The game is challenging but easy to understand and master.

User Rating: 8.5 | N+ PSP
Despite how gimmicky and extremely ordinary internet flash games may be, there are always few exceptions that rival even that of the mainstream games. One such example was the favorite, Alien Hominid, that featured beautifully drawn environments and character art combined with an excruciatingly challenging single-player campaign. Now the latest cult-following lies in N+, the handheld adaptation of the popular flash-game, N. N+ remains every bit as challenging as it was a flash game and as a title in the Xbox Live Arcade, further strengthening the growing library of old-school style puzzlers infesting the current generation of handheld systems.

Nobody really understands the logic to the game's prologue, but the bottom line is you play the role of a ninja with an extreme sense of speed and jumping power. Whether you're playing on the PSP or DS, the environment surrounding the ninja will be extremely big, making the ninja look like an ant. The main objective of the game is to turn on a switch somewhere on the map to open a door, and then enter the door collecting as many gold coins as possible along the way. The ninja's lifespan is a minute and a half The premise is very similar to that of Mario vs. Donkey Kong, but it's a lot more stealthy and straightforward.
While the main idea is simple, it becomes extremely hard to accomplish because of the game's realistic physics as well as the fact that more booby traps hinder the ninja's exit strategy. Most normal platformers allow your controlled character to survive long falls just as long as you fall somewhere along the map. N+, on the other hand, has you die if you fall off a ledge at a high enough altitude. To make matters worse, the ninja can't attack, so it's all about your own reflexes and dexterity when it comes to avoiding attacks from enemies spread over the many maps. Luckily, ninjas are very acrobatic specimen. Aside from their speed and their ability to jump high and far distances, you have the ability to wall jump back and forth as fast as you tap the jump button. Again, the game boasts realistic physics, so if you try to scale your way up narrow walls too fast, and you crash into the ceiling at a fast enough pace-you die.

In addition to the very addictive single player mode, N+ also has a fun multiplayer mode to go with it. You have the option to play co-op or against each other. Co-op levels have players working together to complete a level while verses modes such as Domination, Blitz, and Tag mode mainly are about staying alive. Remember, with only 1.5 minutes to live and only a few coins scattered about the area, staying alive is easier said than done. You also have the opportunity to play the game online using the both handhelds' online components, so you're not just limited to local play.

The game features a whole lot of unlockable content, which can be earned by beating certain levels, or getting a certain amount of points. Downloadable content includes more levels, and additional characters and victory dances (that don't affect the game). N+ also allows players to design maps and share them with friends around the world using the integrated level editor and the ad-hoc or infrastructure modes of the PSP and Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection on the DS.

Whether you're playing the PSP or DS version, both games feature the same simplistic yet stylish graphics. The main difference is the PSP's widescreen support. The backgrounds have a neon glow that change color, while the black platforms are easy to see with no worries of contrast. It can be hard to see the little mines that are hiding, but that's only because some are invisible. Also, when you're being targeted by enemies with bulls-eye projectiles, it's hard to judge where you'll get hit-but then again, it's all about your hand-eye coordination as well as your reflexes, so some of these are just things to keep an eye out for.

The game sounds like the way it does on flash and on Xbox Live Arcade. It's just a bunch of random explosions, bounce springs, and lots of Game & Watch-esque old-school beeping. It's nothing special, but one thing worth mentioning is that the game just sounds like a video game. No questions asked.

The game's boxart or title may not be enough to captivate the casual gamer, but N+ is new wave old-school gaming at its best. The gameplay is simple and easy to master, but it is also challenging enough to keep gamers pounding themselves in disgust because of whatever mistake they made. If you're looking for a platformer with quick and responsive gameplay, N+ is the game you're looking for. Just be aware that while the PSP version has the superior presentation, it also suffers from horribly slow load times.