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Posts with tag n

N+ merchandise is like official fan creations

This may be a first: Metanet, creators of the original N, the 360 N+, and the levels for the DS N+, have set up an Etsy shop to sell handmade N+ merchandise. Is it possible for these people to be any cooler? We don't think so, unless they send us some free stuff.

For surprisingly reasonable prices, you can buy ninja t-shirts, really cool-looking stationery sets, and a vinyl cuff (like a big fat bracelet) with an N+ screenshot on it. All of it is very limited-edition (because, like the game, just a few people worked on it), and happens to be very attractive due to the N+ aesthetic. We're putting serious consideration into a set of cards, but we rarely have call for ninja-mail.

A pendulous new N+ level

We won't be too harsh on IGN for billing this video of N+ gameplay as the "first N+ DS footage." We'll just casually point over in the direction of, ahem, last month. Nonetheless, N+ video is always welcome. This short clip of a bizarre new level is no exception.

This level's devious design centers around a large open area full of gold that is also guarded, panopticon-style, by a sentry, with a set of switches that forces the player to run back and forth across the area multiple times. You could choose to jump up and grab some of the copious gold, but it may slow you down, and that expanse has nowhere to hide from the targeted lasers.

If that's not enough N-Plussery, IGN also has an interview up with Metanet that discusses the DS version briefly.

Gallery: N+

DS Daily: Game squared

First, watch this awesome video. It's an awesome video, right? A YouTube user 007craft remade The Legend of Zelda, from the first screen through the first dungeon, in the Xbox Live Arcade version of N+. It's wonderfully bizarre to see the screens so faithfully rendered in a completely different gameplay style. Simple things like reaching doors at the top of the screen become acrobatic struggles.

Have you ever used one game to recreate another game or its elements? Maybe you've edited all of the textures in your Animal Crossing town, Drawn Mario to Life, or composed some game music in Mario Paint. When you get access to an in-game editor, is making references to other games the first thing you do?

DS Fanboy interview: N+

Metanet Software officially consists of two people: Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns. Together they created the original PC game N, and contributed all of the levels (save the contest-winning user levels) to the DS, PSP, and (self-developed) XBLA versions of N+.

Now these two people are in the unique position of seeing their game evolve simultaneously down three different paths (well, almost three, since the DS and PSP games were developed by the same team) on three different consoles. We sent in some questions about this experience, as well as some details about the DS game and its level design -- and they were kind enough to answer those questions! Producer David Geudelekian stepped in in a few cases to answer some questions that went outside Metanet's knowledge (specifics about DS features, for example).

Gallery: N+

Continue reading DS Fanboy interview: N+

Metanet on the cost of N+

Siliconera posted a fascinating interview with Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns of Metanet, as well as N+'s producer at Atari, David Geudelekian. Some new information was revealed -- specifically, that the DS version contains 8 save slots for stages. The point was made, however, that the level server can also be used as storage. It's simply a matter of, in Wii Virtual Console terms, cleaning out the refrigerator.

They also addressed something that comes up a lot in our coverage of the game: the fact that it costs money. Many people are of the opinion that because the original game was free, it's ridiculous to pay money for the new one. We would agree if not for the fact that N was fantastic and would have been worth whatever Metanet decided to charge. In their own words:

"...the question itself contains the unspoken assumption that a player who enjoyed N is going to be less interested in purchasing N+ than someone who's never played the game. Even if N+ was identical to N but featured a new set of levels, I think anyone who's addicted to N would be interested in having those new levels in a portable format. Beyond the hundreds of new levels, we think enough new bits have been added - most importantly the multiplayer modes - to justify the "+" sign."

N+ video is jaw-dropping

Atari knows how much we love N+, so they sent us some brand-new gameplay footage. We have played the game (though in a much earlier stage) and we still found ourselves arrested by the unexpected beauty of the footage. YouTube isn't the best medium to get the crispness of the video across, but the 60-frames-per-second animation is still there, as is the quick, precise movement of the ninja character. The music is also catchy and retro-techno-awesome.

In addition to the new video, we've updated the gallery with 15 screenshots, each showing off a different level. The levels are crazily varied, showing the strength of the editor (and of Metanet's imaginations).

See also: 2008's Biggest Blips: N+

Gallery: N+

Freeware N-spirations

In their latest IGN blog entry, N creators Metanet listed a bunch of recommended freeware and shareware games. Some of the picks are pointed out as having helped inspire the N game design. The first, Zone Runner, is described as " You run, jump, and collect gold. And die. A lot. Sound familiar?" Other games mentioned specifically as inspiring include Puchiwara no Bouken (which looks like the missing link between Lode Runner and N) and Super Bubble Blob.

Since we claim total ignorance of PC freeware games that are not N or Cave Story, we now have some homework ahead of us! As do you. We normally aren't in the position to link to a bunch of freeware PC games, but this time there's evidence of a direct influence on an upcoming (highly anticipated) DS game.

2008's Biggest Blips: N+

Developer: Silverbirch Studios
Publisher: Atari
Release: April

The physics-based platformer N was a unique PC release. While platform games are a staple of the medium, N distinguished itself with its sophisticated physics-engine, minimalist presentation, parkour-like movement and, especially, a level editor that allows fans to design levels with every feature of the official ones.

The game has been updated and remade for release on the DS (and other systems). A bunch of new levels have been added, including contest-winning fan levels. The game features a dual-view in which the bottom screen zooms in on the player and the top screen shows the full level. New enemies and obstacles have been added. A DS-specific level editor has been created that allows for online level sharing just like in the PC version. The question, then, for original developer Metanet and console publisher Atari, is how to convey this in the game's title. N, being so short, brings minimal information about the content of the game. And even gamers familiar with the PC game wouldn't guess from the name N that so much had been added. Thus, it was important to come up with a name that clues gamers into both the inherent ninja-ness of the base game and the updated material in the console version. And, well, it was a long process.

Rejected titles for the DS remake of the PC freeware physics-based puzzle-platformer, N:
  • The Island of Secret Jumping
  • Jump: The Jumpening
  • Platformia: A Synaesthetic Vertical Experience
  • Jumpster! The Jumping Ant in: Big Day Out
  • The Player Dies From Falling Or Being Hit By Some Kinda Robot
  • Quest for Gold Coins: The Tale of a Ninja
  • A+
  • B+
  • You Probably Get That Particular Joke By Now
  • Taco Hunt USA
  • Get Killed By A Thing
  • Large Levels, Small Guy: The Journey of a Lifetime
  • Dr. Platformatic's Ninjadventure
  • Desperation Gymnastics
  • John Madden's Guitar Halo
  • Platforming Training: Learn Precision Video Game Playing in Minutes a Day
  • Ninja Legend: A Ninja's Legend
  • Legendary Ninja: Birth of a Ninja Legend
  • Gold Quest: Lost Coins of the Realm
  • My Pet Ninja
  • Run Run Run Run Jump
  • Extreme Oreo Run: Savor the Action (Atari was exploring possible licenses)
In the end, Atari decided that the best way to get the message of "N plus stuff" across was to give it the obvious name: Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. But copyright prevented that, so they went with N+.

Gallery: N+

Bangai-O Spirits Back But can you farm?

N+ & N+ & N+

Metanet Software's Mare Sheppard and Raigan Burns are entertaining. Almost as entertaining, in fact, as their game N. Or maybe even a little more. That's why reading about pretty much any subject on their official Metanet blog or their N+ developer blog on IGN is a treat. And when the subject actually is N+, well, so much the better.

They've posted discussions on both blogs about the three different versions of N+ and how they are, well, different. The Xbox Live Arcade release, in addition to the obvious difference in image quality, is being developed by Slick Entertainment in close collaboration with Metanet themselves and is therefore going to be the most faithful to the original N in terms of feel. The handheld versions will feel slightly different according to the experts: "The style/design (of the DS and PSP versions) in general, as well as the feeling of moving the ninja, are definitely more "influenced by" than "identical to" the flash version," they say.

Apparently the developers have made some decisions that Metanet themselves wouldn't agree with. Way back in August, when I played an alpha version of DS N+, it felt absolutely right. But what do I know? It's a little disheartening to hear that the handheld game isn't exactly as Metanet would want, but we can only hope the changes work out or are so minor that normal folks won't notice.

As a happy side effect of the difference in aspect ratio across the systems, each version of the game has completely unique levels -- around 500 of them. That plus the fundamental N-ness makes pretty much any version you can play a good buy. Especially the DS version, which has the benefit of being on the system this website's about.

Gallery: N+

[Via GameSetWatch]

Read - Metanet Software blog
Read - IGN blog

N+: The Screens of the Ninja

Having previously only seen three screenshots ever of Atari's new DS version of Metanet's platformer N+, we're extremely grateful for any updates we get about the game. Especially when they include screens, and especially when those screens are really cool-looking.

One of the most interesting aspects of N is the variety possible in the level designs, both official and fan-made. Some levels are about precise jumps, some about avoiding enemies, and others hinge on moving in one specific path without deviation. Using a very simple set of elements, all kinds of crazy stages can be made.

Check out the variety of stages on display in these latest screens. Every level pretty much looks completely unlike any of the others.

N+ boxart wall-jumps out, collects gold

A rather final-looking boxart has shown up on Amazon for N+, Atari's upgraded remake of Metanet Software's brilliant freeware platformer N. It lacks the final ESRB rating, and contains some kind of "FPO" code, but it looks otherwise ready for stores. It features the two most important elements of N+: jumping and gold, and keeps it simple otherwise. The image also appears on Atari's page for the game, so it's probably safe to look for that picture when you go to buy it.

But when can you do that? Amazon and Atari both say March 18th, while Gamestop says February 26th. We're guessing that the later date is the real one, because that's pretty much how it works. That gives us just ... not nearly enough time to finish all the official single-player levels in N.

DS Daily: Born free

There are a lot of games on the DS whose origins are in free online games. Some, like Diner Dash, Nervous Brickdown, and the upcoming N+ and WordJong, are good, or even great. Some are Elf Bowling 1&2. In every case of a free game getting remade as a DS cartridge, money is charged.

Do you have any games based on freeware? Do you plan on getting any in the near future? Is compelling gameplay enough to warrant a purchase for a portable console, when the experience can be had for nothing on PC? Or do you require significant expansion and upgrading before you'd even consider it?

Our personal view: even if a game costs nothing, that doesn't mean it has no value. We don't want to pay strictly for portability, but we're entirely willing to shell out for new content in a game whose progenitors were once free. Not Elf Bowling 1&2, though.

Online level sharing in N+

In a 1up interview, Atari's Tavit Geudelekian described the level-sharing capabilities of the DS and PSP versions of N+: "the DS and PSP [versions] will support a full level editor that will allow players to build their own stages and share them locally via ad hoc connection or upload them through an infrastructure connection to a database of user-created levels online."

Unfortunately, because the DS lacks any kind of permanent storage, you'll only be able to download a few levels at a time, and they'll be lost when you turn the system off. We'd love to see the interface for designing levels, but none of the three new screens of the DS version highlight that feature.

N+ features a Pure mode, which is a direct port of the PC version, and a Plus mode, with new graphics and enemies. Also new to the handheld remakes: multiplayer, in both cooperative and competitive modes!

[Via GoNintendo]

User-created content in N+

Metanet just announced the winners of their SUBLIME (Submit Unique and Brilliant Levels to Metanet Event) competition, in which they asked fans to do their work for them design new levels for the DS, PSP, and XBox Live Arcade versions of N+. 29 user-created levels made the cut for the DS version, including "Endless Flight?" seen above. User-created levels on the retail cartridge? So awesome.

In addition to the honor of having their level in the game, winners get a free copy of N+. As cool as this contest is, we hope it isn't a substitute for an in-game level editor.

[Via GameSetWatch]

N+ probably coming out in Europe

European DS players who want some physics-platforming may not have to import after all. Metanet stated on their blog that Eurogamer was mistaken about the US-only status of N+, stating "We're happy to announce that N+ will indeed be released in Europe." In their tongue-in-cheek correction of Eurogamer, they also confirmed that N+ would indeed be released in Canada as well, not that there was any question.

However, Eurogamer responded by saying that they didn't inaccurately report on the release plans. Apparently, publisher Atari told them that they currently had no plans to release N+ in Europe. Perhaps Atari and Metanet need to have a small discussion.

[Via Eurogamer]

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