Gadling's resident pilot explains what life in the cockpit is like
Add to: My AOL, MyYahoo, Google, Bloglines
Joystiq presents
Posts with tag metanet

Bury the Shovelware: N+

Man, it must feel like I'm just trying to pick fights this week. Allow me to explain myself: I love n+. It's incredibly fun, elegant, and well-made. JC gave the game a 9.5 / 10, and I'd say that's a pretty fair score. So how on earth does a good game get picked for Bury the Shovelware?

Throughout the duration of this column, we've learned a lot about shovelware. We've examined the sharing of blame between the publisher and developer, the curse of a license, the effects of critics' perception, and much more. Our top priority has been determining common attributes. One might ask what is the single, definitive trait common throughout all shovelware. The easy answer would be "it sucks." But to who? You? Me? Everyone? If you were to wander through the graveyard of the DS's library, even the loneliest tombstone will have a sympathizer or two. Particularly for younger gamers who might not know any better, cognizance is everything.

Thus, we must focus on the objective. As the swipe for this series states, "shovelware refers to any game in which time and effort were eschewed in favor of turning a quick profit." Theoretically, any game which shows compromise in any area for the benefit of time and/or money might be considered shovelware. Even if the game is a critical success, one can still identify flaws in its design. Without labeling n+ as shovelware, let's examine how its existence relates to the bottom-feeders of the DS.

Continue reading Bury the Shovelware: N+

DS Fanboy Review: N+

Metanet's N is a game in which the player is tasked with running very quickly through obstacles and jumping with high levels of precision in order to reach the exit door. It takes place in small, self-contained levels, uses simple, clean graphics, and has no real story to remember.

Though it first appeared as a freeware PC game and was then remade and enhanced as an Xbox Live Arcade game, there is no denying that N is an ideal handheld game. You really couldn't come up with a better design for an on-the-go game.

N+ from Atari is basically N, on the DS, with new levels. So, naturally, it works out pretty well.

Gallery: N+

Continue reading DS Fanboy Review: N+

E308: N+ media leaps deftly into our grasp

In the spirit of N+ featuring hundreds of levels, we've received hundreds (well, lots anyway) of screenshots and two new gameplay videos (head past the break for the second). If there is a limit to how long we can watch a little stick figure bouncing off walls and performing gravity-defying stunts, we haven't yet reached the critical threshold.

You can start learning about the mind-bending N+ experience with our hands-on preview, effectively taking "the best platforming engine in Flash, ever," for a ride. The thing is, no matter how many screens and videos you ogle, there's plenty more brand new levels being created constantly. Best of all, the DS version is just as full-featured as any other installment, including a full level creator and Wi-Fi multiplayer. N+ should be a sure-fire hit when it's released in August.

Gallery: N+

Continue reading E308: N+ media leaps deftly into our grasp

DS Fanboy Preview: N+

My eyes glazed as I stared at my Nintendo DS Lite which cased the finished build of N+. N, my titular ninja avatar, braced his body as he slid halfway down a wall before springing away, using his momentum to snatch three gold coins dangling in midair. I firmly pressed d-pad left, causing him to again shimmy down the wall slowly, carefully, before again leaping for a nearby ledge. Unfortunately, my momentum wasn't enough in this instance. Though little more than a plump stick figure, I had a vision of poor N desperately straining for the tip of the ledge that was at least (at least) a good six feet away before plummeting, plummeting, plummeting -- and eventually exploding in a shower of square-shaped shards as he cratered into the ground.

I grumbled, but the fault was wholly mine, not the acrobatic N's.

"You've got what the indie scene will call the best platforming engine in Flash, ever," said David Geudelekian, producer of Metanet Software's N+. "What N did really well was it presented this incredible platformer with 1000 levels, it was crazy difficult. N the ninja was this lithe, acrobatic guy with all the things developers had learned from other platformers. You can wall jump, you can press along the wall as you're falling to slow your descent. Because it's a full-featured physics engine, momentum can kill you, but if you use a ramp's natural curvature, you might be able to catapult yourself across the level."

Gallery: N+

Continue reading DS Fanboy Preview: N+

N+ knocks it up a notch with new trailers ... BAM

In the spirit of a true ninja master, the perenially popular platformer N+ is still on its merry way to the DS. Many people out there have tried several adventures of the anonymous little hero on the PC, and are better gamers for it. Put it this way -- N+ levels are really, super easy to make, so the DS version features plenty of original creations.

You can check out some of the high-flying gameplay in the new trailer above, along with two more after the break. N+ hasn't been dumbed-down for portable installments at all, and includes a full level editor and downloadable content. If you haven't tried N+ before, it would be in your best interest to slide down to your nearest store on August 28 and hand over the cash for this bad boy. Ninja-style.

Continue reading N+ knocks it up a notch with new trailers ... BAM

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 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."

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.

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.

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]

Next Page >

Gaming to Go!We debate the hot topics!

This Month's New Games

Name Date
Bleach: Dark Souls
Oct 6
Legend of Kage 2
Oct 6
Crash: Mind Over Mutant
Oct 6
Spectrobes: Beyond the Portals
Oct 6
My Japanese Coach
Oct 14
Korg DS-10
Oct 14
Naruto: Path of the Ninja 2 Oct 14
FIFA Soccer 09 Oct 14
Populous Oct 14
Rock Revolution
Oct 14
Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia
Oct 21
Oct 21
Spider-Man: Web of Shadows Oct 21
Away: Shuffle Dungeon
Oct 21
Oct 21
Spyro: Dawn of the Dragon
Oct 21
What's Cooking? With Jamie Oliver Oct 21
MySims Kingdom
Oct 28
Ninjatown Oct 28

Get homebrew on your DS!

Popular on DS Fanboy

The story
More like it
Nintendo reveals the DSi
Lock's Quest review
BTS: Cakemania
G2G: Clubhouse Games
Gaming to Go
Preview: Big Bang Mini
Another Week in ... (50)
Bury the Shovelware (15)
Contests / Giveaways (19)
DS Daily (565)
DS Fanboy Lite (42)
DS Fanboy poll (41)
Friday video (70)
Game Night (157)
Gaming to Go (14)
Items of Import (7)
Metareview (58)
Point/Counterpoint (6)
Promotional Consideration (58)
Show and Tell (72)
The DS Life (67)
What are you playing? (90)
Accessories (147)
Downloads (68)
Fan stuff (1418)
Features (291)
GBA (129)
Hacks (82)
Homebrew (229)
How-tos (75)
Imports (937)
Interviews (155)
Meta (135)
Mods (17)
News (3318)
Nintendo Wi-Fi (190)
Reviews (192)
Sales (196)
Screens (992)
Video (733)
Rumors (193)



Powered by Blogsmith

Featured Galleries

Neopets Puzzle Adventure
Hot 'N Cold
Show and Tell: Epic
Goodbye, GBA slot
Mario & Luigi 3
Nintendo DSi
Chocobo and the Magic Storybook: The Witch, The Maiden, and the Five Heroes
Shaun White Snowboarding
Show and Tell: Painted love


Most Commented On (14 days)

Recent Comments

Weblogs, Inc. Network

  • Autos
    • Autoblog
    • AutoblogGreen
    • Autoblog Spanish
    • Autoblog Chinese
    • Autoblog Simplified Chinese
  • Technology
    • Download Squad
    • Engadget
    • Engadget HD
    • Engadget Mobile
    • Engadget Chinese
    • Engadget Simplified Chinese
    • Engadget Japanese
    • Engadget Germany
    • Engadget Korea
    • Engadget Polska
    • Engadget Spanish
    • Switched
    • TUAW (Apple)
  • Lifestyle
    • AisleDash
    • DIY Life
    • Gadling
    • Green Daily
    • Luxist
    • ParentDish
    • Slashfood
    • StyleList Blog
    • That's Fit
  • Gaming
    • Joystiq
    • DS Fanboy
    • Massively
    • Nintendo Wii Fanboy
    • PS3 Fanboy
    • PSP Fanboy
    • WoW Insider
    • Xbox 360 Fanboy
    • Big Download
  • Entertainment
    • Cinematical
    • TV Squad
  • Finance
    • BloggingBuyouts
    • BloggingStocks
    • WalletPop
  • Sports
    • FanHouse Main
    • NFL
    • NBA
    • MLB
    • NCAA Football
    • NCAA Basketball
    • NASCAR
    • NHL
    • Golf
    • Free Fantasy Football
  • Also on AOL
    • African-American Culture
    • Cars
    • Games
    • Maps
    • Money
    • Movies
    • Music
    • News
    • Radio
    • Sports
    • Stock Quotes
    • Television
    • Travel

Other Weblogs Inc. Network blogs you might be interested in:

PS3 Fanboy
  • Buy PixelJunk Eden, get Monsters Encore for free
  • Alone in the Dark gets new subtitle for PS3: Inferno
  • Win a copy of Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
WOW Insider
  • WoW Arena Tournament down to top three teams
  • Notes from the BlizzCon 2008 Art panel
  • BlizzCon 2008: WoW Insider interviews J. Allen Brack
Xbox 360 Fanboy
  • Rumor: Mirror's Edge demo releasing Nov. 6th
  • World at War beta tokens being awarded
  • A look at the NXE's Marketplace online
Nintendo Wii Fanboy
  • New Mario Kart tournament keeps it simple
  • TGS08: The dead rise in latest Chop 'Til You Drop trailer
  • Pro Evolution Soccer 2009 scores with fresh media, screens, trailer
PSP Fanboy
  • PSP Fanboy hands-on: Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep
  • TGS 08: LocoRoco 2 grabs us with cuteness and depth
  • American PC Store update for October 9th
Big Download Blog
  • Notes from the Diablo III class panel
  • Activision to release "value priced" Secret Service
  • Saints Row 2 trailer welcomes you back to Stilwater
Fanhouse Golf Blog
  • Five Months Pregnant and Still Making Birdies, Hjorth Near the Lead in LPGA
  • Boo Weekley on 'The Tonight Show'