Good Times Come in Small Packages

User Rating: 8 | Nano Assault EX 3DS

1. I played the EX version of Nano Assault. Almost everything I say will go for both versions and I actually did not use the stick controls for the EX version for much of the game. This is a twin stick shooter for a system that has twin sticks only sometimes (either New 3DS nub or Circle Pad Pro addition). If no second stick is present, you use the abxy buttons to direct your fire and it works just fine if you ask me.

2. There are two basic types of levels in this: free roaming missions where you cruise around the surface of oddly shaped cells, destroying enemies and collecting DNA samples and then there's rail shooter levels in the manner of Star Fox where the object is basically to stay alive until a boss fight.

3. I kinda wish they would have focused exclusively on one type of level or the other. Gameplay on both is good but they both fall a little short of being truly great. This is a game made by a small team and it just feels like they stretched themselves a little bit too far doing both. Just little bits that lack polish here or there. Things like levels that can be beat by just spamming the special weapon or times when it's difficult to tell things that kill you from harmless things in the environment.

4. Even though this was made by a small team, it looks and sounds fantastic. The 3D effect works great. The music is competent if unexceptional but did set the mood quite well even if I can't remember a single melody from it a minute after playing the game.

5. The reason abxy works as a substitute for an actual stick is actually clever game design in my opinion. The enemies are designed such that the best strategy is the sort of coral them into one area and then go side to side blasting them Space Invaders style. I found myself doing this even when using the sticks.

6. If you fail a mission, you have to go through the whole process of watching a brief intro and selecting your special weapon again, which is not too bad but annoying regardless.

7. The special weapons in this were kind of crumby. I tried each one once and went back to the first one they give you every time. Maybe I am just too dumb to figure this stuff out, I dunno.

8. If you like epic bosses, this has some epic bosses. The very final boss is decidedly less epic than some that come before it though. Who's design choice was that?

9. This game has several modes. You start out w/ story mode. As you beat levels in that, it unlocks them for arcade mode. Once you've beat all the levels, it unlocks boss attack mode. Once you beat boss attack mode, it unlocks survival mode. Story mode is pretty short but those who are tenacious arcade style gamers will get a ton of playtime trying to complete the extra modes.

10. All of the modes are exactly what you'd expect andI appreciate the clear naming conventions. The only caveat is that there is no story in story mode. I mean, there is, but it's like "something bad has happened, now you need to kill stuff."

11. My one complaint as far as gameplay is that even w/ the 3D on it can sometimes be difficult to judge how far enemy projectiles are from you. Also, when gameplay gets intense, this just happens to be the type of game where it can be hard to keep your 3DS in the right spot even w/ the New 3DS's little sensor thing.

12. The overall feel of this is old school but it is really not all that traditional. I suppose the rail shooter levels are a pretty spot on imitation of games past but the free roaming levels add a dimension (literally and figuratively) that is not something you frequently see in vintage shooters. Still, this somehow feels the same to me as playing an old scrolling shmup.

13. I can't shake this feeling of being disappointing that this game is not even better (see number 3) but I can give it my full recommendation because, simply put, it is a hell of a lot of fun.