Review: Indie Startup Nakai Entertainment Launches Shatter Crash - 1

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Review: Indie Startup Nakai Entertainment Launches Shatter Crash - 1
Jay Nakai and Brad Willson both had the opportunity to strengthen their chops working for Virtual Heroes, a Raleigh serious games developer, with Brad having also served a stint as supervisor for development support with Rockstar San Diego. Before long, both decided to drink the Kool-Aid of indie game development (which seems to be flowing strong round these parts), and Nakai Entertainment was born into the fold of Triangle startups.

Their first collaborative title introduced the quirky side-scroller (iOS, Android) Ninja Hamster Rescue. While the game wasn't the breakout hit they were looking for, it showed some serious promise and sparked higher expectations for what the pair could achieve as new developers in the future.

I can't but help but root for the home team on their iPad title Shatter Crash. You can get it here in the App Store, and for a very limited time it's only 99 cents (Retail is $1.99).

I had an opportunity to check under the hood and kick a few tires on the new toy they've been whittling away on for the better part of a year. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the two, but hopefully I won't have to for long- because the game actually looks fantastic. Releasing today, this local duo has something for iPad owners to look forward to. 
Review: Indie Startup Nakai Entertainment Launches Shatter Crash - 2
Review: Indie Startup Nakai Entertainment Launches Shatter Crash - 2

Review: Indie Startup Nakai Entertainment Launches Shatter Crash - 3
Jumping mainframe to mainframe, the player is trying to enter each node to wipe away layers of the virus and free his enslaved nanobot buddies. Throw in flashy (yet powerful) un-lockable equipment, a leveling system that scales steadily with game progression via 'powersuits', and you've put together a recipe for something truly special.

While many puzzle games on the market often lack a certain level of polish and engaging content, Shatter Crash delivers an engrossing player experience with high resolution art, quality sound/music, and adorable animations sprinkled with a bit of a story easy to follow.

Figuring out how to best navigate your way down to the core in actual gameplay can be a bit tricky until you get the hang of it. In actual gameplay, you will be traversing a rotatable 3D ball with many layers, which are destroyed by placing jig saw pieces in the right open spaces- so yes, it has a touch of a learning curve. I like to call it the flashy disco ball (especially when I'm nodding my head to catchy techno-hop music tunes).

Once you get past the learning curve to master the slightly finicky movement controls, the game becomes dangerously addictive. The controls become intuitive, and you start dancing around the puzzle space like a teen raver dosed on E. Start blowing out pieces of the puzzle with programs like 'electric burst' or 'pulse spark', and then you really have a party.

Nakai has created an impressive title that has updatable content in the pipeline. It has tight/fast gameplay, slick techy art aesthetic, and that addictive quality about it that every great puzzle game should have- 4.5 of 5.

Unfortunately (for now), it is iPad only for release, but hopefully we'll see this gem coming to other platforms in the near future.