Nano Assault Neo

Nano Assault Neo review

Nano Assault Neo review

AKA: A Bit of Trouble, New.

Does the world need another twin-stick shooter? The competition is fierce with Super Stardust HD and Delta occupying the PS3 and Vita respectively, while Geometry Wars 2 remains as fun as ever on Xbox Live Arcade. Nintendo never had an entrant in the genre - probably due to the Wii and DS' lack of a second analogue stick. That's changed now with the Wii U. (Can we please start calling it a WU?) Shin'en's twin-stick shooter Nano Assault Neo is front and centre at the eShop at launch, hoping for a Geometry Wars-style success, but it does little to distinguish itself in an increasingly saturated genre.

The obvious comparison to Nano Assault Neo is the Stardust series, in which you pilot a craft around spherical planets while blowing all manner of malevolent minerals and machinery to smithereens. Nano Assault Neo follows a similar tack, with the primary difference being that the playing field has been expanded from spheres to awkwardly shaped lumps called “cells” that take their inspiration from Super Mario Galaxy.

This more defined terrain is an initially welcome change that grants each level a distinct identity, but the more oddly shaped stages end up confusing the camera. You'll soon find yourself looping around in certain directions purely because that's where you'll get the best viewing angle.

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Wii U: Hunting for the star of the launch line-up

FeatureWii U: Hunting for the star of the launch line-up

Asymmetry and a focus on local multiplayer suggest great promise for Nintendo's new box of tricks.

Console launches can be tense affairs, can't they? First there's the worry about getting home from a midnight opening without being mugged by the bigger kids. Then there's the fear that the arrival of expensive new hardware will magically coincide with your rent going up and your wife walking out, landing you on the streets with an old paper bag for a house and no electrical sockets to plug your brand new Fairchild Channel F into.

More importantly, though, there's the software line-up. You've probably got a limited amount of money to spend - if you don't, incidentally, have I ever mentioned that I'm a bone marrow donor and I love receiving gifts? - and you want to make sure you end up with Twilight Princess rather than Red Steel. Nintendo showed off quite a few of its launch titles in Frankfurt earlier this week, and with Red Steel still fresh in my mind, I wandered around trying to spot potential winners - and also eating some of those weird menthol boiled sweets I can only ever find in Germany. Tangy!

Let's put aside the ports and the cross-platform stuff for the sake of this piece. The likes of Darksiders 2 and Mass Effect 3 look great, but the true star of any launch is going to be something console-specific, right? When Nintendo's involved, you can bet the true gems will probably be self-published, too, and sure enough there are two titles you should keep an eye on.

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