E3 2011: Nano Assault

E3 2011: Nano Assault

This year being my first at E3, I sought to find a definition for the experience. After some thought, I realize it’s about the discovery of gems. Those games you weren’t expecting to see but leave a mark long after the expo doors close. For me, this is one of those games. Majesco’s Nano Assault was, surprisingly, among my favorite games of E3.

Of course, we’re aware of those AAA games that we gleefully expect, with multi-million dollar budgets behind them. Those titles we positively salivate for as we consume every trailer and screenshot available. I, for one, am glad that I had never heard of Nano Assault prior to E3. My first impressions with the game went decidedly well. The colors popped and the action ran smoothly. Even the screenshots blown up in size from the 3DS’ screen look great.

The premise of the game is virus injection. You control a Nanite ship injected into virii tasked with collecting DNA samples, destroying bacteria from within, and fighting off infections. The beauty is that there’s more than just one way to play. Our first demo was on a spherical cell structure teeming with enemies. First glances at the gameplay look more like an animated scene from a microscope than a battleground for a shooter. In this top-down perspective level, the bacteria swarm around the cell while you avoid and/or dispatch them, all the while collecting your DNA samples. As you progress through the game, your fight will grow harder or easier as the game adjusts on-the-fly to your style of play.

Another way to play will unquestionably remind you of playing Starfox. In the third person mode aptly named Innerspace, you pilot your way through what seem like blood vessels while shooting the enemies that have the unfortunate luck of being in your way. Those familiar with the movie of the same name will be smiling. It seems Majesco and developer Shin’en have a healthy sense of humor and reverence of how cool it would be to play Tuck Pendleton navigating around Jack Putters’ insides. If tasked to think of an Innerspace game, save for the characters from the movie themselves, this mode would be it.

As you’re happily blasting away at various bacterial enemies, they’ll be added to your Nanopedia. These entries will contain the information needed to dispatch them in even easier ways in the future, containing their strengths, weaknesses and so forth. The game includes the Nintendo Coins system in which you can spend your hard-earned dosh on Nanopedia entries and even music to listen to while you aren’t actively gaming.

You’ll be battling your way through 32 levels featuring 10 bosses, which provide you with secondary weapons once defeated. It features time trial and score attack modes to bump your way up the online scoreboards. The game releases in November 2011 for $29.99. While I admittedly don’t yet own a 3DS, this game will be a compelling reason for me to own one. Keep your eye out for this gem. I will.

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