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Nanostray Review

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Developer: Shin’en Publisher: Majesco
Release Date: July 19, 2005 Available On: Nintendo DS

If you are a fan of the R-Type series, you might as well stop reading this review and go buy Nanostray for your Nintendo DS right now. From the creators of the Iridion Game Boy Advance series, Nanostray is a blend of 2D space shooting with 3D background effects and beautiful graphics. One of the biggest draws of the game, its old-school appeal, is one of its biggest faults. The charm will wear off after a few hours.

In the graphics department, Nanostray fares pretty well. While there are only 8 different levels to select from, the level variety is high. The levels include a jungle, a desert, an asteroid field, a volcano planet, etc. The graphics are also complimented with professional menus.

The main complaints I have with the graphics, and coincidentally the game overall, is its lack of any clear boundaries. Ships will fly underneath you, posing no immediate threat, only for them to begin firing on you and threatening your craft’s survival if you crash into it. There is a limited amount of depth that you can perceive, making it difficult to judge the altitude of enemies (are they below you or at the same elevation?). The other problem that I had was that you can’t move all the way to the left or right on the screen. This amounts to a hidden wall that impedes on the progress of each level.

The upper screen will act as the playing field, while the bottom as the points and whatnot, including the four different firing modes. The problem with this is, you can’t look at two screens at once. If you switch firing modes with the touch-screen, you are not only looking away from the top screen, but likely using your thumb, which in-turn means you stop firing.

Nanostray comes with four different game modes. They include: Adventure, Arcade, Challenge, and Multi-Player. Adventure is the main single player game, with 3 save slots to choose from. There are a total of 8 stages to select from, starting with a group of three. You can play the first three in any order, then once all are complete, another three are unlocked, etc.

Arcade allows you to play each of the 8 stages over again. You are only given three lives in this mode and hi-scores are saved. Challenge mode will throw you into the single-player levels, giving you objectives such as “get a score of 350,000”, “you only have one ship”, and “clear 20 waves”. Finally, there’s co-operative and competitive wireless multi-player. You can use a single cartridge, downloading the content to a friend’s DS system.

If you are a fan of classic 2D space shooters like Life Force or R-Type, Nanostray should be a perfect fit in your collection of DS games. The game is challenging, sometimes artificially so with the hidden walls and elevation issues. Depending on your experience with space shooters, that’s either a positive or negative. Nanostray is a highly suggested investment for hardcore 2D space shooter fans, but casual gamers might find the game’s difficulty intimidating and a bit short for a $30 title.

Graphics: 9
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 8
Creativity: 7
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 7.6
Written by Kyle Review Guide