A sharp, punchy must-buy for all E-Shop users!
After experiences with just one title, my faith has been restored in the E-Shop and its ability to produce quality downloads. That title is Nano Assault Neo.
I’m going to tell the truth: I approached Nintendo’s E-Shop with complete caution when the first downloadable titles became available for download. The reason for this is twofold: my experiences, like those of many others, with the original Wii’s download-service, were less than satisfying, and more threatening than this was the fact that still, few developers of full-scale retail titles have been able to utilise the GamePad’s unique capabilities. I will admit, I was scared there would be some gimmicky shockers among the list of downloads upon entry to the E-Shop.
After experiences with just one title, however, my faith has been restored in the E-Shop and its ability to produce quality downloads. That title is Neo Assault Nano, which has left nothing but a sweet taste in my mouth.
The premise behind this sharp, sci-fi shoot’em’up is simple: kill enough enemy bacteria to open up the exit of each level, and reach the exit before the world manages to blow up. These worlds come in the form of small, awkwardly-shaped 3D human cells, absolutely chockablock with sci-fi looking scenery, from microscopic boulders to majestically-swaying foliage. Move with the left stick, aim your fire with the right stick, and use the right trigger button to use power-ups.
It never ceases to amaze me that a game that mainly utilises just three buttons can be so enjoyable, and Nano Assault Neo is no exception. It is the simplicity of the controls that makes the game easy to pick up, and this accessibility – in addition to the sharp, punchy gameplay – is what makes this game fun. It is by all means an absolute joy to play.
At first, I must admit I was confused as to the exact goal of the game, with little documentation on the matter found in-game. It took some experimentation to discover the parameters of victory. However, from here, everything fell into place nicely.
The single-player/”story” mode is a challenge where players must complete clusters; a series of similarly-themed levels, without dying three times. Successfully achieving this unlocks a new cluster. It is a simple concept, yet one which challenges the player to develop a diverse skill-set and a comprehensive awareness of the behaviour of enemy bacteria. Though there’s only a handful of clusters, players will struggle to complete them all in quick succession, and the whole exercise could be considered a warm-up for the game’s main course: its survival mode.
This has players attempt to survive as long as they possibly can across as many levels as they can last. It challenges the player’s ability to maintain concentration over a long time, and pits them against other players around the world in a challenge to achieve the best score. Techniques for boosting score must be learned and used to good effect by players should they wish to hit a high position on the game’s leaderboard.
Such techniques, whose appearance is quite subtle, add a layer of depth to this title which otherwise would become stale quickly due to the fact there’s barely a dozen levels. This is not the case, however, and players who buy Nano Assault Neo will be rewarded with an immensely-fun, highly-replayable shoot’em’up.
This has all been said without mentioning the presentation, too! Rest assured, the visuals are incredibly crisp and sit very comfortably with the sci-fi nature of the title. The music, too, complements proceedings beautifully, and will have your toes tapping in turn with your fingers. It’s a little overwhelming how appropriate and enjoyable the presentation is, and must be experienced first-hand if you want to understand how joyful it really is.
Finally, a word on my major concern going into Nano Assault Neo: GamePad implementation. This title does not fall into the trap of using features for the sake of it. Implementation is limited to using the touch-screen to re-adjust the position of your ship’s turrets while your game is paused, or pressing a button to have the game display fully on your GamePad. Clean and appropriate, the GamePad implementation in this game should be considered by all developers hoping to produce software for the Wii U.
The fun-factor of this title is completely surprising at first. Simple gameplay is made fun through scoring competitions, eye-catching visuals and upbeat audio that will make you drum your fingers around your GamePad. Though simple to get the hang of, becoming an expert at Nano Assault Neo requires some serious dedication, and that’s what makes this title so fun.
In addition the content mentioned above, there’s a survival mode and a multiplayer mode. It is justified to conclude that the game is jam-packed when it comes to value. That value combines with all the elements that make this game fun to produce a must-have for any Wii U owner who plans to use the E-Shop.
By Harry Hughes