Review by kts123
"Nanostray is easy enough for normal gamers to enjoy, but it lacks the difficulty many hard core players want."
Genre: Shoot-em up (top view)
Game play: 8/10
Nanostray uses very common shoot-em up mechanics. You have no control over where you ship goes, but you can move around anywhere within the boundaries of the screen. The enemies are numerous and so are the challenges. The main goal is to survive by not getting hit, however as in any shooter, few hits to your ship will kill. On easy mode you can take many hits before dying, on normal you can take three hits (the third kills) and in the third you go down. Lastly, hard mode has the commonly seen one hit kill system to keep the hard core players happy. The thing that makes Nanostray stand out is the odd system of play and level layouts. The areas will sometimes attack (such as one stage where lava will spew out of the ground and try to nail you. The best part about Nanostray, and the thing that makes it stand out, is that they put a "challenge mode" in which you are given insane challenges, like you can't use rapid fire weapons, no "smart bombs (the most powerful weapon you have)" some will make you destroy almost everyone enemy in the level. And some will give you more difficult challenges, like not being able to take one hit or loose even one ship during the stage. And a few make you get super high scores. Whenever you clear a mission, you either get a picture to go in the gallery, or get a 3D image of an enemy that you can zoom around all you want. Though getting an image as an award isn't much, you can get the "nano code" when you set a high score and send it into the world ranking via the Nanostray web site.
Nanostray is one of the easier shooters out there, if you play R-Type, Einhander, Phil0soma, Ikaruga, Radiant Silvergun, Mars Matrix, Raiden Project, or any other shooter of the sort on hard mode, you won't like Nanostray all that much (I beat Nanostray in two sittings and never had to use a single retry or continue.) However, that doesn't mean you will be able to do the same. Shoot-em ups in almost all cases require practice, unless you have already mastered other shooters on there most difficult settings. I've talked to several people who said it took them days just to bear the first stage, and some that said they gave up. Nanostray may be one of the easier shooters out there but be careful and know your own skills, don't underestimate this games difficulty..
Level Designs: 8/10
The level design is well done and brings out an odd feel. Though the areas are typical, they do some enteresting things with them. The first "jungle" stage moves from wide open, to in a valley / dam, that has pipes that are pouring out water, then, enemies start to poor out the pipes and lay mines that you must destroy. The "water stage" or destroyed city may not do anything enteresting, but the placement of the rubble is well done. The Third (and one of my favorite) stages takes place at first in a canoyon, the walls move by quickly and massive enemy ships that take up half the screen move through the sides and send out smaller ships to attack, later the stage takes to the smokey skies where you fight hordes of enemies and finally return to the canyon, at which time you will be bombarded with heavy fire. The "asteroid" stage doesn't have as many asteroids as you might think, enemies and flying debris rarely appear at the same time, so for the beginning part of the stage you won't have a hard time, until later in the stage when you enter a massive asteroid and have to fight spinning laser launchers and enemies at the same time. There are a total of eight stages each with their own attributes. Though clearing the game at first may make them seem easy, the challenges prove other wise.
The easiest way to explain the graphics, is advanced PSX or N64 style graphics. The areas are very clear, but things look like they are made out of clay. The areas backgrounds are also very well done, and they make for a feel of fast movement. The explosions are very well done, and most of the fire effects look good, though the "lava" stage's lava looks like think think, hard water. For the most part the enemies and weapons look good, but there are those times you will see a big glitchy laser fly by and almost hit your ship. Overall Nanostray has good graphics, but they aren't anything to brag about.
Dying cat anyone? The music, though it is clear, doesn't really fit. It seems like the game makers put almost no time into designing the music or queuing it at the right times. It's not BAD, but it's defiininty not good. Luckily the sound effects make up for the music (a little). The explosions sound decent and the weapons all make unique sounds to each-other (they don't reuse the same sound effect over and over and over.
Replay Value: 8/10
Though the kicks won't last long for hard core shoot-em up fans, they will last at least a week. The challenge mode will provide most of this time. Some of the challenges can get slightly annoying, but that only applies to a few of the challenges. But either way, I'd much rather spend hours trying to beat a difficult shooter like Einhander or R-Type than Nanostray. It does have replay value for people who aren't 'hard core shooter fans' but for the most part it is a bit too easy to have a good replay value, at least for a shooter.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 09/06/05
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