Do I not like ice cream? No. I do not not like strawberry ice cream in particular, but do I not like chocolate ice cream? Not not yes.
At this point you’re probably not sure whether I like ice cream, because I bamboozled you with a series of single and double negatives. This is how Not Not works.
This innovative and stylish puzzler from developer Alt Shift takes the tricky real-time calculations you have to do when confronted with a double negative and builds a game around them, throwing in challenges that test your reflexes for good measure.
Not not difficult
Here’s how it works. In the middle of the screen is a 3D cube, and on the upward-facing surface of the cube is an instruction. It might say ‘Left’, in which case you need to swipe left. And so on. Meanwhile a white line rapidly recedes around the edge of the cube, and when it disappears your time is up.
After you’ve raced through a basic tutorial stage the game throws negatives at you. ‘Not left’, it might say, in which case you have to swipe in any direction other than left.
Then, it starts throwing in triple negatives, like ‘Not not left’, which means, of course, left. The game progresses to ‘Not not not left’, and adds ‘Nothing’ to its repertoire of instructions, before also throwing in colours, and multiple instructions, such as ‘Blue and up’, so there are two variables to trip you up with.
And that only takes us about halfway through the game, which is divided up into worlds with stylish names like The Negation, The Void, and The Logical.
Not not not easy
Each world contains three stages of difficulty, the number of instructions you have to follow increasing by ten at a time from Normal, through Hard, to Extreme. You also get graded on how quickly you finish the stage.
Finishing stages and worlds gives you tokens to spend on unlocking new worlds, and you have a bit of flexibility in terms of how you go about earning these tokens – for example, if you’re struggling with the Hard stage in one world you can go back to an easier world and complete it on Extreme to get the same token.
If you make a mistake during a stage, meanwhile, you get the chance to keep going by either spending a life or watching a video (you can also watch a video at any time to earn a free life.)
Not not not not fun
This brings us to Not Not’s ad-funded free-to-play model. In the free version, an ad plays every time you die, which can be often. We don’t have a problem with ad-funded games in principle, but the ads in this game do affect the experience enough that it’s definitely worth shelling out the 79p to get rid of them.
There are two modes: Classic, which sees you working your way through the worlds, and Challenge, which is an endless mode. Classic is by far the most enjoyable, but Challenge will keep you going once you’ve completed all of the stages.
It’s a novel idea, too, and it provides a real challenge. Not Not has a lot of competition in the ‘slick trendy puzzler’ genre, and this probably isn’t the best example of that genre, but it’s free to try and well worth a download.
We’ve used the word ‘stylish’ a couple of times already and we’ll use it again in the summary. Not Not is a stylish game, with clean, simple graphics and a pleasant Monument Valley-esque colour scheme.