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Score: 88%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Metanet Software
Developer: Slick Entertainment
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 4: 2 - 4 (Online)
Genre: Platformer (2D)/ Puzzle/ Online

Graphics & Sound:

N+ is as pure a platformer as you're likely to currently find on any console. The basic concept behind the game is simple; you're an unnamed ninja who happens to have a like for gold. Unfortunately for him, gold is pretty hard to come by in his flat world and requires passing through a gauntlet of deviously designed levels filled with numerous leaps of faith, mines and other obstacles that exist just to make his life miserable.

N+'s presentation suggests a much simpler game - at least if you're the type that believes that the number of polygons a game can push is an indicator of its challenge level. Backgrounds and platforms are a simple, flat grey while most of the obstacles are basic, single-colored shapes. The real visual star is your ninja. Although he looks like a simple, shadowy figure who knows how to accessorize, some of his animations are really great and, when combined with the physics system, showcase an amazing range of movement.

Music has a smooth, jazzy electronic feel that is as simple as the game's visuals. Although the soundtrack does a good job at constantly pushing you forward and keeping you in the game, it also stays out of the way. You'll always hear it in the background, but it doesn't fight for your attention, nor does it become bothersome.


The core single-player game is broken up into five-level episodes. Each level usually takes only a few seconds to complete, which is good since you usually only have a few seconds to complete each episode. Your main adversary is the clock, which is displayed at the top of the screen as a yellow bar. The timer is persistent throughout each level and the only way to keep it going is to collect gold, which adds a little time to the clock. Although some levels place the gold in easy to reach spots, most of the gold appears in difficult spots where you'll have to contend with everything from roaming drones to laser turrets and ninja-seeking missiles. Although your character is a ninja, he can't use any cool ninja weapons. Instead his only skill is the ability to jump and cling to walls, adding evasion skills to your list of challenges.

Besides a single-player game, N+ also supports online and offline multiplayer games. Multiplayer games include survival matches as well competitive races. Both events are fun, though it sometimes feels like the game wasn't really designed for multiplayer games, mostly because the camera tends to make some things harder to see because of how far back it pulls. This is actually a case where the simple visuals pay off since it isn't hard to lose your character.

N+ also supports a level editor that is fun to use and easy to understand. The tools are easy enough that anyone can make a level quickly, though in order to make a great one you really need to understand the game's underlying mechanics. Still, it's a lot of fun and the only real downside is that you can't share your creations with other players online.


When a game offers an Achievement for dying 1000 times, you know to expect a difficult game. As previously stated, N+ is a well balanced game. There are a number of tricky levels, but these are always complimented by easier levels to help you earn a little more gold while you figure the best way around the more difficult levels. However, more gold usually isn't enough to get you through some levels - especially some of the not-so-well-designed ones.

All of the levels can be completed, but some require such precise timing and luck that they quickly become frustrating. Most of these levels share the same common fault; they go a little too far. For whatever reason, the designers felt the need to add lasers or homing missiles to levels that are already hard enough without them. Though lasers are easy to work with, homing missiles are just a little too good at finding you. It only gets worse when you run across levels with multiple missile launchers. Again, there's no level in the game that is unbeatable, but there's at least one in every episode that will drive you insane.

Game Mechanics:

Much like the visuals, N+'s simple mechanics give way to a more complex game. On the surface, it looks like all you can do is run and jump; however, once in the air you can control the speed and trajectory of your ninja by pushing forward or pulling back on the right analog stick. Knowing how to jump is more important than knowing when to jump since it is your only real defense against obstacles. You'll have to adjust your jump on the fly in order to avoid drones or work your way behind a wall as you attempt to get a pesky missile to slam into it instead of you. You'll also have to learn to master controlling your speed while jumping on or sliding down walls.

The basic gameplay behind N+ is fun. Although there is some inconsistency with the design behind some levels, they are balanced well. Although I'm not the biggest fan of timed anything, the amount of "push" the clock gives is just right and the addition of clock-altering gold pieces makes for a few really good, interesting choices. Do I go for the easy exit, or try and grab that little bit of gold for some extra time down the road? When you get right down to it, moments like these are one of the reasons we play games in the first place and are what make N+ worth playing.

-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Nintendo Wii Dragon Quest Swords: The Masked Queen and the Tower of Mirrors Sony PlayStation 3 Conflict: Denied Ops

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