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 Post subject: Nano Assault NEO-X (PlayStation 4)
PostPosted: Sat May 08, 2021 10:01 pm 


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Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Posts: 379
Location: Autobot City, Sugiura Base
Time to check another PlayStation 4 shmup. Let's check Nano Assault NEO-X.

You've might be familiar with Shin'en Multimedia GmbH as the creator of the Iridion series, Nanostray and Nano Assault and the original Nano Assault Neo from Gameboy Advance all the way to the Nintendo 3DS.



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A main menu as basic as possible.

To begin with, the game features three modes: Single Player, Two Players and Arcade Mode. with these already self explaining, it is more than obvious that the game goes to the basics as the main menu covers what is essential for a fully playable commercial game without relying on extra material like galleries, something that most "New Generation" players would find empty.



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Four microscopic worlds that need your help.
It might look like a small thing to do, but the task might be bigger than you've thought.


Single Player is the main campaign of this game. You can select any cell cluster you've unlocked, by clearing a cluster you'll unlock the next one.
Each one follows the same structure: 3 cells to purify and 1 boss battle.



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Like Daft Punk said: "Around the World, around the world".

Nano Assault NEO-X's gameplay is the basic arena-based Twin Stick shooter where the main objective is to reach the 90% of purification before proceeding to the next level, just like reaching the minimum requirements in Geometry Wars 3 Dimensions to make progress in the game. As a Twin-Stick shooter, the Right Analog stick controls the aim of your fire while the left is the ship's movement. Thus, there's no complex game mechanics to understand making the core function of this game easy-to-learn for newcomers. There's a multiplier mechanic that involves on killing enemies quickly to get the x5 maximum combo, but it looks like it wasn't done properly since once you've destroy an enemy it starts on the x5 and depletes very fast, not giving you enough time to keep the multiplier for long periods of time, considering there's enemies with large amounts of health like the starfish like enemies and Tardigrades in Omicron and Zeta clusters.
The game implements secondary weapons which are the Special Weapons of the game.

GARAN Q (GRN): This is the short range, all-rounder attack that generates lightning bolts of energy that spin around the Nanite Ship. This one requires expert handling of the ship to full its potential since the bolts causes great damages.
RAYDION (RAY): The grenade weapon. It fires a green blast of energy that explodes after running a short distance. It is powerful enough to greatly damage large size enemies.
SEKKA VR (SKR): The homing weapon of the game. It fires purple lasers that chases enemies until the beam hits or dissipates after trying to lock on target. This one is very effective since it is the one that consumes less ammo and causes moderate damages.
NANO SHIELD (S): The force field of the game. This grants you temporary invincibility for around 10 seconds and dissipates.
ATTRACTOR: This is a ship upgrade, what it does is to attract nearby weapons, items and credits to your ship, this is helpful when you need desperately an upgrade without needing to take a hit in an attempt to pick it.

Along with the secondary weapons, you are also given the Satellites (SAT) which are four pods that provide extra fire, resulting in a total of five bullet streams that turns the firepower in your favor.

Killing enemies not just grant you items, but also colorful panels with the letters B-O-N-U-S. If you're fast enough, you can get them in two stages. Getting the full BONUS panels will give you a special bonus after clearing the stage with the five letters.
The difficulty curve while being fair in the Epsilon and Zeta clusters with average speed enemies and popcorn enemies, it climbs up quite too fast once you've reach Omicron 1, as it begin to throw you spores that fire 5 way bullets and they can easily turn into a bullet hell as they pop in a rate of 5 per 3 seconds, same for Sigma 2. There's also the crystal-like enemies from Sigma 3 which create a trail of crystals that will damage the ship if it touches it, requiring to clear your way by firing since they don't disappear if the enemy dies, concentrating on the crystal enemies is a top priority since the stage will also throw you octopuses that shoot 5 way bullets and with the crystals blocking your path, this could easily result in dead ends with not too much space to dodge the enemy fire. For your luck, you have 3 lives before losing the game and starting the cluster all over again. Still, there's no energy recovering items to keep you from losing a life since you only have 3 Hit Points making you prone to die easily if you don't know what's up with the game.



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Apparently, your ship has an expiration date and is TODAY IN 30 SECONDS!

You've might be asking why the stage will activate the exit when the purification is at 90%? Here's the answer. The game will trigger a 30 second countdown and that's where you'll have to decide if you want to complete the 100% purification or get out of the cell. If the time reaches zero you'll lose the stage clear bonus which grants you points based on your accuracy and the remaining escape time. Your ship explodes but you won't lose a life. If luck's on your side and you can finish the purification and get out of the level in time, you'll get 100,000 points for full purification, which is way more than what escaping in time would grant you, so it's more convenient to take the risk and reach 100% of purification for the sake of high scoring. Besides, who can worry on accuracy when the enemies pops out in considerable speeds and the ship's fire is controlled by the Analog Stick?, the answer is nobody, so that bonus becomes unreliable given the situation.



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Reminds me of Mount Splashmore from Virtual Bart.

Remember those B-O-N-U-S letters you've got?, they're not just part of the stage clear bonus like the Lucky Panels from Blazing Star, they're also the key to play the Bonus Round. The main objective here is simple: Stay alive as much time as possible while you move at a constantly increasing speed across the tunnel and get all the credit chips possible. If you crash once, the round will end. Survive 1 minute and you'll unlock the Bonus Forever trophy. My only complaint here is that sometimes the pillars are crammed at the point of they can result in a sure crash unless you're a speed maniac, making the trophy quite difficult for average players.



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NANO SHOP™, NANOGAUGE™ and NANO SHIELD™ are registered trademarks of Takamachi Heavy Industries.
Used under license by Shin'en Multimedia GmbH.


Everytime you clear a cell, you'll be in the Nano Shop, this is the shop of the game where you can buy Extra Lives and weapons. While the Garan Q, Raydion, Sekka VR, Satellites and Nano Shield can be obtained for free and randomly through the stages, there's things that can only be obtained by buying. Being the Extra Life, Nanogauge and Attractor those exclusives.



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Customizeable Satellite position.
Now you can take full control of the firing directions.


This one is an interesting move: By pressing the Touch Pad button will pause the game to bring the Customize Satellites screen where you can adjust the position of each pair of satellites. From how far or close of your ship they can be, close them each other for a full frontal fire or spread them for a more wide open fire and even the angle for a back shot or spread shot. From my perspective its like someone took the Gyrodrive Reactive Intercept Device mechanics from Gridseeker: Project Storm Hammer and the Satellite formations from Super E.D.F.: Earth Defense Force, put them together and give full control of them to the player.



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The Battle of Cell Purification.

While each cell cluster consists of three levels, the fourth stage is exclusively for the boss fight. Fortunately, these aren't cryptic or too complex, as the objective consists of destroying all the red points in the boss' body. Something that I've noticed is that despite the boss throws small "Popcorn" enemies, they don't give you points if you take them down, preventing the player from milking the boss for high-scoring purposes.



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CONGRATULATIONS!
Now give this mode a try!


While the game doesn't have an ending cutscene, it unlocks one more mode for you to play: Survivor Mode, but before talking of this one, there's another mode to talk about and that's Arcade Mode. This one is virtually identical to the Single Player mode. However, you can only play one Cell rather than the whole cluster, acting more like a Training/Practice Mode since the original mode is much more of an "Arcade" as it focus more on gameplay rather than plotlines.



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Facing a "Three Strikes and You're Dead" battle in the immensity of the microscopic universe.

Survivor Mode is the hidden mode obtained by completing the game. The main objective of this mode consist of surviving as much stages as possible before dying, and there's a very thin room for error in this mode since you're pitted on the game with no lives, only your three shield points, and like in the Single Player Mode, there's no energy recovery items and to make things far more difficult, the Extra Life on the Nano Shop was removed. If you can survive Omicron 1 and Sigma 3 without taking a hit, you're already a pro.
Keep in mind, the final Trophies of this game are obtained by getting 2,000,000 points and surviving 10 and 25 cells in this mode. If you can make it to cell 15 then you're a Super Player already 'cos I've checked the Leaderboards and no one made it to Cell 25. If you're on a Trophy Hunt, then you've got another "Ultimate Challenge" just like Dariusburst CS: Chronicle Saviours.

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Looks like surviving 25 levels was tougher than I've thought.

UPDATE: After getting more than 25 stages cleared and 11 million points, the game's leaderboards register my score correctly, but the total of stages seems to be stucked at 15. Fortunately, this doesn't affect the trophy progression.



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Super-detailed Microscopic Menaces.

Graphically, the game can best be described as an incredibly realistic approach to its theme: Cells and Tumours, as the whole game resembles the microscopic world within the cells and microorganisms up to the textures invisible to our eyes, along with the structures within them like "fur", "grass" and even rock formations. A world within a world if you ask me. The same can be said for the microscopic life forms like Tardigrades and parasites.

I remember that time when EGM's reviewer (and one of my influences as a reviewer) Sean Patrick "Seanbaby" Reiley compared the NES Wayne's World game and the movie's "Obvious fad" popularity with terminal cancer on a review on his website and cracked out a joke about kids finding a fictional game called Terminal Cancer Blasters years from now. Well, looks like this is the closest thing to his Terminal Cancer Blasters idea, just change the game's title and there you go.

Unlike X-Multiply or Transcripted which make a dark colored approach to the inner-body/cell tissue theme, Nano Assault NEO-X takes a more vibrant and alive color palette that makes this inner world look more like a living organism and less like an alien world.



Like most Euro-shmups, the soundtrack consists of fast-paced euro-electronic beats that feel influenced by the Hi-NRG of the 80-90's and the early 2000's, making the game more action-rhythmic than Transcripted's medical documentary-styled music score. Unlike other shmups, the player's death explosion is not heard in the TV, instead, it is heard on the speaker of the PS4 controller, which is quite a surprising move from the developers.


NANO CURIOSITIES NEO-X
- The Neo-X version is Shin'en Multimedia's first game that appears in a Non-Nintendo console.
- Trilodus means "Triple Lobe" or "Three Lobes".



Nano Assault NEO-X is a Geometry Wars 3 clone that surprises us with spectacular graphics, interesting customization mechanisms and basic, yet fun gameplay.
If you're new into the PlayStation 4, you might consider to pick this one up as a "PS4 Shmup Starter Deck". Even if in the end is a Trophy Milker, it's good enough to stay in your shmup library. Good Luck and have fun on your Trophy Hunt, that's all I can say right now.



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Lea is more than happy to know this is not another trash game.
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