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N+

N+

Publisher: MetaNet Software
Platform: Xbox 360
Price: 800 points (£6.85/$10.00) – Xbox Live download only

Think of Flash games, and you probably think of web-based games for casual gamers – escape the room kind of stuff and digital jigsaws. Certainly nothing we'd be reviewing here at bit-tech. You're only interested in hardcore gaming, right?

Well, in amongst the masses of mediocre Flash games, there are actually a few gems that even hardcore gamers such as you would enjoy – and we’re not just talking about Offroad Veliociraptor Safari either. One of these gems is the popular and single-lettered N from Metanet software, a platform game with ninjas.

Ninjas. Everybody loves them.

N+
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The ‘N’ of the title refers to the Way of the Ninja, a highly advanced system of spiritual, cognitive and physical training. Like all ninjas, apparently you have an unquenchable thirst for gold and a natural propensity for exploring rooms infested by lethal robots. Lucky for you then that you are a master of the way of ‘N’ – though not so lucky that you find yourself in a series of fiendish rooms filled with gold and, yes, lethal robots.

The aim of each level (and the free PC version has 500 of them as standard) is to open the exit door by triggering a switch and then get to that door within a time-limit, collecting gold and avoiding baddies as you go. The levels are grouped into episodes, with each episode containing five levels of escalating difficulty.

N+
Click to enlarge

At the beginning of each episode, you start with ninety seconds on the clock. Each piece of gold you collect adds seconds to the timer, and any time remaining is carried over to the next level in the episode. Obviously, the more gold you collect, the more time you have to complete the episode – and you'll need this time. Some of the levels are devilishly difficult, and you'll find your little ninja stickman exploding in a wide variety of ways.

So, N was a cult hit on the PC when it came out in 2005. But can that success translate into success on the Xbox 360, or is the console market uninterested in such a tricky little platformer that is famed for difficulty?