Both skill and luck are required to clear this infection.
The Wii U's first twin-stick shooter has you chasing high scores as a microscopic ship clearing infections on the surface of individual cells. Nano Assault Neo relates no story whatsoever, not even in its manual, but we can infer that much from the game's pulsating, squishy, translucent environments.
The goal is to destroy the viruses chasing you (or shooting bullets at you) to purify the sixteen levels. Each level has a limited number of enemies that keep spawning around you, and once you have cleared 90% of the "infection", you have 30 seconds to reach the exit that appears on the other side of the cell. The defeated viruses occasionally leave behind power-ups or credits to upgrade your ship between levels.
Shin'en has always loved to show off their technical chops on Nintendo hardware, and Nano Assault Neo is no exception. Never have gigantic shiny bugs, viscous germs, and hairy critters looked better. They have also borrowed a page from Super Mario Galaxy and place a floating camera above your ship as it scours the irregular surface of planetoid-like cells. It can be occasionally disorienting, but never unpleasantly so.
The game is all about the action and chasing high scores. There are no cut-scenes to speak of, even when you finish the game. If you have beat your own personal high score, the leaderboards appear in a fraction of a second to show where you stand. Don't worry: there are filters to compare yourself to the people on your Friends list if looking at the worldwide rankings is too discouraging.
The game is a visual showcase and a ton of fun, but sadly, randomness can frustrate score chasers. Skillful players will always do better than unskilled ones, of course, but getting the right power-ups early can make the difference between doing well and doing great. The first power-ups you'll wish for are satellites that shoot alongside your ship to double your firepower and widen your shots, making it much easier to sustain combos. At times, you'll get a few of them right away, but the next time you try, you might not be so lucky. When that happens, you might as well start over.
Randomness affecting your score would be a minor gripe in another game, but when chasing high scores is literally all the game is about, it is hard to ignore. Still, Nano Assault Neo is fun, plays well, and looks great whether you are looking at the TV or playing solely on the GamePad's screen. The ease of getting in and out of a game means that any unsuccessful attempt at improving your scores will likely compel you to try again. The Wii U has launched with a great twin-stick shooter right out of the gate, and until more entries in this prolific genre come out, I expect to come back to it again and again.