Nanobots is the latest from the web-game nanofactory assembly line that is Nitrome. While not as inventive as some of its other releases, Nanobots takes your classic shoot-em-up, wraps it in a cool metaphor of nanomachines fighting inside a cell, and polishes it to a shiny finish. The result is one of the best Flash-based shmups on the internet.
The game puts you at the helm of a little pod that you control with the mouse or keyboard. It can move forward, backward, and pivot in any direction. The ship is always firing, which is sort of de riguer for any shmup that's honest with its genre. You must blast away (with well-toned sound effects and animated explosions reminiscent of Mega Man) wave after wave of invasive machines with one major catch: the nanobots are color-coded and can only be destroyed by weapons of the same shade.
For example, the pink 'bots have to be shot using your pink bullets, yellow enemies must be destroyed with your yellow bombs, while green foes can only be eliminated if you equip the orbiting green mace. You can only possess one weapon at a time, adding another layer of prioritization ot your melee blastastcity.
Analysis: For all its charms and well-oiled tunings, Nanobots suffers from one glaring flaw — no intra-level saves. This isn't 1982 and we're not playing a quarter-munching arcade game. Put some checkpoints in-between waves so we don't have to repeat a ten minute sequence if we die just short of the level's end. That's a basic rule of core game design, much less casual game design, that should be a little more forgiving.
Shrink down for a fantastic journey into the depths of the human shmup.
The game is also available to play at the MTV Arcade.