Atari Preview Day: Hands-on with N+ on the DS and PSP

Alright, first of all, go play N by either downloading it or just playing this online version. Alright, you done playing yet? Good, cause the PSP and DS version of N is exactly the same thing you just played, as far as gameplay goes anyway.

N+ for the two handhelds is exactly the same when it comes to gameplay, but there are a bunch of new additions to this version of the game that makes it worth the purchase. Hit the jump to see what’s so different about N+, most notably, the multiplayer.


To reiterate, the gameplay is exactly the same as the PC version of N. Atari wanted to make sure the game plays exactly the same as the original as it was already perfect.

So, lets focus on what’s been added. First off, there are two “modes” to N+, + Mode and Pure Mode. + Mode is basically a graphical wrapping paper, new character art, fancier textures and everything is extra shinier. Pure Mode maintains the exact same look N is known for. I tried both modes and honestly, I didn’t see a difference at all. Hardcore fans will no doubt notice the differences, but otherwise it’s just a little face lift.

Both the DS and PSP version will have 350 different levels packed in to the game (200 single player, 100 co-op and 50 versus). That’s 700 levels total between both versions on top of all the customizable levels you can design, but more on that in a bit. It will take a player about 20 hours just to unlock and play through all 350 for players to explore and collect everything. Otherwise, if you try for a speed run, it’ll take you about eight hours. There will be a lot of unlockables in the game, as well as secrets all over the place. From new levels, new colors for your ninja, to more, players will have plenty of stuff to do in N+.

The biggest addition to the N series is the new multiplayer mode. There will be six multiplayer modes and I got to preview Freeze Tag mode. Two players are dropped into a level (usually filled with all sorts of danger like missiles, lasers, robots, etc) with one of the players glowing. The player glowing needs to tag the other player by touching them and once they’re it, the cycle repeats until the end. Once you’re tagged it, your time bar starts to go down and you need to tag the other person before the bar goes down. The original creators of N loved this new addition so much, that they’re tinkering with a multiplayer mode for the PC now. 

Finally, lets take a look at the pros and cons of the PSP and DS version with the level editor, the look and community aspect of N+.

With the PSP version, the view slowly zooms out as you’re running around as needed, but you usually have a full view of the entire map. Creating custom levels on the PSP is a bit of a pain though, especially compared to the DS. It’s possible, it just will get some getting used to since everything is mapped to the buttons. But, the big bonus the PSP version has over the DS version is that you can download as many custom levels as your Memory Stick can handle. 

The DS version takes full use of both screens. The top screen shows the entire layout of the map along with where all the gold is and where you’re at. The bottom screen is a zoomed in close up of the section you’re currently at (look at the gallery for an example). The big advantage the DS has over the PSP is that you’ll use the touch screen to design your levels. But, because the DS has no memory management system, you’ll have to save the custom maps you’ll download onto the cartridge itself. There’s only eight save slots so you can have a max of up to eight custom maps. Also of note is that Atari was able to bypass the Friend’s Code system so sharing levels won’t be a giant pain in the ass.  

When the game first comes out, custom levels will be approved almost daily by N+ mods. After awhile, the process will take about a week to approve. If you find a map you really like, you’ll be able to follow the person who designed the map and keep up with their latest works. Players will aslo be able to rate levels they’ve downloaded.

Other features in N+ will include the ability to take and save replays, tutorial modes to show you how to take on some challenges, and stats that will show you exactly how you die (like if you get lasered, from gravity, etc). 

Overall, N+ is going to be tons of fun. Plus, you’re a Ninja, and Ninjas always make games 11/10. Atari is putting in the final touches on the game so expect it to come out on the DS and PSP very soon.  

Hamza Aziz