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N+

Consonant craving.

If you really get stuck, you can always check the leaderboards. Successful runs are automatically recorded and uploaded along with the score placing, so you can watch how the experts do it. Nothing blows away feelings of anger than seeing some smart-arse nimbly rattle through something you swore was impossible. As it is, these leaderboard replays are just another quietly brilliant idea, tucked away waiting to be found.

But what of the + element? This, in case you didn't know (and I probably should have explained this earlier, but there's no way I'm scrolling all the way back up to the top to rewrite the intro), is a remake of a critically acclaimed 2005 PC game. A freeware game, no less. As in, you can download it for nothing. Go on. I won't shout.

Given that the original already boasts a level editor and oodles of fan content, what can this Xbox Live Arcade version add to the mix to justify 800 Points of pretend Microsoft money? Well, the level editor is still present and correct - although you can only play your creations offline. Fan content is present though, in the form of in-game levels designed by enthusiasts of the PC version. In fact, all the levels are new to this game - often a lot smaller than the sprawling multi-faceted gymnasiums of the original, but somehow more fiendish because of their reduced size. Some quirky physics glitches have made their way across the divide though, most notably the way N can stand in thin air just to the side of a bouncing block. Hardly a massive problem (in fact it can be quite handy) but certainly the sort of thing you'd hope would have been fixed by now.

This week's very special guest star: Cactaur.

Where this paid-for version wins out is in the multiplayer options, something exclusive to consoles. Co-op mode is fairly obvious - you work together with a friend (or stranger, you kinky devil) to clear levels specially designed to tax two players. Races are also an option, legging it to the exit before your opponents. Survival, meanwhile, pits you against three other players in a scramble to grab as much gold as possible to stave off the dreaded timer death. Since you can respawn as long as you have time on the clock, the Survival levels are hilariously silly in the amount of hazards they throw at you.

Purely on the basis that it's a wonderful concept executed with no small amount of wit and style, N+ comes highly recommended - at least to those with a taste for such punishing gameplay. It's obscenely generous in the number of levels you get to play with, while the multiplayer modes provide even more incentive to keep playing. Maybe you're hesitant because you don't like the idea of paying for a game that you can get for free? If that's the case then go ahead and play the freebie version, but it'd be a shame to see an innovative independent developer punished for finally having a way to make some cash from its hard work.

8 / 10

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Dan Whitehead avatar

Dan Whitehead

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Dan has been writing for Eurogamer since 2006 and specialises in RPGs, shooters and games for children. His bestest game ever is Julian Gollop's Chaos.

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