When the latest firmware update hit the iPhone and Touch yesterday so did a new gaming network for the device.

Ngmoco's Plus+ adds leaderboards, friends, and awards to the publisher's games. It's not a standalone app though, instead it's built into the publisher's new titles. Here's a quick look at how it works:

The home page for Ngmoco's Plus+ network. You can choose from a relatively short list of pre-created Ngmoco-themed avatars for your image.

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Touching your name brings up this screen, which lets you access your awards, a leaderboard screen and a list of the games you've played recently.

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When you touch the Awards option you get a list of games you've played.

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Touching a game shows the total number of award points you have earned, which awards have been achieved and which remain locked. Looks familiar, huh?

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The bottom of all of the Plus+ screens has three options. One for Home, one for Friends and one for Games. This is the Friends screen. I have none. :(

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You can add a friend by typing in their user name or searching through your address book. If they're not a member of Plus+, they'll get an email. Once you have friends you can challenge them directly in a game. In Star Defense you do that by playing a round and then when you lose you tap on the Direct Challenge button.

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The Games screen shows all of the games available on the Plus network as well as a list of the games you own. Oddly enough, when I logged in it only showed that I owned Star Defense even though I own most of Ngmoco's games. That might be because the only Plus+-supported game is Star Defense.

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When you click on a game's name in this screen you get a page that shows the awards for the game, the latest news and more details. The more details option gives you a description of the game, screenshots and, if you don't own it, the option to buy the title.