So close, but still not quite there...

User Rating: 7 | Nanostray 2 DS
I'm one of the ones who loved Nanostray and wanted more; I asked for a sequel and watched the forums anxiously when it was announced. I was really impressed when the honchos at Shin'en even made an occasional appearance there to discuss the game's progress. That's just an awesome thing to see.

They did a lot of things very well in N2: The graphics and sound are great. The minibosses in each level are a nice touch, and something fans have been asking for. There is a lot of customization available, and a good variety of weapons to unlock, and no need to try to hit "buttons" on the touch screen. There's a lot of variety in the stages, too, and sometimes feels like a tribute to Gradius V, especially in the new horizontal levels. Even the higher difficulty is a good thing, as are the return of one-hit-kills and no bombs.

Still, it's not quite right, especially in the control department. It defaults to D-pad control, and you can adjust your speed before each level. Touch screen control is also an option, and gives you precise control of your ship, but with a blind spot under your hand or stylus. You're stuck with the weapon you choose before the stage, and the configuration you've chosen for your satellites.

Touch controls are an exciting development for precise flying, but controlling the ship directly on the lower screen robs the new system of that sense of ace piloting skills. Instead, you're just tracing your route with the stylus. The missing control options would be either: a way to control speed on-the-fly while using the D-pad, or (what I'm crossing my fingers for in an unlikely sequel...) the ability to use the touch-screen to control the ship through top-screen action. Kind of a virtual analog stick, like Super Mario 64 DS...

I'm glad Shin'en got to release this game, but I think I still prefer the original so far. It had a focused approach that taught you how to play depending on whether you wanted to just survive or get a high score. N2 offers so many options that it loses that sense of focus.