Not Not: A Brain Buster
Switch version tested
Review code provided
Not Not: A Brain Buster (NN) is a budget puzzle game from developer Alternative Shift and published by Qubic Games. Set in what can only be described as a minimalists dreamscape, you navigate a character around an ever-rotating cube in one of the four directions based on a command that appears. And that is the game…seriously the game never moves past this mechanic over the course of its 28 levels across 3 difficulties. Where the game does grow and show its appeal is just how you receive the instructions.
From the onset you are given simple commands: Left, Right, Up, Down. However, the game then introduces commands including double and triple negatives (Not, Not, Not left) and colours forcing you to think quickly in order to make the right move. Later levels have you solving logic based commands (Not Right and Green) Adding stress and complexity to this is the timer, indicated by the white outline that speeds up as you progress through the preset number of moves needed to achieve completion. You are given 3 lives for each level. Every wrong decision results in a loss of a life which instantly regenerates the player while also showing you the answer to that specific area. Completing the level flawlessly awards you with a gold medal however any misstep along the way results in a silver. This felt like a missed opportunity, as a 4 tiered (Gold, Silver, Bronze, completed) would have enticed you to improve on your scores. As it exists now you either are perfect or not. Once all lives are depleted you are instantly brought back to the beginning of the level highlighting the quick loading seen through the game.
Outside of the main campaign, you are also treated to an endless mode which, also, is separated into 3 difficulty levels. Within each, you again have the opportunity to earn a silver or gold reward depending on how many moves you are able to complete without a misstep. The third mode is a local split-screen multiplayer mode. Here you can set the number of players (2-4) as well as the points needed to win and the number of rounds. The simplicity of the controls (using only directional commands) allows for split joy con functionality meaning you can always engage in what amounts to a mind-melting game of Simon Says.
Visually and audibly NN does nothing that stands out. That being said what is here fits the aesthetic of the game nicely. The music while subtle is soothing and non-obtrusive allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand. The sound effects have a subtle echo effect giving you a sense of isolation, especially while using headphones.
With its quick logic-based puzzle mechanic Not Not: A Brain Buster is a solid puzzle game especially at its budget price point ($1.99). The length of your experience will depend on how quickly and well you decipher the commands. There is a good level of challenge to be had here and the multiplayer can be fun in particular with 3 friends.
TBG Score: 7/10
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 15/03/2019
No. of Players: 1-4
Category: Party, Puzzle
Developer: Alternative Shift
Download link: eShop