"Big Things Come in (Very) Small Packages"
After playing Nano Assault for a few hours, I was hit with a sudden revelation. As I was feeling a tad sick, it dawned on me how appropriately ironic it was to be playing a game where I was basically busting up germs. Yeah… humorously ironic.
Personal anecdotes aside, it's time to get to the game itself. Nano Assault is the newest installment in Shin'en's Nanostray series. The premise is simple: you have come across a strand of the dreaded Nanostray virus, and in order to keep it from spreading and causing all sorts of trouble, you send in a microscopic probe to purify the virus, one cell at a time.
It is upon these cells that the action takes place. Unlike the previous Nanostray games, which played on 2D planes, Nano Assault gives you the freedom to move all over the surface of each cell in any direction, similar to the way it works in the Super Mario Galaxy games. The objective, though, remains the same: shoot all hostile organisms. As you go, you'll come across a plethora of creatures who try to shoot back, giving you leave to blow them to bits without having to feel guilty (it's true). Aside from your normal lasers, which can shoot in any direction, you can employ several secondary weapons, which range from a bomb, homing laser, or electric bolts to fireballs that spin around your probe. At the end of each cell "cluster", you will come across boss battles that are usually preceded by a Star Fox-style rail-shooter stage, and once you own the boss, you will unlock the next cluster.
And so it goes. But then, suddenly, the game ends. Without any warning, it just ends. At least, that was how it felt, after only about three or four hours of playtime, when I found myself (***SPOILER!***) having completely purified the Nanostray virus. As the credits rolled, I (figuratively speaking) scratched my head, befuddled. It is the length, or lack there of, that was the biggest issue I have with Nano Assault. Since the game tends to lean a bit on the easy side, I can imagine that many gamers will find themselves clearing the game in less time than expected. If you want to put a positive spin on it, you could say that the short length keeps the gameplay from growing tedious, or that it fits with the whole microscopic theme of the game...
Luckily, Nano Assault manages to glean some much needed longevity with two extra modes that are unlocked as you clear the story mode. The first is an arcade mode that lets you play through each of the story mode's stages, except this time you're shooting for as high a score as you can achieve, which can then be displayed wirelessly for all those playing the game to see (If you see a "Phiz" around the leaderboards, there's a good chance that it's yours truly). The second is a "Boss Rush" mode, where you take on the game's bosses one right after the other in one go. These modes also come with extra challenges (score a certain high number, don't use secondary weapons, don't lose a ship, etc.); if fulfilled, it will give you coins that you can use to buy extras like songs and monster bios.
Nano Assault might not be for everyone. I'm pretty sure that the short length might put some off. Miniscule size aside, the game itself is, though simple, a rather fun arcade-like experience that should keep you entertained if you enjoy playing this kind of game.
GameDynamo's Score for Nano Assault (3DS)
A writer, journalist, and aspiring storyteller, Peter Grimm has been gaming since the days of the Nintendo 64, and reporting on the goings-on in the World of Gaming since late 2011. His base of writing operations is located within the void between Here and There, or so he would have you think.
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