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First Impressions: Nano Assault Neo

Posted by Thomas Whitehead

Big things from a small world

Nano Assault on 3DS probably qualifies as an under-appreciated gem, a title that was awarded an impressive 8/10 in our review but unfortunately never arrived in Europe. It's a pity that it hasn't been enjoyed outside of North America and Japan, though thankfully developer Shin'en Multimedia has confirmed that a 3DS eShop title based on the retail release, Nano Assault EX, will arrive in Europe along with other territories.

For fans of the original, or those that like the concept but haven't yet played it, there's also the digital follow-up on Wii U's eShop to look forward to, Nano Assault Neo. In fact, the representative at Nintendo of Europe's HQ informed us that this will be a launch title, making it one of the very first downloadable games on the system. From what we've seen, it could be a fun introduction to the eShop platform on the new console.

We saw four levels in our playthrough, during which we got to try out the two-player co-op, new to this version. Regardless of how many players are taking part the setting is once again on a single cell, blasting away all kinds of enemies that, presumably, represent a deadly virus. The story doesn't ultimately matter, as the objective is to move around the cell, with plenty of contours and spherical areas to explore, and destroy a target percentage of enemies. Once you hit your target an escape tunnel appears with a 30-second countdown, prompting a frenzied dash where either player must get there before the timer hits zero. It's frenetic action with an old-school vibe, which is exciting and promises a good challenge.

Whereas the 3DS title uses the Circle Pad and four main buttons for shooting in multiple directions and moving at the same time, this Wii U version makes use of the dual stick option of the GamePad, Pro Controller or, in our case, the Wii Classic Controller. The only button used is to activate a power-up weapon, and moving with one stick while determining the direction of fire with the other feels immediately instinctive. The implementation of two player couldn't be simpler, meanwhile, with player one using the GamePad screen and the second player using the TV; thanks to the crisp visuals on the touch screen it doesn't feel like one gamer is missing out to any great degree.

Whichever screen you're playing on, this is a title that shows the graphical potential for the next era of download games on Nintendo's system. Impressive lighting and particle effects pop on the screen, with the gameplay zipping along at a smooth frame rate despite the chaos on screen; one exception was slight slow-down during explosions, though this may have been for dramatic effect. In any case, the two normal 'cell levels', the bonus tunnel race level — in which you grab bonus points for as long as possible without crashing — and a boss stage were all impressive to watch and play. Throw in some pulsing techno music, and it pushes buttons for intense shmup action.

The representative on hand did explain two key modes that'll be available. Arcade mode will be the closest thing to a story, blasting through consecutive levels, while Survival will be a non-stop mode where you stay alive for as long as possible. Like the 3DS title, there'll be online leaderboards for each game mode, so high-score chasers should be happy.

Considering the pedigree of the original 3DS retail release, it's little surprise that this is shaping up to be a technically impressive, fun 3D shmup experience. A simple control scheme is perfect for the intense and challenging levels, and fans of the genre should keep an eye on this one.

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User Comments (24)



Zetchzie said:

I saw this game but havent played it its visuals look very close to that of ps3 and 360



Xilef said:

Probably going to get this Day 1 if i have the money. Looks really fun.



Retro_on_theGo said:

I have the 3DS entry. It's a fun game that ends too quickly. Everyone should pick up this well deserved sequel.



rayword45 said:

I'm picking up the 3DS version on prayers that the 3DSWare version is all new content.

Either way, it's pretty damn cheap, which is actually unfortunate.



Void said:

I'll be looking into reviews for this, and probably get it eventually.



BJQ1972 said:

Reminds me of Super Stardust from the few videos I've seen. It would look great in 3D - any word on whether the Wii U version will have a 3D option?



onlyaman said:

Hopefully, unlike the 3DS version, it won't crash your save file when you try to access the leaderboards. Shin'en never fixed this bug, so with no reason to go for high scores, I was done with Nano Assault in two days. Lame.



ouroborous said:

Awesome, this is a huge plus towards incentive to purchase the WiiU. I adore the one for 3DS, it was a totally unexpected gem.



FonistofCruxis said:

I'll definitely get the 3DSware version when it releases and I'l get this after eventually getting a Wii U too. Also, this is the first I've heard of the classic controller being compatible with the Wii U. I'm glad that it is as I like the design of the classic controller pro far more than the Wii U controller pro.



arrmixer said:

I'm definitely getting this... this will definitely take care of my shoot'em up fix!!



TromaDogg said:

Looking forward to this a lot. It looks like Super Stardust HD on PS3 (which is still an awesome game even now) but with more interesting stages and features.

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