I'm not usually all that keen on playing sequels before I've played the original... I like to have that comparison to draw on. But I saw Nanostray 2 for less than a fiver, and figured it would be rude to leave it sitting there. Besides, I do like a good shoot 'em up, and there aren't many that I know of on the DS, so it had to be worth a blast.
Nanostray 2 seems to combine elements from Gradius V and R-Type Final. Wait a minute... what? That must make this the most awesome shoot 'em up ever! Well, just hold your horses there while I expand on things a bit.
There's not much that'll stand up to a two-pronged lightning attack.
The game has a fairly substantial menu, but the areas you'll find of most interest are Adventure mode and Arcade mode. Adventure sees you attempting to play right the way through the game from the beginning. You get five ships to see you through, although more can be picked up through the game, if you're lucky. You also get two continues, should those ships not prove to be enough.
As you might expect from a modern shooter, Nanostray 2 features a narrative, and you as the heroic pilot. You have to pick your way through fairly cramped levels, avoiding and blasting waves of small craft, before tackling a boss at the end of the level. Shooting entire waves of enemies releases coins to pick up, some of which will give you orbs that float around your ship and fire when you do. These orbs can be repositioned around your ship for strategic purposees, which comes in handy at various points throughout levels. You also have a secondary weapon which is more powerful, but is also limited in use. Probably best to keep it for the bosses, then.
No, that's not my score. Maybe if you knock a zero off the end.
The Arcade mode functions a bit more like a Score Attack, with you selecting a level and then going on to score as highly as possible on it. Sadly, you can only pick levels that you've unlocked in the Adventure mode... and as that is pretty difficult, you might not be using the Arcade mode much, at least for a while. That said, the Adventure mode is nicely structured, in that once you've got past the first level you've got a choice of two for your next, so this branching pathway enables you to do the unlocking a bit more quickly, if you're any good at the game.
I'm not, so I haven't unlocked much yet. I imagine that one of the reasons there aren't many games like this on the DS is because they don't control well with the D-pad. Nanostray 2 certainly isn't unplayable, just... challenging. It's quite good fun despite the D-pad thing, it looks nice, and it's certainly not a walk in the park. It's not really suitable for short games, at least not in Adventure mode, and long games give me cramp, but despite all this, Nanostray 2 is a decent addition to the collection.