When Shin’en announced they were making a Wii U game, there was a small eruption in my pants. Technical wizards of DS and WiiWare, these guys know how to maximize hardware like nobody else in the business. They could probably port F-Zero to a pocket calculator if you dared them too, at 60 FPS. While I knew they were up to the task of a launch game, I did not think it would be this good.
Nano Assault Neo combines AMAZING visuals with a smashing techno soundtrack and fast gameplay to blow you off your couch into the next room, only to have you switch screens and continue playing on the GamePad, get blown away again, and somehow end up back on the couch when it’s all over. This is the perfect example of an arcade game, immediately impressive due to its explosive presentation, and challenging gameplay to keep itself interesting and give you time to put the pieces of your brain back together.
It’s a very simple twin stick shooter with two goals; survive and destroy. Move with the left stick, use the right stick to shoot in different directions. The action takes place on a sphere and has you blasting little infections off the map in an effort to purify a cell. The game has 16 levels including a few simple bosses, and it’s fairly easy if all you want to do is survive. However, it’s the combo system that provides huge replay value. The more risks you take, the higher your score will be. The combo system activates when you shoot enemies in quick succession, with a multiplier that only appears after an enemy dies but quickly goes down if nothing happens. The faster you can shoot the next enemy the more points you’ll get. The game dares you to get enemies together and have them on low amounts of health all ready to die in single shot succession.
Survival Mode spins things in a different direction, your score doesn’t really matter because the goal here is to survive as many cells as possible and rack up points slowly and carefully. One of the game’s achievements is to survive 25 cells, and despite being ranked 7th in the world in Survival Mode I still haven’t even made it that far. It’s hardcore, it’s dangerous, it’s exciting, IT’S A VIDEOGAME.
Nano Assault Neo is almost spiritual. Every now and then, a hook in the music will play right as you slip between a ridiculous amount of bullets or pull off an amazing combo. Holy shit. Every level looks amazing, the textures are detailed and vibrant, the lighting reflects off the cells beautifully and the framerate is a perfect 60 FPS at all times. The file size somehow comes in at 50mb installed on the Wii U, just to make every other game look bad. What amazes me most is this is just the start of Shin’ens graphical explosions on the eShop. I don’t know how many new couches I can buy, but for now i’ll enjoy blowing up these parasites and continue climbing the scoreboards. You simply can not go wrong with Nano Assault Neo even if you don’t like shooters (I thought I didn’t), it’s cheap and amazing and a great game that wants you to play it.