“N” is a very nice and well done platformer, hard to master and quite addicting after you “get” the controls. For a 1.3Mb download I was really impressed.
It was linked on Q23 and at the beginning I didn’t find it so great. Then I started mastering the controls and discovering new tricks and it became much more involving :)
In particular I like a lot how the whole application was made. Lots of polish and well designed. You unlock levels progressively but you can also download highscores online and then replay other people’s games. It was an useful feature because it’s by observing those replays that I started to figure out how to move properly and all the tricks that are possible.
The game isn’t shareware or limited in any way, there are 100 chapters, with five levels each, so a grand total of 500. You can have fun trying to beat your own or other people’s time records, or continue to unlock all the levels without caring much about your performance. Then it’s not even over because there is even an editor (press ~ from the menu screen) that is really simple to use and you can even download new levels directly from within the same application.
The game itself is a platformer with wall jumping and all based on a physics simulation. Mastering the jumping and movement isn’t exactly easy but the help page within the application does a good work at explaning and teaching all the possible actions. With only three keys you’ll start to have a lot of control and fun over what it is possible to perform.
After the relatively easy start the other levels are definitely challenging when you have to dodge chaingun, laser turrets, mines and drones all at once. The game is built only around a small anf finite number of elements, but the possible variations are amazing.
It can also be terribly frustrating ;)
Observing it from the perspective I’ve described here the game is addicting because it does both “moments” really well. The first moment requires you to solve the level by “reading” it and then planning a course, the second moment is then about the quite challenging execution and the mastering of the movement.
Both of these together keep the game fun and varied, letting you experiment new solutions and then slowly improving and getting used to the control scheme.
This game is a small gem.
I wonder if Valve’s Portal will also have the two “moments”. The first where you have to figure out and solve the puzzle, and the second where you have to master some dynamic elements. If it’s just about discovering the right trick without any particular good execution then the game could feel tiring (the Narbacular demo is, in fact, exactly because it lacks the “execution and mastering” moment).