It would be easy to simply bitch and moan over the fact that N started life as a free, downloadable internet game. Why should these people expect us to fork over almost 10 bucks for something they were giving away not that long ago?
OK, that%26rsquo;s fair. But if you don%26rsquo;t want to fork over those Microsoft points, you%26rsquo;ll be missing out on an absolutely fantastic upgrade to the original game, complete with four-person multiplayer modes, hundreds of puzzles, and a full level editor.
The idea behind N+ is a simple one. You%26rsquo;re a ninja. A ninja with a 90-second life span. Within those 90 seconds, you have to run through five different levels, collecting gold, making spectacular leaps, and avoiding all sorts of dastardly, death-dealing machines and mines. Bounce off walls, slide down solid surfaces, and generally learn to use the game%26rsquo;s physics engine to your advantage.
That%26rsquo;s what N+ really is, an exercise in physics. Mastering the somewhat floaty movements of your little on-screen avatar is what your success hinges on.
Though the visuals are very simplistic (an homage to the game%26rsquo;s roots), the game has loads of personality. From the rag doll reactions when your ninja gets squished, shot, pancaked, whatever; to the clever classic gaming references hidden throughout the game. Look for a level that%26rsquo;s surprisingly similar to Final Fantasy%26rsquo;s Cactuar, or check out the description of the %26ldquo;Thwump%26rdquo; enemy for a history lesson in Italian plumbers.
And even if you get through all of these levels quickly, you%26rsquo;ll still have both single-system and online multiplayer to mess around with, not to mention the game%26rsquo;s level creator, which is easy to use. Plus, look for downloadable level packs in the near future.
N+ may not look like much, but it%26rsquo;s fun and addictive. It definitely deserves a place in your Live Arcade library.
Feb 25, 2008