Finding a game that is unbelievably easy to pick up while being extremely difficult to master is almost impossible. Most games have some level of a learning curve to reach dizzying heights of difficulty or never reach anything more than somewhat hard in order to have a 100% accessibility to everyone. Magically, Not Not is a game that anyone with basic reading skills can enjoy and yet challenge hardcore gamers. The gaming company, altShift, has created a wonderfully simple idea that gets increasingly more difficult while never feeling impossible or boring.
Well, it is a basic arcade game. So there is no story except you are a guy on top of a box trying not to explode.
Your character stands on top of a cube and instructions appear on the cube telling you where to run: left, right, up or down. You have to complete a number of instructions to finish the level. However, as levels progress, instructions become more difficult. For example, a player might see and follow “Right, Up, Down, Down” and then a “Not Down” will appear. The person will have to then react accordingly, go anywhere but down, i.e. “Not Down.” Then things get more complex as colors, doing nothing, or triple negatives appear. This is all there is to the game, instructions appear and you have to send your character in the right direction or you die.
The simplicity of the game and its execution is exquisite. The right amount of time is always given to read the instructions, things progress at a good place, never throwing a play in too far. There is a number of general levels that go from normal to hard and then expert in each new mechanic introduced. These levels/challenges will keep anyone busy, I honestly can’t imagine any human to be able to do the hardest levels, but there will eventually be one person who can...it is just going take a while for people to reach that threshold.
There is also a multiplayer mode and single-player endless mode. The multiplayer is great to just get out a couple of rounds of intense gaming while racing against friends to finish all the instructions before other people, easy to set up, easy to play and easy to entertain. The endless mode just starts from the basics and steadily gets more difficult the farther you go until you die.
Not Not looks great. It is simple bare-bones and lets the gameplay speak for itself. The minimalist look is perfect for the game for two reasons. First being that the game doesn’t need any grandiose pomp and circumstance, the gameplay is just so good that it could look like crap and still be a good game. Second, if there was any huge design or character aspects, it would take away from the focus the game demands. But even with all the addressed, the minimalist look is great and functions perfectly.
When first picking it up, the game almost seems too easy, but within an hour, a player can be hooked, getting better and better at reading and following instructions. The game has plenty of difficulties while having an endless mode to play whenever you just want to play for a few minutes without as much pressure. The multiplayer aspects are also surprisingly well fleshed out and will easily entertain all sorts of people for solid chunk of time.
What It Could Have Done Better
The only thing that may make this game better would be to have a slightly more gradual climb in the single-player area. The jumps to certain mechanics or difficulties can feel a little too wide in a few occasions.
This game is a lot of fun for just about anyone and everyone. It is wonderfully uncomplex while still creating a lot of tension to become demanding for the most experienced players. This is an easy buy for just about anybody who wants a fun game to play by themselves or with others.