Rewind Review: N+ (XBLA)
N+ was developed by Slick Entertainment, and published by Metanet Software. It was released February 20, 2008 for 800MSP.
Based on the browser Flash game N, N+ is an highly updated version with HD graphics and completely new levels. You play as a nameless ninja who nimbly jumps past every danger in his way through a highly mechanized and gray world. As tough as it is addicting, N+ is one of the best platformers around, but it doesn’t do enough to not feel like a flash game.
Here’s what we liked:
Platforming – The game is a tough as nails 2D platformer. The objective of every level is to find a switch then get to the exit door, many times a there and back again affair, all while keeping an eye on the clock. The only abilities you have are run and jump, including wall jump, springs, and propelling oneself with physics. The game has a nice optional tutorial section, teaching you the ropes and offering some simple levels. Once the real game starts, you can feel the difficulty slowly ramp up. You’ll breeze through the first few levels, but will slowly start dying more, taking more time, and being more careful. There are many levels in the game, so things won’t get too hard too fast. The final levels are insanely difficult and take a lot of skill to finish, and there’s bound to be a point where you just get stuck.
Multiplayer – The game features a co-op mode with its own set of levels for 2-4 players. The levels play just like single player, but focus on having more than one player. Players will have to help each other out to get to the exit, usually by pushing buttons so the other player can pass. Single player levels can also be played cooperatively, but the progress won’t be transferable between campaigns. There are also race and survival modes, which may not have much lasting appeal but are good distractions when tough levels got you down.
Rag-doll deaths – Death covers the levels in the form of electricity, guns, laser, and, above all, mines. These traps create most of the challenge, making sure you plan every move carefully and quickly. If your ninja doesn’t make it, he will die in a hilariously over-exaggerated death, where body parts fly across the screen and pixelated blood mark the occasion.
Here’s what we didn’t like:
Lack of variety – The game you play at the beginning will be the exact same thing you play at the end, with difficulty being the only difference. The surroundings are always gray, the moves are always the same, and you’ll meet all the weapons early on in the game. The lack of change as the game progresses does take away from the overall experience of the platforming. You can tell it was ported from a Flash game.
Saving issues – The game’s save feature only kicks in once you manually quit the game, which cause people to lose progress if they are not aware of the issue. The game also separates levels in groups of five, and only saves progress if all five levels are finished. This becomes increasingly annoying as the levels get harder, making it past the first four just to be stuck on the fifth stinks if you don’t want to replay those tricky levels.
N+ is great as a platformer, but fails in some departments of being an overall game. The lack of variety takes away some lasting appeal, and you may find it hard to get yourself to finish the game. The game does have great single and multi-player components, but these can be screwed up by a not-so-great save feature or the occasional glitch. Although you may never figure out why a ninja needs to go through so many doors, the experience is a challenging one that many could enjoy but few will conquer.
Score: Try it