|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Shin'en||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Majesco||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 11, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Ample patience and skill are required to progress through the game even on the easiest of difficulty settings (although being able to quickly memorize attacking enemy wave patterns will help greatly). A finite number of lives and only three continues makes Nanostray 2 a punishing experience. Things get chaotic on the Easy setting (which is quite a challenge to complete on its own), but Hard mode is insanity. Fortunately, the game is highly addictive, and you'll find yourself (against all better judgment) wanting to go back for more even after being brutalized time and time again.
Overall, the game may be a bit on the short side, but the broad range of play options and unlockables make frequent replay almost guaranteed. It's designed to be played over and over again. Most players will find it damn near impossible to make it through the entire game on the first go-around, and replaying tougher levels to get better at them is a necessity. It's best to start in adventure mode to get the flavor of the story and unlock levels for use in other modes. Arcade mode lets you hand-pick a level and play through to get a high-score, which allows for a slightly different experience.
Challenge mode pits you against increasingly difficult goals that are typically accomplished in brief spurts that last from 30 seconds to about a minute. Goals consist of obtaining a certain score in the allotted time, destroying a specific number of enemy waves, surviving in a chaotic battle for a set time period, and numerous other interesting challenges. Each is quite difficult and extremely satisfying to finally complete after repeat attempts. Finishing all eight challenges in each of the four tiers will unlock bonus mini-games that can be played in simulation mode. If all that doesn't manage to keep you thoroughly occupied, you can pair up with a friend for limited co-op and competitive local multiplayer matches.
Shoot-'em-up fans who own a DS would be remiss to pass-up Nanostray 2, especially since there's not much else currently available in the genre for the system. The game simply delivers some no-nonsense, hardcore space shooter fun that's decidedly tough to beat but easy to pick up and jump right into. Nanostray 2 doesn't bring anything particularly new or amazing to the genre; it's great because it stays true to its roots.
CCC Staff Contributor