Not too long ago, an aspiring designer created a series of death traps for ninjas. These traps were not merely cunning mazes or killing-machine-filled rooms, but also a downloadable game for the PC. The game was known as N, a stylishly short abbreviation for Ninja. Atari now enables you to enjoy redesigned ninja challenges on the go in the form of N+ on the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP.
When picking up the game, you become the guide for a bell-bottom-clad ninja as he crosses chasms and traverses increasingly challenging mazes to activate switches--or series of switches--to get to the all-important exit. By making use of a full repertoire of moves, you can find the little guy a way out of more than 200 encounters. Available moves include a wall jump, a wall slide, and the ability to sprint up or down inclines. You can even bound off of walls and shifting blocks. Although you don't have a sword or a double-jump ability, you do have plenty of control over your in-flight movement. This will help you land on narrow ledges, slip through tight passages, and reverse your momentum to avoid any number of diabolical devices. The creators of the various levels cunningly imbedded deadly red mines, electrified blue orbs, and stationary units that shoot homing missiles or deadly accurate projectiles.
As if the enemies and level designs were not challenging enough, a timer in the top screen ruthlessly counts down a collection of microseconds toward zero or otherwise inescapable failure. As you traverse the level, you can grab gold bricks to extend your total time. These units of golden measure are frequently located in hard-to-reach or danger-soaked areas. The time you accumulate carries over from map to map in five-map sets. Completing map collections unlocks victory animations, alternate costumes, and other commodities that came standard in the Xbox 360 release or via homebrew download on the PC. Despite the other versions granting you access to these items from the start, recategorizing them as unlockables adds another element of motivation to continue playing from episode to episode.
The portable versions update the graphics to make the imagery cleaner, sharper, and slightly more colorful. The trancelike soundtrack that was so great on the 360 is gone. The new soundtrack is not only unlockable in two monotonous flavors (though the PSP version's music is less grating), but also has been buried in the options menu. While in the options menu, discriminating players can choose to play levels in the shiny, new Plus graphics or in the retro Pure mode. Neither mode of viewing has any affect on gameplay.