While playing the PSP version of N+ I watched my ninja plummet to his death over a hundred times. If you played N before you know dying is a natural part of the game. Everything kills you. Heights, lasers, mines, and robots that attack you without much of a reason are all deadly. You can avoid many traps if you run to the green diamond to open the door and then straight to the exit. But the temptation to grab yellow bricks of gold is great. Each piece adds to your score and keeps the ninja alive. If the score meter runs out the ninja dies from an avarice attack or something.
Atari broke N into bite-sized, five level challenges for the single player mode. You start out with four options, 0-3. Beat these and perimeter expands unlocking challenges 4-9. However, if you want to play a favorite level like a stage where you walk inside the belly of dragon you have to load up the entire set of challenges. The first levels are easy enough to get players up to speed with wall jumping and the physics engine. Run fast and you can jump higher. The later levels are part puzzle, part platforming challenges. You need to jump over mines, but keep enough momentum to propel the ninja to the next platform.
Don’t be surprised if this sounds like N. N+ is N with new stages. The key new feature in N+ is a level creator where you can save individual levels on a memory stick. Each user created level is restricted to 200 objects. This number includes gold, ledges, chaser robots, and even the exit door. You place tiles with the circle button, but if you want to rotate them you need to select the object again and then use the analog stick. It’s a bit cumbersome, but the level editor feels flexible. I made a few levels, most of them near impossible to escape deathtraps, but I haven’t been able to trade them. Before you can connect to the community you need to create an account. I can connect to the server OK, but every time I try to save my account the connection drops. The game still isn’t out yet so it might just be a temporary problem and I doubt the online community will be full of levels. However, the user created level feature is one of the main reasons fans of N will want to buy N+. Something else to consider when deciding on which version to purchase is the DS version can save a limited amount of levels. Eight to be specific. The PSP version is only limited by the size of your memory stick.
Images courtesy of Atari.