Review by zosotatt

"Nanostray; A new lease of life to a dying breed!"

Ok so after seeing some interesting previews and then reading some gleaming reviews, I decided to import for the 1st time ever, as this game currently has no release date for the UK. I love shoot em' ups (known as SHMUPs with the fans of the genre) like the Gradius series (konami) and the R-Type series (Irem). It is a shame that they have seen a drastic decline in recent years, with only a few true 'Gems' slipping through like Ikaruga and Gradius V.

After recieving my US copy through the post I straight away slipped it into my DS and had a crack! Here are my thoughts....

Gameplay: 9/10
The most important aspect of any game is the gameplay, and this is what SHMUPs rely on, because of the shallow story and no need for mind blowing graphics. If you have ever played a SHMUP you know what to expect with this one. You are a single ship, going up against wave after wave of enemy crafts, finally battling you're way through to a even tougher Boss. There are plenty of different enemy's in this game each with a different attack style. The bosses are also great fun to battle.

The game also makes use of the Nintendo DS' touch screen feature to a certain degree. With the touch screen being used mainly for switching weapons on the fly, along with displaying info like remaining lives, smart bombs and you're crafts energy meter, and a pretty useless radar (you will be too busy to look at this!).

There is also a pretty decent scoring system in place which gives it good replay value for the more hard core shooter fan. Basically if you just want to blast through the game then thats fine, but if you want to grab those high scores you will have to obey the rules of the scoring system. In brief you are penalised for holding down the fire button and using a vacuum that sucks in power ups. It is simple but more in depth than other shooters.

Also worth a note is the High score web ranking, in arcade mode you compete for the best scores, after doing so you will recieve a 'nano-code' to enter into the website and see how you fair against the rest of the world. Pretty neat.

Graphics: 9/10
Very nice graphics, they really do show off the DS' potential. The backgrounds are nicely rendered, the enemy ships detailed and explosions plentiful and adequate. Very good.

Sound: 7/10
Very basic sound effects, good music, basically it gets the job done. But will not blow you're mind. But hey! this is a shoot em' up after all!

Difficulty: 8/10
This game is challenging. Period. Not on the same level as Ikaruga, but pretty hard. it never feels impossible, just hard. The main game (adventure mode) is fairly easy, but then you get 20+ challenge levels where you are set certain tasks like, score xxx amount of points, or you have 1 life. etc. These are where the real challenge comes into play.

After the very short adventure mode you are faced with a load of challenges which are super hard, and will keep you going for quite some time. Upon completion of each challenge a new feature is unlocked, like art work which you can investigate with the touch screen and stuff. And once you are done with these, you are faced with Arcade mode were you try you're best, and get a nano code to enter onto the official website to see how you fare with the rest of the world. Overall pretty damn good.

A very good shoot em'up, and also a great stand alone DS title. Is it a AAA title? Not quite! Is it a very welcome return of a dying genre? Oh Yes!

-Great old school shooter gameplay.
-Great graphics and sound.
-Lots of challenges/unlockables.
-Great challenge.

-changing weapons a tiny bit fiddily.
-Adventure mode relativly short.
-actually thats about it.

Thanks for reading, I do hope you pick up this game, and enjoy it.


Reviewer's Rating:   4.0 - Great

Originally Posted: 08/31/05

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