Not to get terribly nostalgic but I do miss those old style arcade games like Galaxian and Xevious. The constant motion of flying forward with wave after wave of bad guys makes me remember my days as a punk kid hanging out entirely too long at the local arcade. Well, with the unique gameplay of the DS, game developers seem to be channeling some of the older style games and putting a more modern spin on them.
Case in point, Nanostray for the DS, coincidentally today's review. Borrowing from old style arcade shooters, Nanostray has the player eternally flying, shooting down the forces of evil, and collecting power ups in order to turn your average star fighter into a death dealing, alien smashing, force of righteousness.
For a handheld game, Nanostray looks really, really good. Even though it is a top down view, the developers did a quality job of making the landscape below look fluid and correct in its depth, giving the game a pseudo 3D look even though it isn't. Impossibly bright pixels pop off the screen; the lines of the various spaceships are nice and smooth. Framerate is top notch and the touch pad HUD on the bottom screen looks just flat-out cool. This is one of the nicest looking hand held games I have ever seen.
The actual gameplay comes at you at a blistering pace, as bad guys fall, various power ups and coins will appear which all affect the overall score. Sometimes an object will be in a place that you cannot go to because of a wall being there, etc. So you can use your fighter's tractor beam to pull it towards you, but be careful, using it to much affects your total 'valor'? points and can effect your score. Another thing of note is the strategy players must use while playing, having some weapons will drastically deplete your ship's energy. And you will need that energy to fire off those very weapons to destroy the tougher bad guys in the game. It's these little things and more that make Nanostray a fun title to play.
If there is a downside to the game it would be the couple of following issues. One, this game is short, very, very short. It can be beat in a matter of about 75 minutes. Second, the game is also incredibly easy. On the normal setting you can merely keep continuing every time you die. Sure there are other difficulty settings that cancel out the infinite continues, but I still found the game to be quite easy.
At the end of the day though, it still is an impressive looking and playing game with strong multiplayer capabilities. Pick it up if you like this style of game or are in need of another game you can put into your 'completed'? pile.