N (video game)
|Designer(s)||Raigan Burns, Mare Sheppard|
|Release date(s)||May 16, 2005|
N is a freeware video game developed by Metanet Software. It was inspired in part by Lode Runner, Soldat, and other side-scrolling games. A console version of the game has been released for the Xbox Live Arcade under the title N+ (also available for the Nintendo DS and Sony's PlayStation Portable system). It won the audience choice award in the downloadables category of the 2005 Independent Games Festival.
In N, the player controls a ninja who navigates tile-based levels while simultaneously avoiding hazards, collecting gold, and eventually opening an exit door which completes the level. Gameplay involves four keys — a move-left key (default left arrow), a move-right key (default right arrow), jumping (default shift key), and suicide (default k key). Combination of these moves on various types of terrain allows the ninja to perform a variety of movements, such as jumping from wall to wall, climbing up vertical inclines, and sliding down steep surfaces.
As of version 2.0, N contains one hundred episodes (numbered 00 – 99). Each episode features five levels (numbered 0 – 4). N has a total of 500 maps, 450 of which are made by Metanet Software. The remaining 50 levels are user levels hand-picked by Metanet. The goal of each level is to trigger the switch and exit through the door it opens within the time limit. Some levels have more than one exit and associated switch, giving the player more freedom to decide his route and method of completing the map. Each episode is given a cumulative time limit. At the beginning of level 0, the player is given 90 seconds to complete the next five levels. The episode's time limit can be increased by collecting gold, which adds two seconds per piece. The time left at the end of each level carries over to the next level. The only exception is the final level, in which the time left becomes that episode's score.
N also supports user-made levels. This is done through a built-in level editor called NEd, or the "N Editor". For version 1.4 and 2.0, Metanet selected a handful of fan-made maps that are given to players with the game's download. Levels can be added into a game by modifying a text file accompanying the game that contains user level data.
Five years after N 1.4 release, on 1 June 2010, Metanet Software announced on the Forums and on the Metablog, that they were going to definitely start with N 1.5. They created some threads in the forums that discussed every new aspect of the new version of N, asking for the players feedback, and asking the players their opinions. In December 2011, a demo of the N v2.0 beta was released in the form of a 'contesque'. Players who ranked highly in each section were awarded with prize packs, including T-shirts, N++ download codes, stickers, buttons and more. On 1 January 2013, version 2.0 was released as a full beta, complete with a new physics engine written in ActionScript 3.0. The official release added a plethora of new episodes and bonus content and minor bug fixes. As of 31 December 2014, 2.0 is the most recent version for PC. Metanet Software stated on "the Way of the Ninja" (Official N website) that a new N 2.1 is coming soon, promising better NED (level editor), more levels and even more secrets in the game. Metanet Software also stated that the source code of N will be released with the 2.1 version.
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