Players: 1 Player Game | Genre: Shooter
The Shooter genre hasn’t seen a lot of love from developers in the current generation of handhelds and home consoles. To help fill the void, Majesco has teamed up with developer Shin’en to bring Nintendo DS owners Nanostray. Does Nanostray deliver a lasting experience or does this dual-screen title fail like many shooters before it have?
The action in Nanostray takes place primarily on the top screen. Here players will need to dodge the many enemies, avoid lasers, bullets, and other obstacles, and defeat huge bosses that can take up the most of the screen. To help accomplish this, you are given four different weapons--including one that shoots from your side. Besides the four weapons, players can also use a bomb that destroys all the enemies on the screen. After you destroy enough enemies, a meter will fill up and allow you to use the bomb blast again. The downside to these bombs is that they can be used against the bosses. On top of that, you even get a bomb every time you die on the normal difficulty level. This really drops the challenge on the normal setting.
Besides the bombs, the other big problem with the gameplay is the forced touch screen controls. Once again we see a developer who has no idea how to truly incorporate the unique feature of the Nintendo DS. Instead of creating an innovative use, they force players to use the touch screen to switch weapons. This is a bad idea mainly because you have to take your hands off the controls to do this. In fact, it makes more sense to add this functionality on one of the buttons instead of the touch screen. Other touch screen features include radar. This distracts you from the action on the top screen and will be another reason you die. Sadly, Nanostray’s touch screen integration is yet another example of how the industry just doesn’t know to use the innovation of the Nintendo DS.
Nanostray also features a multiplayer mode that allows for two players to compete in a score challenge. This mode isn’t a lot of a fun mainly because there are only four levels to choose from and no ability to play through the single player campaign together. A cooperative mode would have been a much better choice.
Overall, Nanostray looks good, the sound is decent, and on the hardest difficulty level, this game will give players a little bit of a challenge. But once you beat the game, there is very little reason to go back for more. I give the developers a lot of credit for tackling the Shooter genre. However, the forced touch screen controls and lack of many multiplayer features make this game cartridge a definite rental. Some may get hooked because of the lack of titles in the genre. For the rest of us, we will just have to wait for something better to come along.