is like the Magic Schoolbus field trip from hell. Instead of exploring dinosaur
bones or space or even the redheaded kid’s colon, they're exploring dangerous
cells plagued with a horrible virus. That means the bus stays parked; this time
they're taking a spaceship with lasers.
Assault's worlds are called cell clusters and each mission consists of an individual,
alien-shaped cell. These levels are almost entirely different shapes from one
to the other, and they switch between Super Mario Galaxy-style level wrapping
and Star Fox style on-rails navigation.
wrapping (ala SM Galaxy) is one of Nano Assault's finest accomplishments. There
are two things to do on each uniquely-shaped cell: 1) kill all the enemies and
2) collect three sections of a double-helix, which is the only collectible and it
unlocks later levels. Both are fine and dandy until you're floating around a
massive cell for ten minutes, searching for a single remaining enemy or helix
(an occurrence that happens surprisingly frequently on huge levels).
Fortunately, the scenery is nice to look at and interesting to traverse.
If you're the
kind of person who gets nauseated jumping around Mario's galaxy, Nano Assault
will make you as sick as the bacteria you’re eliminating. The combination of
slightly more exaggerated level design and an intense dose of 3D will likely
even leave the normally-unaffected feeling dizzy from time to time.
But once you
finish puking, you'll come back to Nano Assault for its epic boss battles. Each
cell cluster (of which there are seven) contains several exciting bosses - huge
forms so mutated by the deadly virus that they grow tentacles and flagellum at
random until the stage looks like an octopus Sorority party. These classic
bosses are always different and always fun to destroy, even with the oh-so-clichéd
battles are so obviously the game's highlight that developer Shin’en gives them
their own mode, a boss battle survival mode which earns you points you can
spend unlocking information and music.
game is surprisingly delightful, after a breezy three hours it will also feel
surprisingly concluded. The three additional modes ultimately only recycle
content, and while a leaderboard Arcade mode will keep perfectionists busy, we
don’t expect those leaderboards to be exactly packed with competition. In the
end, the game's short campaign and limited replay value may leave some gamers
feeling like eliminating these viruses feels a bit anemic.