inadvertently homicidal robots. Occasionally the path to the switch is long, so you’ll need to collect gold along the way to add to your timer – the clock is always ticking, and running out of time means game over.

4

In any case, because the level is visible all at once, you can take some time to mentally prepare before the level starts — thinking about what will be involved in traversing the space and working out where you need to go in order to successfully get the switch and make it to the exit in one piece is important.

Although there are hundreds of them, each N++ level explores a different feeling, puzzle, or set of skills. Some are claustrophobic, others are vast and spacious; some are relatively short and easy, others are long and challenging. You’ll need to be flexible and creative to get through all of them!

5

Another unique aspect of N++ is the graphical style: it’s made up of very smooth, very clean anti-aliased vector shapes. We have put a lot of effort into making things as beautiful as possible, enlisting a minimalist aesthetic so that the levels aren’t cluttered up with distracting detail – every graphic and bit of movement on the screen is significant.

Structuring the graphics this way lets you as a player very quickly “read” the state of the world with a minimum of effort, allowing you to focus on controlling the ninja rather than parsing a lot of extraneous visual information. Streamlining the visual experience lets us make the levels more complex and dynamic without overwhelming you or making deaths feel unfair.

6

The vector graphics also enhance the smoothness of motion, allowing you to better feel the ninja’s movement across fractions of a pixel. N++ is a game of precision, and when you’re trying to guide your ninja safely through a dangerous level, every pixel counts! As you attempt to solve each level, you’ll probably die a lot – but restarting the level is almost instantaneous, and you can retry as many times as you’d like.

7

The adjective which best describes N++ is probably a tie between “difficult” and “fun”; the game can be quite challenging to master, however this creates a profound sense of accomplishment as you learn and develop your ninja skills.

Levels which seem impossible at first become easy as you get a feel for playing, and possibilities open up as you learn new techniques and strategies. By the end of the game, you’ll be flying through densely populated worlds with a series of perfectly executed moves… sometimes right into a mine ;)

8

N++ will also feature several multiplayer modes which let you cooperate or compete with your friends.

Co-op sees two ninjas helping each other to reach the exit alive; these levels tend to be fairly devious and often involve traps and tricks which players must figure out together.

Race mode is, as the name suggests, a four-player race to the exit. The rules encourage some risk/reward excitement, and you’ll have to decide whether it’s better to just bolt for the exit or to grab some gold on the way.

We’re also introducing a new Deathmatch mode, inspired by one of our favourite classic freeware games, Jump n Bump (you can try it here, best with four players: https://www.icculus.org/jumpnbump/). This mode will feature arena-like levels where ninjas battle to survive.

We’ll talk more about the multiplayer modes in a later post — hopefully this is enough to pique your curiosity for now!

9

We’re still in the process of making levels, but so far it looks like there will be over 1000 new levels in the game, which will all have global and friend leaderboards.

There’s also a level editor, so should you ever get bored of the built-in levels, you can create your own and share them globally (these will have leaderboards as well).

We have lots of fancy surprises to layer on top of the stylish graphics and fabulous particle effects you can see in the screenshots – and we’ll be throwing in a handful of our patented “fun-lockables” as well.

10

Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what you can look forward to in N++. And now we’d like to reveal the first opportunity to see the game in motion, in this N++ gameplay teaser trailer:

We’ll be back with more soon. Until then, thanks for reading!

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Comments

22 Comments 0 Author replies
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Looks good. I got addicted to the original N. Will this be PS4 only or may there be ports to PS3 and Vita?

 
DoYouLikeMyID 28 February, 2014 @ 4:31 pm   2

I second a Vita version! :)

Robanthegiant 28 February, 2014 @ 4:31 pm   3

So, so Happy!

 
MaxDiehard 28 February, 2014 @ 4:44 pm   4

Very interesting. My only suggestion is geared towards trophies. Don’t make any that require online or co-op only that can’t be done in singleplayer.

The last thing I want is to be able to try and get trophies on a game with dead online, which is a popular trend with most indie games.

 
toxic-inferno 28 February, 2014 @ 5:05 pm   5

Shame this isn’t coming to Vita – I loved N (used to play the flash version all the time at school!), and have N+ for my PSP – actually one of my favourite PSP games. But I don’t have a PS4 yet. This game would suit the Vita perfectly!

 

I do like a smooth AA’d vector graphic. :) I hope Sony can eventually allow developers to target 4K60 or 4K48, maybe higher than 60 frame rate options at 1080p. The extra clarity could really improve these high contrast, twitch reaction games.

 

Can’t wait for this game on the ps4. Like many I was completely addicted to the original. I’m preaching to all my friends how good n is so they’ll end up buying itfor the ps4 when it comes out

 
JasonSteMarie 28 February, 2014 @ 5:46 pm   8

I’m a MASSIVE platformer fan…I’ve never played this series before…my first impression however is the graphics seem to be a little ‘too basic’ in terms of alluring me to the game…

 

I’m sick of them pushing this retro stuff that an Atari would be capable of running, like 70% of the ps4 games library is retro indie rubbish. i can’t see why people would pay for this on a next gen games console.

 

@Kiss7787 – You are not a game developer and do not understand the technical capabilities of any of the Atari systems. This game is not possible in this form on any of them. More to the point, many of these “retro indie rubbish” titles are better than the shlock AAA publishers have been putting out over the last few years, so quit whining and keep waiting for Borderlands 2 to come out.

 

I throw my pledge out there to buy a Vita version if it happens, though!

 
BurnWitchBurn 28 February, 2014 @ 6:56 pm   12

I don’t want to be that guy, but… Will a PsVita version become available as well? Because i remember playing N+ on my PSP back in the day and it was perfect to play anywhere.

 

Looks great :).

@Kiss7787 So this game isn’t for you – then don’t play it – there’s plenty of Infamous, Watch Dogs, The Division, The Crew, Call of Duty (not announced yet, but does anyone not think there’ll be another this year? ;)) and the like coming that sound like theyare your cup of tea. The world is a bit larger than your narrow experiences – don’t stop others having their fun just because you don’t get it :).

 
Hexahedronaut 28 February, 2014 @ 9:28 pm   14

@Kiss7787. Speak for yourself , I bought a ps4 just for all these “retro indie rubbish” so more please. But hey don’t worry call of duty is coming out this year for you…and next year and the after that ;)

HomessaHomem 1 March, 2014 @ 12:19 pm   15

I want a Vita version too. :)

 
GametimeUK 1 March, 2014 @ 2:11 pm   16

I love a majority of popular indie games, but I don’t seem to gravitate towards this titke in the slightest.

 
Graffin_G 1 March, 2014 @ 5:06 pm   17

@Kiss7787, i’ll agree with you in part. The launch titles for the PS4 were pathetic. The few that followed were nothing more than PS3 ports rejigged ever so slightly, but so damn glitchy on the PS4… then we come to the indie titles which seem to be flooding the PS4. I’ve got nothing against these, it’s just that indie games don’t exactly show the full potential of what the PS4 can do. Sony has basically given us a crippled system that has no YouTube, no streaming catchup TV services and no DLNA. Hell, i’m sure the PS4 has the power to run PS3 game but no, they want us to re-buy them in the future. I’m getting tired of them promoting these indie titles. How about news on making the PS4 bigger and better than the PS3 with features and functionality?

 
johnnycide 1 March, 2014 @ 5:21 pm   18

@SpAM_CAN I agree with you, but I’m incredibly pedantic so must point out that Borderlands 2 came out a while back. It’s brilliant.

This looks awesome though! Definitely would like to see a Vita version, but if it’s about precision controls it may well be a lot better on the PS4. I’d also like to see it on PS+ if possible. On the IGC. That might be nice!

MinorDespera 1 March, 2014 @ 9:09 pm   19

I remember some of these levels from the screenshots.

 
MonkehNL 2 March, 2014 @ 6:23 pm   20

I’d totally buy this on Vita! PS4.. not so much.

 
oijed30 3 March, 2014 @ 12:03 pm   21

I don’t have anything against this game fine on vita but these types of games ain’t why I brought a ps4 for I want next gen games I feel that if there is only indie games or ports of ps3 games available they shouldnt have released the console yet I’m seriously still playing ps3 way more than my ps4 I’m actually disappointed with it so far I hope infamous is really good because if it ain’t then what’s the point in having one if I’ve got to wait a year before next gen games start being released regularly

MrEibmoz 5 March, 2014 @ 12:28 am   22

Want so bad. N+ is one of my favorites of last gen.

So infuriating. So satisfying.

Anyone complaining about its graphics, if you didnt buy your PS4 for amazing gameplay then you may need to reevaluate things. It could work on Vita, but N works so well because the whole levels is on one screen and the vita is just too small to do that without scaling. PSP&DS versions were much lesser games even though they were technically (PSP at least) comparable to the 360 version.