Nano Assault Neo X Review: Microscopic Fun
Back in 2012 we reviewed Nano Assault Neo, one of the better digital launch titles for the Wii U. Two years later Shin’en is finally releasing the game on the PS4 with revamped visuals. Nano Assault was a must-have for Wii U owners then and it holds up admirably years later on a more powerful console.
Nano Assault Neo X contains all of the same content found in the Wii U version, aside from off-TV play. Players control a ship and shoot-it-out across several stages, purifying cells from an infectious virus. Stages are broken into groups of 4: The first 3 are difficult stages where the player must exterminate 90% of the stage’s enemies before escaping followed by a fourth and final boss level. Overall there are four sections containing four stages each, totaling out to 16 levels altogether.
PS4 owners who enjoyed Resogun will no doubt enjoyed Nano Assault Neo X. It plays similarly to Housemarque’s shooter, just on three dimensional cells. The left stick controls your ship while the right stick fires. The Dual Shock 4’s touch-pad allows players to move around the ship’s canons though you can get by without ever using this feature. There are items you can equip your ship with to enhance it, pick up more credits, making it temporarily take more damage or give you an extra, more deadly weapon. Your ship can take a fair bit of damage, up to three hits depending on the enemy, so it isn’t as ruthless as other twin-stick shooters.
Enemy types have a good variety to them between stages though the age of the game shows a bit now in 2014 due to the now underwhelming boss fights. The bosses aren’t nearly as challenging as the stages themselves. They fall into the gaming cliche of shoot the glowing or red orb to win. With so much imagination and detail in visuals, presentation and non-boss stages, the ho-hum bosses are more of a letdown now.
That said, Nano Assault is still a stunning game. It was jaw dropping when it arrived on the Wii U –helping the system to punch above its weight back in 2012 — and it looks even better on PS4. Environments are dripping with creative design and impressive depth of field effects. You’ll occasionally lose your ship in a flurry of polychromatic chaos but these instances are few and far between.
Survivor mode and split-screen are nice distractions but ultimately you’ll remember Nano Assault’s challenging single-player more than anything. You can post your best scores on the game’s leaderboards but for the most part, once you’re done with the game’s single-player you’ve seen everything there is to offer.
Nano Assault Neo X is a short, albeit fun experience. Fans of Resogun will feel right at home with this microscopic twin-stick shooter. First time buyers will easily get their $9.99 out of the game though fans who played the game on Wii U don’t have much reason to return aside from improved visuals and trophies. Your adventures exterminating enemies from cells ends earlier than you would like but the ride is more than enjoyable. For the uninitiated twin-stick shooter fan, Nano Assault Neo X is a no-brainer that belongs on your PS4’s hard drive.
Nano Assault Neo X is a great shooter for PS4 owners who are unfamiliar with Shin'en's work. At $9.99, it is hard to turn down a limited but well designed package. Review copy provided by Shin'en.