N+ Hands-On Preview

If you haven’t had the pleasure of trying out the flash-turned-XBLA game N+, you can consider yourself at least slightly deprived. The game is a joy to play, thanks to its highly intuitive design and responsive, physics-based controls. Pretty soon, we’ll all be taking that formula on the go, because SilverBirch studios is hard at work on a PSP (and DS, but I’m not here to talk about that one) version of the game.

I’ve had some time to run my super-agile, monochromatic ninja through a good chunk of the game’s 200+ single-player levels, all the while taking care to avoid the body-splattering mines, turrets, missiles, drone bots, and any of the other dangers designed specifically to shorten a ninja’s already-limited lifespan. What I’ve discovered from my adventures through these gauntlets is that N+ is one IP that seems tailor-made for handheld gaming systems.

The object of this platform/puzzle game is to complete many series of single-screen, two-dimensional stages by activating and escaping through each one’s exit door. There is a smattering of gold thrown between all of the hazards that block your path, and the more you pick up, the better your score.




You can die an infinite number of times in N+, which is very fortunate because that little ninja will meet his end–in explosive, ragdoll fashion–a lot. The game is difficult in a good way, though, never setting you back further than to the beginning of the current level, never taking away any more than a second or two of playtime before starting you off again, and always making sure you stay addicted to playing.

In addition to the single-player challenges, N+ will also feature 100 cooperative and 50 competitive multiplayer levels, playable via a local ad hoc wireless connection. There will be a half-dozen different game types in this mode, such as Tag, Race, Domination (collecting gold reduces opponent’s time), and others. These will really add to the core N+ experience by throwing that extra human element into the mix.

The biggest improvement to the portable version of N+, however, is the ability to connect to the internet and share the levels that you can create in the game’s excellent level editor. The XBLA version of the game allowed players to build and play their own levels, but never to upload and download. This added functionality will undoubtedly expand the title’s lifespan a thousandfold.

N+ plays great on the PSP, and the segmented nature of the game lends itself especially well to the portable platform. In only two week’s time, this game will be hitting store shelves here in the US, and I can tell you right now that it belongs on most gamers’ "to-buy" lists.


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Author: Eddie Inzauto View all posts by
Eddie has been writing about games on the interwebz for over ten years. You can find him Editor-in-Chiefing around these parts, or talking nonsense on Twitter @eddieinzauto.

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