Top 100 Games of All-Time: #99


Release Date: July 28, 2015

Platform Played On: PS4

2018 Placement: #89 (-10)


What It Is:

Ninjas are cool. And ninjas like gold. So to be the best ninja, you have to collect all the gold and make it to the exit. Without dying, of course. Simple premise, right? Well after an hour of screaming while doing the same level over and over and over maybe you won’t think it’s as simple. Still, N++ is the single-best game in the gold-loving ninja platformer genre.

The platforming is a little floaty and not as tight as a Super Meat Boy or Celeste, but once you grasp the gravity of the situation (ha-HA!) you’ll be able to climb up walls and bounce off blocks with ease. Avoid missiles, lasers, patrolling robots, mines, and all sorts of other hazards as you collect gold to increase your time. Be as greedy as you want to get as high a score as possible, but a ninja only has but one life to give for their country so if you’re too greedy you’re gonna have to tackle the level again.

Why It’s Important to Me:

The first iteration of N was a Flash game (R.I.P. Flash) that released in 2005. Once it was released, me and a few of my college friends all got into playing it to see who could get the best scores and whether we could complete the most treacherous of levels. One of us believed that the only way to succeed was to get ALL the gold and get out. Others felt survival was the only necessity. Whatever the philosophy, it was a single-player experience that still felt uniquely competitive as we were all grabbing gold on our own time and trying to one-up each other.

N++ is the final (and best) iteration of the N series and while it’s been a long time since my friends and I competitively chased for gold, playing this version of the game still fills my heart with happiness remembering good college times with my buddies.

My Strongest Memory:

Pitcher Plant. Okay, so this is kind of cheating at my own rules because this is a level from the original N and not N++. But I specifically remember this level because all of us got stuck at it for a long time. It was the bane of our existence for at LEAST an afternoon, maybe even an evening. Or a couple days? Time is a construct. Anyway, this level is so burned into my brain that I scrolled through the list of 500-ish total stages on the N fandom wiki and as soon as I saw the words “Pitcher Plant” I knew EXACTLY that was the level I was thinking about in my head. (And it was, as is evidenced by the picture of the stage in the entry.)

It was tougher than it looks.

Why It’s #99:

I haven’t played N++ in a few years. Most of the memories I associate with the game itself are from its predecessor, N. In reality, N++ is on here probably as an amalgamation of N, N+, and N++ just because I love this particular platformer series so much due to having a friend group enjoy it with me. It’s worth a spot on my top 100 and I chose N++ because it’s the most easily available and most modern version, but I can’t put it above others because of the nebulous nature of why this game’s on here in the first place. It’s still the finest iteration of the series and definitely worth a play.