OverviewPlatform: Xbox 360
Impossibly charming and highly addictive, N+ manages to punish you for hours and still have you come back for more.
N+ should be instantly recognizable to anybody who’s familiar with the guilty pleasure of flash games. Taking the lesson of internet success, this Xbox Live Arcade port of the online classic is a perfect example of less is more gameplay. You control a two-dimension ninja whose sole goal is to collect gold against the clock using a variety of running and jumping moves. Each of the 250 areas in the game has an exit door which is opened using an expertly placed switch in each level. As the previously mentioned gold also adds precious seconds to the constantly depleting time bar, the trick of every level is to get to the switch and exit as quickly as possible, collecting as much of this gold required on the way.
This simple gameplay lasts for the best part of 5 levels at which point the game starts introducing hazards to every area including proximity mines, patrolling turrets, lasers & rockets. Avoiding these baddies results in you wasting precious time-gold, which is subsequently placed in much harder to reach areas. You’re sole weapon against this cruel reality is your ninjas superb repertoire of athletic moves. He has the ability to outrun rockets, scale infinite heights and jump against walls, so hopefully once you get t o the tougher levels, your skill is evenly matched resulting in some incredibly satisfying cat & mouse gameplay.
Graphically the game is as humble as its flash predecessor. Each area is mostly made up of grey, white and yellow flat textures but the restricted color palette only adds to incarcerated mood of the game. The audio is simplistic also, with a mellow electronic soundtrack and some simple, yet well produced sound effects. The meat of the game online comes from its co-op chapters which are extremely fun if you have patient friends on Xbox Live, though there are also race and survival modes which are fun, if a little limited. As in many XBLA games though the option for downloadable content is available, so these modes might be expanded in the future.
Even though you will die a seemingly infinite amount of times in each level, the game is just charming enough to keep you plugging away at it. For Xbox 360 achievement fans, the 200 available here are a mixed bag of online, offline and co-op, which although satisfying are a little uninspired. At 800 Microsoft points N+ is one of the better XBLA games available since the start of 2008, and for those looking for an accessible, fun game outside of office working hours, it’s a must buy.