When I first began playing Nano Assault NEO-X, I wasn’t really sure what I was looking at. I knew that I was piloting a type of “Nano” spaceship, and I knew that my main goal was to shoot up everything in sight. I also knew that I was on a large, 3D object that seemed to be floating in the middle of space, which I vaguely suspected to be a cell, but after conferring with my neuroscientist friend, I realized that no cell in the world actually looks like that.
Looks Aren’t Everything
However, while the “cell” might not have actually been a real-life construct, it looked incredibly lifelike on the screen. From the tufts of hair-like grass to the somewhat watery surface, the entire construct looked amazing. This is something that can be said of all of NEO-X‘s 16 cellular environments. Each of the 16 levels features a detailed arena, intricately-designed enemies, and gorgeous special effects. Clearly, the game’s designers put a lot of effort and thought into how the twin-stick shooter looks, and it shows.
At the same time, I also began wondering why a game this beautiful would be only a mere $10 dollars. Unfortunately for me, it did not take long to find out. The main downfall of NEO-X is its length. Each level can be completed in a matter of minutes. And, since there are only 16 levels, that means the entire game can be completed in only a little more than an hour.
Essentially, the main point of the game is to fly a tiny spaceship around and destroy everything on the screen. Players get points and money for destroying things without getting damage taken by either flying directly into the enemies or by having them shoot back at you. The money can be used after each level, as players can spend the money to purchase special weapons, such as homing-missiles or an electric force-field type of weapon. These weapons can then be used in the next level, and can deal devastating blows to enemies.
Besides relying on these high-powered weapons, players can also get a total of four satellites. Each satellite adds the the player’s basic attack, which is essentially a laser machine-gun, allowing the player to shoot a total of five laser machine-guns at one time. These satellites, as well as the high-powered weapons, can either be found in the level or can be bought after the level.
Nano Assault NEO Review Cellular Shooting
NEO-X has a total of 16 levels, which are split into four separate groups. Each group features three normal levels, meaning that the player will be roaming around and shooting a copious amount of enemies until 90% of the enemies are defeated. At which point, the exit will appear, and players will have only 30 seconds to reach the exit before losing the level.
However, the fourth level of each group features a boss-battle. Although this sounds intense, the bosses are actually far easier to defeat than the host of normal minions. I beat the first two bosses in less than a minute, giving you a hint as to how hard the bosses actually are and how short the levels are.
A Much Needed Bonus
To keep players interested in the game despite the short levels and lack of epic boss-fights, NEO-X has bonus rounds that players can unlock by collecting individual letters that spell out “bonus” in each level. When these are collected, players are transported to a weird tube at the end of the level, and must avoid barriers and collect money tokens for as long as possible. It is kind of fun, and adds a much needed break to the somewhat repetitive shoot-em-up gameplay.
Besides having the bonus levels, NEO-X also tries to keep players interested by having a local co-op mode. Essentially, this is the exact same thing as the single-player mode, only there are now two little spaceships on the screen instead of one. It can be fun to play with a friend when you both have only a few minutes to spare and are looking for a game to play, but if you have already cleared the game on your own, there isn’t much of a point in going back and playing it with a buddy.
In short, Nano Assault NEO-X is an amazing looking game that doesn’t have a lot to offer besides its current-gen graphics. It takes only around an hour to beat the whole thing, and unless you really want to compete for a top score in the leaderboards, there isn’t much of a reason to go back and replay any of the levels. Its boss-battles are disappointing, and while its fast-paced, stick-shooter gameplay is fun, it gets old fairly quickly. For the $10 price tag, NEO-X isn’t the worst game on the PS Store, but it certainly is far from the best.
Review copy was provided by the publisher. For information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.