Game Review – N+ (Xbox 360)

N+ inaction (not a typo)

The Game

N+ is the Xbox Live Arcade release of a flash game that’s been around since 2005.

The Premise

Get from point A to point B. There’s a time limit – which is also your score. You’ll have to hit some switches, dodge some deadly robots, and try not to fall to your death along the way. If you’re old-school the concept is an evolution of Lode Runner and a vague relation to the Super Mario Brothers formula. No I’m not going to link you to Super Mario Brothers you know what the hell that is.

Oh look a sweet trailer!

The Execution

Beauty in its simplicity. You run, you jump (sometimes off of walls), and that’s basically it. That’s all there needs to be. The graphics move very, very smoothly and the intentionally simplistic design both pops and is inoffensive. The sounds are, uh, there. The music is neat and catchy, if repetitive. Prime candidate for streaming your music collection from your PC while you play.

The level layouts are clever and challenging, as well as extremely short so as not to be overly frustrating. Not to worry about the overall game length, though, there are hundreds of levels available and even a level editor to create your own should you manage to get bored with the stock offerings. The online multiplayer (up to 4 players) is great fun, and works well. The co-op mode has levels designed to force players to work together in different parts of the level to escape. One quirk I noticed is that you’ll often see client-side effects like explosions and whatnot go off for other players as though they’re dying when they’re really not. Side effect of the player prediction code I assume.

The Conclusion

For 800 Microsoft Points ($10 US, which is a number so close to zero that it might as well be zero oh look I just set 10 dollars on fire) this game is a steal. Yes, it’s free to play the flash version on the interwebz. But the addition of online multiplayer, analog stick controls, new levels, and shiny HD spit and polish make this game worthy of a place in most anyone’s Xbox Live Arcade collection. At least check out the free Trial version, especially if, like me, you are a general Ninja enthusiast.

The Verdict

4 Wobbling Mongooses out of 5 (rating system explained here)

The Dealmakers and Dealbreakers

This game is cute and cartoony and is probably ok to play around kids. There’s some blood when you die but that can be disabled. The game itself is challenging enough that I expect very young children to be easily bored or frustrated with it when playing. There’s an excellent tutorial built in to the menus that should help anyone figure out what to do within minutes.

Handheld gaming crew, keep on the lookout for the Nintendo DS version due out later this year.

Advertisements