July 9th, 2016
I guess my writing hiatus is officially over now, right? I’m currently working through old notes and drafts, and so some of the short-form pieces will find their way here. If you missed my tweets from a few months ago, I’ve written a 10,000 word chapter for an upcoming edited book titled Level Design: Processes and Experiences, which will be released at the end of the year. It was quite a project and I’ll have more to say about it later on. For now, a few bullet points on 3DS eShop shmup Nano Assault EX. This title was part of the second Nindies Humble Bundle, so if you bought in, then you’ll probably have it in your collection already.
- Shin’en deserve credit for the visually attractive 3D planetoids. However, the majority of game mechanics (moving and shooting) and elements (enemies, hazards, collectables) aren’t designed or arranged to make use of the unique dynamics of the curved spaces (for example, blindspots in the curvature, variable levels of elevation, and uniquely shaped protrusions).
- A natural consequence of the curve-shaped planetoids is that a significant portion of the player’s immediate surroundings is often hidden from view. The myopic viewpoint paired with the game objectives of destroying every enemy in play, can make the process of scouting out that one remaining drone needlessly protracted.
- Since enemy nests spawn in from the sky when the player enters a designated space on the planetoid and there’s no hints telling the player where these prompts are located, the lack of feedback can make finding that final nest feel like aimless wandering.
- The two previously mentioned issues are exacerbated by the realistic momentum (i.e. slower movement speed) when climbing the ends of the frequent bone-shaped structures.
- Fortunately, the map marks enemy locations on the pause screen.
- When moving along the spherical protrusions of the planetoids, where your view is most limited, it’s easy for bullets fired from “around the curve” to catch you out with very little response time.
- Some enemies spawn right on top of you too, which results in insta-death.
- In the tunnel levels, your movement and aiming are both tied to the circle pad. You slide the pad within a central bounding circle to aim and then push beyond that circle to move the ship. However, the lack of distinguishing tactile feedback blurs the inputs, making it difficult to aim more controlled shots.
- Also, because aiming is coupled with movement, you can’t move and shoot separately unless you’re aiming for something in the position you’re moving towards.
- As the camera is positioned behind the ship, your craft can often obscure bullets flying right towards you.
- Your bullets tend to be crowded out by the enemy bullets and explosions, sometimes causing the action to get muddled in the cross-fire. In so many of these hectic confrontations, I was caught out by a stray bullet.
- The spread spray option kind of neuters aiming. It’s more like you’re aiming in general directions as opposed to targeting enemies.
- The 3D harshly splits when you alter the viewing position slightly. I don’t think I’ve noticed this in other 3D games.
- With lots of objects flying towards the screen, it can be very distracting. Sometimes my brain tells me to duck when actually my focus should be towards the enemy ships.