Monday, September 8, 2008

N+ for PSP review

Like flOw, N+ is based on a popular free internet game. Now optimised for mobile platforms (available in both DS and PSP flavour), with more contents thus giving us a chance yet again to pay for what originally (and still is) free. However as N+ is designed to be played in short burst with short levels, it has proven to be a perfect gaming-on-the-go portable game.

The concept of N+ is simple: play as a pixelated Ninja and lead it through a bunch of obstacles. Something a bit like Lode Runner, but also a bit more frantic and furious. Like Bandai-O Spirits, N+ is a game that requires exceptional twitch skills within the gamer to master the game. It does remind me somewhat of the classic Prince of Persia game, where pixel perfect wall jumps are high on the required to-do-list. N+ is rather easy to get into but very difficult to master, especially once the difficulty curve goes through the roof. While they are no gamerpoints of trophies to boost your ego, much like echochrome, there is a satisfaction to be had every time a hard level is conquered.

Time limits per level requires quick thinking players as they control the Ninja through the game's complex but often flawed ragdoll physics engine. Controlling the Ninja could not get any simpler. Understanding how N+ works is simple - only three buttons are used while in play: left, right and jump button. When a level begins, get to the switch to open the door while evading obstacles, then get to the door ASAP. Obstacles includes such niceties as lasers, mines, turrets, guards and other such murderous contraptions that wouldn't pass even the least strict building regulations code. A number of different modes of play is available in N+. The single player 'Race' mode with a time limit. Co-op allows a partner to join in on the fun. Unfortunately as the game does not support 'download' play, playing co-op will require you to purchase additional copies of the game.

Visually the game does not look much different from the flash version, and you can toggle on "enhance" graphics if you think it does enhances the look... But this title is a perfect example of offering pure gameplay and the simplistic visuals only enforces the ideal. Actions are quick as you can handle as the superbly animated Ninja death scenes will hopefully spur you on through the hundreds of available levels. Speaking of death scenes, you will not get bored of seeing your Ninja explode into thousands of red pixels as you miscalculate a jump.

In a nutshell, N+ is simply an awesome game that every self confessed gamer should play. It offers something that it slowly eroding from modern games: challenge. With the ability to create your own custom levels and downloading shared levels, there really isn't any excuse to miss this. Buy it now. With tens of hours of content, you owe it to yourself.

N+ is available on the DS, PSP and Xbox Live.

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