Each day, mobile game storefronts are flooded with an immense number of new apps. That makes it tough to determine what games are worth trying out and what you can swipe past without regret. In Keep Or Delete, I play a randomly selected mobile game for one hour and determine whether you should keep it around or uninstall immediately. Given the short attention span many of us have in regards to mobile titles, if a game can’t wow you within 60 minutes, odds are it never will.
Logic, orientation, and patience: those are the tools required to make it through Not Not. In one heck of brain-busting experience, this easy-to-play puzzler toys with your mind and reflexes. Players navigate a tiny character on large cube, the faces of which display instructions such as “Up”, in which you swipe accordingly. Completing a level requires you to successively perform a series of “steps”, ranging from 20 for the Normal stages and 40-50 steps in Extreme variations. However, Not Not constantly attempts to trip players up with tricky statements such as “Not Down” or double negatives like “Not Not Right”. You’re only given about a second to make a move, so you must think and act quickly.
Not Not begins with simple instructions and gradually layers new twists atop established concepts. Among the trickiest challenges involves adhering to screwy color-coded instructions (stating “Red” in yellow font, for example). It also preys on expectations, like a series of “Left”s followed by “Not Left”. Tackling new ideas keeps the game fresh and I relished getting to master new stipulations. Nailing a tricky prompt feels awesome and, conversely, I regularly screamed aloud whenever a false knee-jerk reaction (typically “Not Not Not whatever”) led to my demise.
Not Not can be as nerve-wracking as it is stimulating as one misstep forces you to restart the level anew. Blowing a 50-step level on number 49 can launch a tirade of expletives. Spending a life to continue at the step you failed at can avoid such disaster. Lives aren’t replenished often, though, and the only other alternative is watching a 30-second advertisement in exchange for a re-do. Viewing ads can grow tiresome in the super mind-breaking later stages where you’re likely to fail repeatedly. I opted to pay $0.99 for 50 lives as a protective cushion; a meager price for, in my mind, an enjoyable experience.
Nailing every prompt flawlessly nets a Gold rating for that stage, while finishing with any mistakes ends with a Silver. Grades matter, as unlocking new stages depends on both the number of finished levels and the number of Gold completions. What might frustrate some is the fact that the final tier of stages requires 22 Gold completions. Given that 28 total stages exist, that means you’ll need perfect performances for a majority of the game if you plan on beating it. Though not impossible, the challenge is definitely daunting given how tough Not Not gets. Also, this renders my surplus of continues relatively meaningless (I can’t use them if I want a Gold rating) so consider how often you’ll tap into your lives before purchasing more.
Keep or Delete?
Keep! Not Not is an engrossing brain exercise that’s easy to pick up and difficult to put down. The concept and challenge won’t do it for everyone, but it’s a stimulating experience that I won’t say made me feel smarter but rather more mentally awake. Failure and progression may be a little to steep for some, and you’ll almost feel forced to throw cash towards some lives in the brain-busting latter stages. But if nothing else, Not Not is pure skill-based; it’s clear how you failed and how to correct course. Overall, I had a blast with Not Not and my hour-long session flew by with me playing well past that benchmark.