When the Nintendo Wii U launched in November, most gamers focused their time into the retail launch titles as expected. However, there were some interesting eShop titles that didn’t seem to garner much attention. One such game was Nano Assault Neo, a twin-stick shooter from Shin’en that is both a blast to play (no pun intended) and gorgeous to look at.
Now if the Nano Assault name sounds familiar, it’s because the Nintendo 3DS got the original game over a year ago in what was an under-the-radar title that was quite good. The premise of the game is that you’re a pilot who has been shrunken down to size and are now inside the body of a human. Your mission? To clean out an infection by blowing away anything that gets in your way.
What is easily the most impressive thing about the game are the visuals. Play and simple, the game is beautiful as you’ll notice some impressive lighting and crisp details; all taking place across 3D cells that look like the planetoids found in Super Mario Galaxy. In fact as you play, you’ll often wonder how marvelous a SMG game would look on the Wii U. As you move around, you’ll be firing your lasers in all directions as you try to not only destroy the viruses and bacteria that look to kill you, but at time, you’ll need to simply bide your time and avoid them in hopes of getting a better angle or positioning. There is definitely some strategy involved, besides simply moving and shooting as doing so could see you get trapped in a circle.
You’ll be able to nab some power-ups in each level that can get you added satellites for more firepower as well as credits, which you can use in the upgrade shop after each level.
The game doesn’t have any online multiplayer to speak of, but you can jump into a two-player mode for local play. You do however get online leaderboards so you can post your top scores for all the world to see. For those hoping to play the game off the GamePad; you can do that too and the game runs pretty damn smooth on the smaller screen too.
I have to say that the game can get increasingly hard. I’m talking frustratingly hard. The point being that don’t expect a walk in the park and although the game is pretty short (16 levels in all, plus 4 bonus stages), you likely won’t be able to run through the game right off the bat. It does take plenty of skill and patience to progress through each stage, which is then capped off by a boss battle. A set of bonus levels (4 total) will also get unlocked that look like a mix between Star Fox and F-Zero as you fly through tunnels trying to pick up credits while trying to avoid crashing.
Nano Assault Neo also includes bonus levels that play out like a cross between Star Fox 64’s tunnels, F-Zero GX’s hovercraft handling and Sonic the Hedgehog 2’s half-pipes, and every set of four stages is capped off with a boss battle at the end.
At $9.99, Nano Assault Neo is easily one of the coolest downloadable-only games you’ll find in the Wii U’s eShop and although not a lengthy game, the visual and gameplay polish that the game provides makes it an extremely easy recommendation for anyone that’s still on the fence or perhaps hadn’t even noticed it before.