You’re looking at a screenshot of N+ right now, and thinking “simple” right? Well you’d be correct, but don’t be fool enough to say it’s easy, because it’s not something you’ll finish quickly. What N+ does fantastically is boil down everything we all love about platform gaming - wall jumps, collecting crap and enemy avoidance - then flings it at you in perfectly sized chunks.
For the uninitiated, N+ goes like this: A single level occupies the screen (you get a map on the DS) and you’re only job is to get to the exit as fast as possible. Of course, how you do get there becomes more and more elaborate, so you’ll have to collect those yellow squares for extra time as you attempt to activate various beacons while avoiding a myriad of things that wish to do you harm. And so you know, that description is about the most complicated thing N+ will ever be associated with.
Probably the best thing about this migration is how fantastically suited N+ is to a portable experience. On average, each of the 200+ levels will only take you a minute or so to complete, giving it that perfect pick-up-an-play quality every PSP game should strive to deliver. The difficulty amps up pretty quickly, and somewhat erratically, requiring immaculate precision and timing every so often, but to its credit there’s a remarkable amount of game here. You’re gonna die. A lot. But restarts are only a split second away.
The drawbacks are minimal, including some uneven difficulty and graphics that look as if they were ported directly from the DS. Had to be said - but the N+ experience is preserved and pleasant as always. Plus, you’ve got 2-player infrastructure and ad-hoc multiplayer, a level editor to customize your own sequel (N++?) and tons of unlockables to discover. Even if you’ve played N+ over Xbox Live, or the free PC version, $20 is a small price to pay to brandish this bundle of gaming bliss in the palm of your hands anywhere you damn well please.
Aug 27, 2008