When I think of shoot ‘em ups, which happens from time to time, the Nintendo DS isn’t the first platform that comes to mind. It received a handful of great games, I’m sure, but I don’t have many. In fact, the only traditional shoot ‘em up I have for the DS is Nanostray 2. I put in a couple of hours recently, and while I didn’t surpass the halfway mark, I know I don’t necessarily want to play more of it. There’s plenty to do, I would even say it has a robust amount of content, but I didn’t grow an appreciation for the way it played.
There were a few modes to choose from and I mostly played the adventure mode. In it, I followed along to a sparse story revolving around a virus corrupting machinery – the nanostray virus. This amounted to fully voiced introductory and concluding cutscenes bookending each stage. There was an arcade mode where I was able to play the stages I had unlocked through the adventure, which wasn’t many. Of the single player modes, challenge and simulator were the final two modes. The former tasked me with completing specific objectives, which unlocked mini-games in the latter.
There was no shortage of content to experience, to be sure, but I never really gelled with the game. When I come to this genre, I generally come for fast-paced action. There wasn’t much of that here. On top of that, I didn’t find the controls to be as responsive as I would’ve liked. In general, the game left a sluggish impression on me. That’s not to say it was easy. I found it to be very tough, another reason why I didn’t get too far. The stages themselves were tough to conquer but progression in adventure mode was strict. I had a set of lives and three continues to get as far as I could, and after a handful of attempts, I got halfway through and decided that was good enough for me.
Nanostray 2 had a lot to offer, but I just couldn’t dig it. The sluggish impression it left on me and tough difficulty turned me away. This was the first Shin’en Multimedia game I’ve played, but they were halfway known for this type of game when this game released in 2008. I suppose this game and its predecessor acted as spiritual successors to the studio’s previous works – the Game Boy Advance’s Iridion games. The studio has carved out a niche for their shoot ‘em ups on Nintendo handhelds (even the Nano Assault series on the 3DS) and while I didn’t completely enjoy this one, I’m not deterred to try their other games.