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N.O.V.A. - Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (iPhone Application)

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      13.06.2010 20:12
      Very helpful
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      • Reliability

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      good effort

      One area of the iphones Appstore that is slowly growing is "true games". Ones which arent made for a few minutes here or there , but ones with a storyline and characters , as well as a couple of hours worth of gametime. These are helping the iphone show itself as a portable gaming device like the DS , as well as being a great phone. N.O.V.A is one example.

      ===Start up===
      After a short video showing a halo-esque man shooting we are bought to the main menu, with some strong instrumentals to give the game an epic feel.
      The initial load is 6 seconds to bring up the video and then the menu, their are loading screens between each level and these are around 8-10 seconds.
      The menu has the choice of new game , multiplayer , levels and options. As well as the links to gameloft and their products.

      ===Game===
      The game has 13 levels , taking around 30 mins on easy to complete, the levels take place in a range of enviroments including forests, spaceships and citys.
      Their are a range of weapons including rifles, pistols, shotguns and launchers, As well as grenades. The ammo is limited but can be taken from fallen foes as well as by hacking ammo crates, done by a mini game in which you must deflect a laser off mirrors.
      The game also hosts a varying amount of enemies both big and small, as well as using a range of tactics against you. For example drones are small and agile, they will jump down from ceilings and ambush you, or their are goliaths who use their brute strength and size to smash you into the wall.
      The storyline is relatively engaging, the characters have limited depth, but the game shows a willingness to bring something new to the table and for that im happy as it does play out well.

      ===Controls===
      The game uses the popular virtual joypad system, similar to that of Guerilla bob (please read review). This gives you the moving control on the left and shooting button on the right.
      To look around you must swipe your finger around the middle of the screen , this is horrible as when your in the middle of a firefight with numerous enemies the last thing you want is to have to put your finger over them, to look around and shoot them.
      In the top right is your weapons, to change between them swipe your finger left or right, and reload is done by tapping it. This works well and moves quite quickly.
      On the top left is a little hazard sign, pressing this uses some of your life to push the enemey forcibly back , buying you a few seconds to make a move. As well as this there are the pause button and mute.
      Centre of the screen is the health bar and a arrow pointing to your objective , these dont get in the way and come in handy.

      ===Gameplay===
      Movement is smooth and the pads very responsive to touch. The gun recoils on the screen but doesn't affect where your shooting, so there is no need to stop and re aim just hammer the fire button.
      Firefights are exciting and the enemy do have powerful guns so its good form to find cover, however the enemy has a strange spawn syste where a bright light will shine from a wall and more will charge towards you.
      Going through the game is a dream as you never feel whats happening is random and your always kept in knowledge about why whats happening is important to the story

      ===Graphics===
      Very good from the very first level, enviroments look alive and exciting. The tutorial level takes place in a forest, as you walk along you notice bords flying and little flys buzzing around. Trees and rockfaces are well designed and the ground good with a mixture of dirt and grass. The guns have a slightly cell shaded look, a little bit like crackdown ( if theres any xbox fans out there ).

      ===Sound===
      Gunfire is good but doesn't really resinate or hang around. The sound of the enviroment however is brilliant , an example from the forest again is the sound of a multitude of animals such as frogs and birds all making a racket.

      ===Multiplayer===
      Allows you to have a match against freinds and other users either localy or online (via bluetooth or wifi) , this is a wonderful thought however due to the lack of community using this feature it hasn't taken off the way the call of duty games have , playing against your freinds locally is your best bet.
      Me and a few freinds have tryed this before and it is very good with minimal lag. You can choose your characters design and their are 5 maps with options like aim assist , time limit etc. Its just a shame theirs not the online base.

      ===Achievements===
      A nice little feature to try and replicate console gameing , however only a small amount are available, but it shows promise. These are things such as certain number of kills , beating certain levels etc.

      ===Price/availability===
      £2.99 on the appstore

      ===Overall===
      N.O.V.A trys hard and is a step in the right direction , it shows the iphones capable of proper gaming.

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