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N+ (DS) artwork

N+ (DS) review


"There seems to be a big craze these days over difficult acrobatic-based platformers. Most of them were freeware to begin with – Jumper, I Wanna Be The Guy, etc. So far, only one game has made it to a commercial release, that game being Way of the N, ported as N+ to the DS and XBox Live Arcade. Since I could get the game as freeware anyway, I had no qualms about finding the newly-released rom and loading it onto my flashcart. "



There seems to be a big craze these days over difficult acrobatic-based platformers. Most of them were freeware to begin with – Jumper, I Wanna Be The Guy, etc. So far, only one game has made it to a commercial release, that game being Way of the N, ported as N+ to the DS and XBox Live Arcade. Since I could get the game as freeware anyway, I had no qualms about finding the newly-released rom and loading it onto my flashcart.

N+ is a very simplistic game. You play as a ninja being chased by hordes of killer robots. Your objective is to traverse a bunch of platform mazes filled with complex pixel-perfect jumps to find a switch that opens a door to the next level. There’s also little gold blocks that are usually placed in hard-to-reach areas that are collectable for e-penis value. There’s only two buttons – move and jump.

In reality, N+ is a game of memorization and repeatedly trying a level over and over again to get it perfect. The level design usually feels like the developers were trying to see how many deathtraps and pixel-perfect jumps they could put in before people would stop playing the game. The one major problem is that a lot of doding the various traps involves a technique called “grazing”. Grazing is essentially exploiting the fact that your character’s hitbox isn’t quite the same size as his sprite. With many games that condone grazing (chief among them the Touhou series of bullet-hell shooters), you know exactly where your hitbox is due to a visual cue. N+ feels nothing like this at all. Several times my ninja’s head would hit a mine and safely go through it, while other times I’d be jumping straight through the same minefield without my ninja hitting anything and die.

It’s hard to see what exactly the developers of N+ added in to make it worth $35. Apart from the levels being different from the freeware PC version, everything is exactly the same – apart from that you have to unlock “content” (things like different ninja colors, soundpacks, etc) that never needed to be unlocked on the PC version. There’s also the addition of generic techno background music that really doesn’t add anything to the game itself. The only real new content is a multiplayer feature that only works with pre-made co-op maps and only over DS Wireless, and the ability to share maps you make in the level creator with other people over wi-fi, neither of which would make this game worth buying.

Overall, N+ is simply not worth paying $35 for. I’d recommend trying out games like Jumper, I Wanna Be The Guy, or Way of the N first (all are freeware). Even if you really enjoy those, this game is still probably not worth buying. This port gets a 3/10 for being a pay version of a freeware game with next to nothing added.

Rating: 3/10

timrod's avatar
Community review by timrod (September 02, 2008)

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