Nano Assault NEO-X is a solid, entertaining and rather attractive twin stick shooter. That’s all well and good, but in a world in which Resogun exists, is it possible to genuinely recommend Shin’en Multimedia’s conceptually interesting but technically safe shooter? Well, no, not really.
This is a very decent game in its own right and if you’ve had enough of Housemarque’s utterly fantastic Resogun, then this certainly has enough about it to satiate ones eager trigger finger (ok, trigger thumb), but despite its flashy visuals and relatively unique setting, offers very little of note to an increasingly crowded genre.
As a tiny ship flying around what appear to be some rather odd looking cells (well, they certainly looked odd to my wife who just so happens to be a bio-chemist), you are tasked with clearing the increasingly eclectic collection of enemies from each of the games’ 16 stages while ultimately avoiding your own destruction. The set-up isn’t actually explained, but it’s an interesting locale for a twin stick shooter, one which certainly benefits from the PS4’s additional horse power. Again, it can’t quite match Resogun for technical spectacle, but it certainly delivers something relatively distinct from an artistic standpoint.
Sadly, while the setting is certainly unique, the core gameplay is anything but. Beyond the stages delivering some interesting geometry, this is pretty standard twin stick stuff. The upgrade system is kind of cool and being able to add satellites to your ship ala R-Type is a nice touch, but other than a race to the exit (that isn’t much of a race at all), the core gameplay is akin to a slightly less polished version of Super Stardust HD.
There are 16 stages to complete, but 4 of these are boss battles and the majority, while initially interesting, are a little too similar to genuinely stand out from what has come before. The boss battles themselves, while visually impressive are far too easy and are often over in a matter of seconds – I hate to bring up Resogun again, but after the tactical boss battles found there, Nano Assualt’s equivalent feel lazily designed and poorly implemented by comparison.
Bonus letters that can be chased during a stage do add an additional element of challenge with completion being rewarded via a Sonic the Hedgehog 2 style bonus event. As in the Sega classic, the perspective shifts behind the ship for a race down a curved corridor full of bonus score items. It doesn’t change the fact that the core gameplay is a little run of the mill, but its inclusion is a welcome one and certainly gives you an aim beyond simply destroying all of the enemies on screen.
Nano Assault NEO-X might not be home to a huge amount of content or anything particularly new or exciting for that matter, but if you’ve already had your fill of the competition, Shin’en Multimedia’s twin stick shooter, thanks largely to its unique setting, cool visuals and solid scoring system, can certainly deliver a few hours of solid shooter gameplay. The leaderboards are unlikely to keep you around beyond completion of the games’ relatively meagre 16 levels, but for as long as it lasts, Nano Assault NEO-X is an enjoyable (if ultimately uninspired) experience.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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