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3DS  header logo

Nano Assault EX

For: 3DS

Anything but a nano adventure

Product: Nano Assault EX | Developer: Shin'en Multimedia | Format: 3DS | Genre: Action, Shooter | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Nano Assault EX 3DS, thumbnail 1
The twin-stick shooter has become a rather lucrative genre in the downloadable game space.

Few games have managed to match the mastery of Geometry Wars or the beauty of Super Stardust Delta. But when Shin'en Multimedia released Nano Assault Neo on the Wii U it looked like there could well be another torchbearer.

Naturally, when Nano Assault EX turned up on the 3DS it seemed that this would be a pocket-sized slice of the same virus-themed brilliance.

In reality, it's a slice that's far meatier than anyone could have expected.

Micro-biotic fun

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Nano Assault EX is just going to be a twin-stick shooter like any other - especially like its home console counterpart. However, it's actually a brilliant mix of Super Stardust and, surprisingly, Lylat Wars.

Playing as a nanomachine, you're tasked with entering into a cellular system to remove the deadly Nanostray virus from existence.

Naturally, this means you'll be firing off your laser cannons in all directions, grabbing DNA strands hidden in the levels, and ultimately working your way through each cell one by one.

And it all feels great to play, thanks to how well it makes use of the 3DS's 3D screen.

Thank goodness for those twin sticks… oh…

You may have noticed that there's one crucial flaw in a twin-stick shooter on a handheld with only one stick. This is a rather notable problem during the twin-stick heavy sections of Nano Assault EX - which is probably why the more Lylat Wars-esque gameplay works far better.

That isn't to say that controlling where you shoot is awkward with the face buttons, although it's distinctly more eight-way shooter than full 360 degrees. You can overcome this restriction by using a Circle Pad Pro, but that solution won't be practical for everybody.

It's hard to think of a 3DS title that looks quite as beautiful as this does. The glistening fleshy cells crawling with micro life look absolutely superb, as they fly through cellular caverns and dodge globulous nuclei, all in glorious 3D.

Nano Assault EX may be priced rather ambitiously for what initially looks like little more than a throwaway title - especially for those who already own Nano Assault Neo. But what Shin'en is offering is more substantial than it looks - a tight and rather lengthy arcade-action-shooter title with some truly smart gameplay moments thrown into the mix.
Nano Assault EX
Reviewer photo
Vaughn Highfield | 13 March 2013
Despite its shortcomings with the lack of a second stick, Nano Assault EX is an incredibly pleasant surprise, as it melds the nail-biting appeal of an action shooter title with the delights of exploring a beautifully realised cellular world
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