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What is N++? An Intro to the PS4 Action-Platformer

Mare Sheppard's Avatar + Posted by Mare Sheppard on Feb 28, 2014 // Co-Founder, Metanet

Hi everyone! This is Metanet, back with another update. Since our last post, we’ve been focused on getting N++ into an alpha state, which has mostly involved adding all of the particle effects, sounds, and animation that help to really bring things to life. While the main core of the game has been working for a while, it’s nice to finally see things with more bells and whistles!

We’ve also been making and arranging levels — a continuous process that will go on right up until the game ships — as well as doing some playtesting. People are responding well to the new levels so far, although we may have made some of them a bit too hard. ;)

The good news is: we now have a playable demo which we’ll be showing soon at BitSummit and Game Developers Conference. If you’ll be at either of those events, please stop by and check it out!

For those of you who don’t really know what N++ is, today we’re going to delve further into one simple question: “What is N++?”

The genre that best describes N++ is without a doubt “platformer.” You play as a tiny ninja who runs and jumps around a 2D side-view world full of interactive objects and deadly enemies, collecting gold and trying to make it safely to the next level. It’s fast-paced, tense and exciting.

However, N++ has a unique feel which distinguishes it from other platformers: the ninja moves with an exaggerated sense of inertia and momentum. Gradually learning how to control the ninja — developing an intuition for how it will react and how to harness its momentum — is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of the game. Once mastered, the ninja is capable of some fantastically agile acrobatics. There’s nothing like the thrill of pulling off a difficult maneuver to soar untouched through a swarm of enemies.

The levels in N++ are also a bit different from traditional platformer fare: instead of just boxy square tiles, there are many angled surfaces and smooth curves. This is no accident — the ninja’s momentum-based movement means that hills and slopes can be used as ramps to launch off of, and learning how to use the environment to your advantage is a key part of playing the game.

N++ on PS4N++ on PS4

The ninja can jump up walls almost as easily as running along the ground, which opens things up vertically and leads to a very dynamic and diverse range of levels. Playing N++ is kind of like what we imagine parkour / freerunning to be like – although much less physically demanding!

Each level is contained within a single 16:9 screen, which makes the game feel a bit like a puzzle-platformer – the question of each level is: can you figure out a safe route to the exit? More importantly, can you actually perform/execute this route? N++ is very fast-paced, and there aren’t many places where you can rest and plan out a route – the enemies just keep on coming, and they can’t be stopped, so you need to be able to think on your feet.

In order to beat a level, you have to first touch a switch which opens the exit, then get to the exit alive. Sometimes the switch is behind locked doors, and it’s usually guarded by several inadvertently homicidal robots. Occasionally the path to the switch is long, so you’ll need to collect gold along the way to add to your timer — the clock is always ticking, and running out of time means game over.

N++ on PS4

In any case, because the level is visible all at once, you can take some time to mentally prepare before the level starts. Thinking about how to traverse the stage and working out where you need to go to activate the switch and make it to the exit in one piece is essential.

Though there are hundreds of them, each N++ level explores a different feeling, puzzle, or set of skills. Some are claustrophobic, others are vast and spacious; some are relatively short and easy, others are long and challenging. You’ll need to be flexible and creative to get through all of them!

Another unique aspect of N++ is its graphical style: it’s made up of very smooth, very clean anti-aliased vector shapes. We have put a lot of effort into making things as beautiful as possible, enlisting a minimalist aesthetic so the levels aren’t cluttered up with distracting detail — every graphic and bit of movement on the screen is significant. Structuring the graphics this way lets you as a player quickly “read” the state of the world with a minimum of effort, allowing you to focus on controlling the ninja rather than parsing a lot of extraneous visual information. Streamlining the visual experience lets us make the levels more complex and dynamic without overwhelming you or making deaths feel unfair.

N++ on PS4N++ on PS4

N++ on PS4

The vector graphics also enhance the smoothness of motion, so you can feel the ninja’s movement across fractions of a pixel. N++ is a game of precision, and when you’re trying to guide your ninja safely through a dangerous level, every pixel counts! As you attempt to solve each level, you’ll probably die a lot – but restarting the level is almost instantaneous, and you can retry as many times as you’d like.

The adjective which best describes N++ is probably a tie between “difficult” and “fun”; it can be quite challenging to master, but this creates a profound sense of accomplishment as you learn and develop your ninja skills. Levels which seem impossible at first become easy as you get a feel for playing, and possibilities open up as you learn new techniques and strategies. By the end of the game, you’ll be flying through densely populated worlds with a series of perfectly executed moves… sometimes right into a mine. ;)

N++ will also feature several multiplayer modes which let you cooperate or compete with your friends. Co-op sees two ninjas helping each other to reach the exit alive; these levels tend to be fairly devious and often involve traps and tricks which players must figure out together. Race mode is, as the name suggests, a 4-player race to the exit. The rules encourage some risk/reward excitement, and you’ll have to decide whether it’s better to just bolt for the exit, or grab some gold on the way.

N++ on PS4

We’re also introducing a new Deathmatch mode, inspired by one of our favourite classic freeware games, Jump n Bump (you can try it here, best with four players). This mode will feature arena-like levels where ninjas battle to survive. We’ll talk more about the multiplayer modes in a later post, but hopefully this is enough to pique your curiosity for now!

We’re still in the process of making levels, but so far it looks like there will be over 1,000 new levels in the game, which will all have global and friend leaderboards. There’s also a level editor, so should you ever get bored of the built-in levels, you can create your own and share them globally (these will have leaderboards as well).

We have lots of fancy surprises to layer on top of the stylish graphics and fabulous particle effects you can see in the screenshots – and we’ll be throwing in a handful of our patented “fun-lockables” as well. Hopefully this gives you a better idea of what you can look forward to in N++. We’ll be back with more soon. Until then, watch the teaser trailer at the top of this post to see N++ in motion for the first time. Thanks for reading!

//Add Your Own

49 Comments   10 Replies

1

+ Mcmax3000 on February 28th, 2014 at 8:06 am said:

This game is legitimately one of the main reasons I got my PS4. I played, and loved N+ on multiple platforms. Can’t wait for this one.


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    + Mare Sheppard on February 28th, 2014 at 1:59 pm said:

    wow, thanks! It’s so nice to hear this, and from so many people!


2

+ Binarynova on February 28th, 2014 at 8:14 am said:

Looking forward to this game. It’s easily one of my most anticipated PS4 releases!


3

+ VincentVendetta on February 28th, 2014 at 8:14 am said:

Are you thinking about a Vita version? I love the N series since the original flash game, I’ll definitely pick this one up.


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    + Mare Sheppard on February 28th, 2014 at 10:34 am said:

    We’re focusing on PS4 first, to make sure we do this game justice. If that goes well, we can start thinking about expanding to other platforms. We certainly agree that N++ could work well on a Vita, so we’ll definitely consider it!


4

+ GranpireV on February 28th, 2014 at 8:15 am said:

Wow. Like N+, this would be the absolute perfect portable game, and yet there’s nothing about the Vita here?

I spent hours in high school trying to beat the levels in N+ (PSP) with my friends. That’s what portable gaming is all about. I’m really disappointed.


5

+ Gorvi on February 28th, 2014 at 8:29 am said:

I can’t wait to get in on some co-op in this. :)


6

+ MaDogNik96 on February 28th, 2014 at 8:51 am said:

I’m having trouble signing in to the mobile PSN store on my phone. Every time I sign in it says an error has occurred. I know it’s my right info. Could you please look into this, Sony? I have an iPhone 5.


7

+ fatdog21 on February 28th, 2014 at 9:02 am said:

i thought this game was coming to vita also?


8

+ detictiveconan on February 28th, 2014 at 9:18 am said:

Is this going to be PS4 exclusive?


9

+ nYcFrEeWiLL82 on February 28th, 2014 at 9:24 am said:

game play is alot of fun ..Graphics need a hell of alot of improvement!! this is 2014..the graphics should be above par these days. If Joe Danger can look as good as a 2D platformer so can this game!..Step your graphics up and you will see alot more support. which also means alot more money! :p – 2 cents imput


10

+ alarionultima on February 28th, 2014 at 9:24 am said:

Great, but im going to wait to the vita version.. because it will be on vita too right?


11

+ Rezznak on February 28th, 2014 at 9:32 am said:

YES!!!!! DAY 1! One of my most anticipated. And it’s really coming along!


12

+ Grindhead_Jim on February 28th, 2014 at 9:32 am said:

@9:

This franchise has been around quite a long time. The look of the series is deliberate, and, frankly, welcome. I’ll take this game over a CoD clone any day of the week.


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    + Mare Sheppard on February 28th, 2014 at 10:37 am said:

    Thanks for your support! We’re glad to hear you appreciate the look :)


13

+ JumpMan33 on February 28th, 2014 at 9:38 am said:

I can’t get enough platformers, I’m glad that they been making a comeback in the past few years. Put this on the Vita and I’ll buy it in a heartbeat. :D


14

+ PainOfSarrow on February 28th, 2014 at 9:41 am said:

ahhh another game i always wanted on ps3 for ps4 only. thats exclusives for you.


15

+ wilfareus on February 28th, 2014 at 9:54 am said:

this would be perfect on the Vita


16

+ BahumatIsBack on February 28th, 2014 at 10:03 am said:

OK, this game was on the PSP. There is no reason for it to be on the PS4 especially since it has not been updated with the exception of running on another platform and slapped a coat of paint on it. Is the game fun? – Sure. I played it on the PSP and it does have it’s merits – ON A MOBILE PLATFORM. Does it belong on a next gen gaming console? – NO. It belongs on mobile platforms like the PSP/Vita, tablets, or phones.

Don’t let the PS4 go the way of the vita with nothing but indy ports. I’m half expecting this to show up on the instant game collection for the PS4 and I’m also willing to bet that a lot of people will cancel their subscriptions if it does. This push towards casual gaming with less emphasis on big AAA titles will end up being the death of home gaming if it’s allowed to continue. I’m sure there are alot of people that enjoy casual gaming like this, but I’ll say it again. It does not belong on a next gen game console


17

+ BahumatIsBack on February 28th, 2014 at 10:03 am said:

Anybody remember why PS4 is currently beating the Xbox One? Microsoft was too focused on home media apps instead of games. Well, now here we are and Sony’s too focused on casual gamers and forgetting about the hardcore gamers. If anybody has any doubts about that, just look at the vita games released in the last year. This trend will either force people to go back to PC gaming or give up on you guys altogether

GAMERS FIRST!!!!!


18

+ BahumatIsBack on February 28th, 2014 at 10:08 am said:

You guys want to bring some old school stuff to the PS4? Work on letting us use our PS1/PS2/PS3/PSP/Vita games purchased from the PSN store. Do HD remakes of classic games. Don’t shove a bunch of indies down our throats every month without giving us AAA titles, backwards compatibility, media playback, or the 100 other features that should be standard in this day and age. Start listening to your customers


19

+ italodancemp3 on February 28th, 2014 at 10:29 am said:

No No don’t bring it to Vita tnx


20

+ Junguler on February 28th, 2014 at 11:34 am said:

n++ <3


21

+ Winterwolf2010 on February 28th, 2014 at 11:35 am said:

Looks interesting. Are you guys going to be offering a Demo Version when this is released?


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    + Mare Sheppard on February 28th, 2014 at 11:43 am said:

    Yes, we think so. We want as many people as possible to check it out!


22

+ Criscross87v3 on February 28th, 2014 at 12:04 pm said:

Bought N+ on PSP, DS, and xbla since they all had different levels. Currently don’t have a PS4 due to economic reasons, but I do have a VIta, I sure hope a N++ port launches there soon. But N++ will be a must buy as soon as I get a PS4.


23

+ iREVOLTER on February 28th, 2014 at 12:38 pm said:

N+ was a hit for on PSP, loved it. Hope a portable version of N++ for PSV as well ;)


24

+ juggalorider on February 28th, 2014 at 1:46 pm said:

lol at first 2 comments, speak for yourself i think gta5 is the best game ever an the best ps4 game is ff14 or watch dogs or ff15 but this game looks retarded


25

+ poodude on February 28th, 2014 at 2:06 pm said:

I’ve heard of N+ before, but never got to try it out. New game looks great though! Unless I missed it in the post, is coop available offline?


26

+ Toe_Tag_ on February 28th, 2014 at 3:16 pm said:

So much for ONLINE COMMUNITY. Shutting down the Socom servers says alot about what community means to Sony. I paid for a online game only and you shut it down. What a JOKE.


27

+ Gamerzlimited on February 28th, 2014 at 4:00 pm said:

Look forward to N++. Don’t have a PS4 yet, but will get the game day one when I do. Too bad you guys can’t do anything about bring the PSP version of N+ on PSN. Oh well…

@BahumatIsBack They should start by not listening to you. You’re attempts at poor trolling determines how much you know nothing about the gaming industry. You are directly insulting indie developers who worked hard on these games. I also really hate how you are treating all gaming developers as AAA professionals. You do realize this is the 4th month that the PS4 came out and do you expect AAA games now? No, give them time. Games cost money to make you know. But if that’s the case, why don’t you make AAA game yourself and let me judge of how crappy it is? I’ll laugh when it’s junk.


28

+ tusunami on February 28th, 2014 at 4:25 pm said:

I remember this game like it was yesterday. I had this game on my Limited ed. Gow psp. I miss this game because it was challenging & I had so much fun play this all the time.


29

+ alphagoku1 on February 28th, 2014 at 5:43 pm said:

well its nice to have some more info on the game, and ive been a fan since the flash days, but when is this coming out? its way past due to say only stages are being added, which could be added as dlc bundles, its nice that youre taking the time you need to get it how you want it to be released, but come on, it should be out by now, at least a demo or something, jeez..


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    + Mare Sheppard on February 28th, 2014 at 8:15 pm said:

    Actually.. I suppose the trailer didn’t really communicate this (good to know! we’ll try to fix this in the future) but the entire game + graphics system have been written from scratch (by Shawn McGrath of Dyad fame).. and, there is a *lot* of work involved in all of the menus/UI (for all of the level sharing stuff). This is not just a bunch of new levels.. it runs/feels/looks a lot smoother, we have made this thing from the ground up.

    Having said that, the levels are really important: N++ is the kind of game lives and dies by the levels — making, testing, refining and arranging levels is one of the most time-consuming and labour-intensive parts of the whole development process! The quality of the levels, and the feeling of moving through them — this is why you pick this game up, and why you keep playing just one more time. It may seem like an easy job, or one that’s not that important, but in actuality, it’s crucial. And, there are a lot of levels.

    Unfortunately we don’t know when it will be finished yet — but we do know that when it’s done, it’ll be done right. It’ll be worth the wait, we promise! :)


30

+ BahumatIsBack on February 28th, 2014 at 7:05 pm said:

@Gamerzlimited – I didn’t insult the game or the developer of the game. If you actually bothered to read what I said before running off at the mouth I said the PSP game was fun, but it’s just not suited for the current gen home consoles. If it had been a vita release I wouldn’t have said a thing because it suits itself for mobile gaming

My comments weren’t directed solely about a PS4. I own a PS2, PS3, PSP, a Vita and a PS4 and judging by the focus on indie games that bog down the vita I don’t want to see that happen to the PS4. They don’t all have to be multi-million dollar games. I quite enjoyed Sound Shapes for example and that couldn’t have had a big budget like what you’d see from devs like Square Enix, EA, or Bioware for examples. Can you honestly say that this game is best suited for a PS4 only release at this time?

My comments were not directed at the publisher of this game but were directed at Sony for the loss of hardcore gamer focus and the shift towards casual gaming. If you can’t see that then you’re blind.

PS – The only troll I see on this board is you and about 3 other people that have nothing better to do than post on every single topic on this board


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    + Mare Sheppard on February 28th, 2014 at 8:22 pm said:

    We promise that N++ is in no way a casual game. It’s very, very difficult! (Currently a bit *too* difficult, perhaps)

    We’re actually using a crap-ton of fill rate for the anti-aliasing on the graphics… hopefully we can get our programmer Shawn (who made Dyad) to write a post about it some time. It may not look like it but N++ is actually quite GPU-hungry. Just like Shawn in this pic ;) https://31.media.tumblr.com/aacb6a43eff4d297e637d6a86fb2b46a/tumblr_n0zr289iLB1t1om7eo1_1280.jpg


31

+ BahumatIsBack on February 28th, 2014 at 7:07 pm said:

It’s ok. I know reading is hard


32

+ Chaos_Bladez on February 28th, 2014 at 8:40 pm said:

Man, a Vita version would be so sick!


33

+ BahumatIsBack on February 28th, 2014 at 8:58 pm said:

@Mare Sheppard – I meant no disrespect to you or the people that worked on this game. While your game was fun on the PSP, I tend to play more games that have a story so it’s just a preference issue. I was just venting at Sony about the direction that they’re taking the PS4 and the Vita. They’re forgetting that older gamers remember the days when a game had to be complete and tested before being printed to disc since there was no such thing as online updates. They’re forgetting that the new console is supposed to do everything the last one did plus more, and they’re forgetting that name/brand recognition goes a long way in game sales which translate into console sales.


34

+ BahumatIsBack on February 28th, 2014 at 8:59 pm said:

While games from smaller publishers can be fun, the intense focus on them is a put off especially when most of these smaller games can be picked up on a Steam sale for a lot cheaper. Concentrating on the bigger titles first would push the sales of the consoles and allow room for more niche games like this one to be mixed in after a decent base is installed. If that base isn’t there then people will look at the lack of name brand titles and avoid the system altogether. That’s what’s happening with the Vita. That’s why the Vita is slowly dying when it is by far the best capable portable gaming device. The PS4 is the best capable home gaming device and is heading down the same bad road

My issue is with Sony and their policies and a handful of people that badmouth everyone on here that doesn’t agree with them day in and day out. None of this was directed at you guys. Keep doing what you do


35

+ Gamerzlimited on February 28th, 2014 at 9:18 pm said:

@BahumatIsBack If you didn’t read my comment carefully, I did not say you insulted N++ or it’s developers. I meant your comment is insulting indie developers in general. Would a PS4 be a waste of money if there is no games released for it at all? I would not buy a PS4 if there is no games for it. That’s why indie games for that platform have to exist. Since AAA titles take a lot of months to develop and cost money (Programming, art, music, voice acting, online servers, patches, etc.), indie games will keep you entertained until the big titles are released since they don’t take that long to make. Don’t rush the developers to release their AAA games or else you’ll get a unfinished game riddled with bugs and have unstable gameplay (Look at Battlefield 4 for example).

And also, I’m no troll. I show them how dumb they look. Be lucky I didn’t call you the word I like to call trolls.


36

+ PrimeroIncognito on February 28th, 2014 at 10:43 pm said:

@ BahumutIsBack

This game belongs on whatever platform the developers decide it should be on. It’s their vision. They decide. You don’t. And the PS4 is perfect for games like this due to their necessity for ultra-responsive controls. The DualShock 4 provides just that. The Vita, as awesome as it is, it’s not the best fit for platformers due to its less versatile control… which is why I’m always bewildered by people thinking that the Vita is best for platformers. It’s not. Ideally, Vita software should be designed around the hardware’s unique features.


37

+ PrimeroIncognito on February 28th, 2014 at 10:57 pm said:

Also…

1. How did you form the belief that people will cancel their Plus subs if this game comes to the IGC? What?

2. Indie games will be the death of home gaming? How did you come to that absurd conclusion? “Indie” is really just another way of saying “low-budget”, but as any artist knows, your creation isn’t limited by your budget, it’s only limited by your imagination, talent, and desire. Contrary to what trolls are saying, a lot of indies are actually very well made, and genuinely fun to play.

And people have noticed. The “Indie scene” has acquired a significant chunk of the pie due to their simple, satisfying gameplay combined with that “closer to home” appeal. These low-budget games have been around for a long time and they haven’t killed the industry yet. And they never will. What would kill the industry is if the big-budget devs started getting lazy and consistently put out crap, over and over again.

3. Microsoft’s focus on non-gaming media is not the only reason it’s trailing the PS4. There are multiple reasons.

4. More indie games will force people to “go back to PC gaming or give up altogether”? What the… ?


38

+ PrimeroIncognito on February 28th, 2014 at 10:58 pm said:

By the way, the PS4 is not “next-gen” anymore, it’s the current generation. Feel free to update your terms whenever you’re ready.


39

+ jailbird20022 on March 1st, 2014 at 12:28 am said:

Loved the original N on PC and loved N+

Hope you guys bring back the level creator too :D


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    + Mare Sheppard on March 1st, 2014 at 5:21 am said:

    We will definitely be including a level editor. Plus (plus) global level sharing and highscores for each level! We’ll do a post going into more of the features a bit later on.


40

+ dkarlowicz10 on March 1st, 2014 at 12:58 pm said:

This would be awesome on the Vita. Bring it to the Vita and I’ll buy it.


41

+ DizaumBR on March 1st, 2014 at 2:09 pm said:

@BahumatIsBack I totally agree with your opinion.


42

+ GameRevenge on March 1st, 2014 at 3:39 pm said:

Looks hgreat never [;ayed n+ so im probely going to play this one important question

1.The new levels that youv got I belived you said 1000 are they actually new levels with new enviroments and enemys or will you be resuseing alout of stuff from the otgher levels you ogt?


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    + Mare Sheppard on March 2nd, 2014 at 6:31 am said:

    There will be 1000 brand new levels. We’ve added a bunch of new enemies, too, that we think everyone will love — we’ll be talking about them in more detail in a future post.


43

+ plaztiksyke on March 1st, 2014 at 4:47 pm said:

Love the look of the palette, reminds me of the extended HDMI color gamut that made PixelJunk Eden pop on my plasma TV :)

Will the audio assets be lossless and/or 24-bit?


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    + Mare Sheppard on March 5th, 2014 at 10:40 pm said:

    Thanks! We’re so glad others appreciate the visual style.
    We hope so, yes — we don’t know what the final filesize will be, but that will probably impact some of our choices.


44

+ TheRealBushkill on March 2nd, 2014 at 6:02 pm said:

yayyy!


45

+ Kishnabe on March 2nd, 2014 at 6:11 pm said:

I think I just got a sudden craving to go back to my DS(don’t hate me…) N+ game


46

+ barnaclejoe on March 3rd, 2014 at 8:45 pm said:

@Mare Sheppard – N v1.4 is my FAVOURITE GAME in existence (in competition with Ico and Journey). I will have to get a PS4 some day to play N++.

I wanted to say: (a) CAN NOT wait to see what new enemies you’ve designed.

As you know, the KEY to N is the control… the precision. It’s what makes it so hard to learn, and so rewarding to master. When you make a perfect jump, it’s because of your skill, not because of a fancy move the designers mapped to a button.

Q1: Will N++ feature replays of your most successful run on each level as is the case with N1.4?
Q1.5: Will the be sharable on YouTube?

Q2: Could you PLEASE include the feature found in Super Meat Boy… after a successful run you get to see every failed attempt played out over top of the successful run… It’s hilarious, useful and FUN! Would love to see it in N++

Thanks so much for continuing on with this series.. It is the closest I’ll ever get to being a deftly-coordinated true-to-life ninja, and for that, I am forever in your debt.


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    + Mare Sheppard on March 5th, 2014 at 10:39 pm said:

    Awesome! Wow, thanks for letting us know, that’s super great to hear!

    (a) I think you will like them. There are some really great uses of them in the levels, and plenty of possibilities left for users, also.

    Q1. Yes!
    Q1.5 via the PS4’s capability, yes. As far as I know, all PS4 games will be able to do this. Exciting!

    Q2. We have a couple ideas that are similar to that, eg we’re hoping to do something like that with friends’ replays, but we’re not sure how it will work out yet. We’ll see!


47

+ CarbonScooby on March 6th, 2014 at 2:43 pm said:

EPIC. i can’t wait

Another big reason I went PS4 this gen


48

+ ekkusufaivu on March 11th, 2014 at 9:43 pm said:

I would like even the Japanese PSN so that download is made Please.


49

+ Sodaresev on March 18th, 2014 at 5:02 pm said:

I thought the character was going to look like this:
http://indiestatik.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/entity-pattern+ninja_sm.jpg
Is that not official? I thought looked great.


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