[Game Review] N.O.V.A. (iPhone)

System: iPhone
First Person Shooter

A lot of people have been said the iPhone would be a pitiful replacement for mobile gaming, they say. Touch interface alone cannot stand with the contending champs such as the DS or the PSP, they say. Well, Gameloft is here to prove whoever “they” may be wrong. N.O.V.A. was actually a well-hyped game for the iPhone leaving expectations quite high, but thankfully, N.O.V.A. lives up to every bit of it.

The story is pretty standard for a futuristic shooter. Your an ex-military soldier who gets drafted back into the fight to take care of some invading aliens. You follow the orders of an A.I. reminiscent of Cortana in Halo. You also have a suit kind of like the Mjolner armor. I feel like I know where some of the inspiration came from.

As far as gameplay goes, it will make you shit your pants to know this game came from the iPhone. The number one thing I noticed is the game runs smoothly on the 3G so I really would like to get my hands on a 3GS and play it. The graphics are superb, kind of on par with a super Nintendo maybe even a PlayStation. The environment is pretty damn detailed for a game of this caliber.

The interface is quite interesting. There is an analog on the bottom left for moving and a red circle on the right for shooting, while the whole screen can be used for looking around. The system works really well once you get used to it. Your shields are at the top of the screen and there’s a nifty weapon icon that if you swipe it, it changes the weapon, and if you press it you will reload your current weapon.

In the options menu you have the choice of moving around all these interactive buttons and joysticks to where you want them (some inspiration from the conduit I assume). One thing I should also mention is that the game has a full soundtrack as well for different situations, such as if calm music if your by yourself and aggressive music if your in a firefight. Each of the weapons have unique sounds and reloading animations.

Some interesting additions include mini-games such as hacking into boxes. You can also use the mounted weapon on a truck. An enemy A.I. that resembles a Brute in Halo can pick you up and you have to shoot it with your pistol. Turrets can pop up and attack you. Enemies fall out of vents in the ceilings. All these little additions in the game made me feel like I wasn’t playing just an iPhone while I was on the can, I felt like I was playing a real system.

There is also an online component. You need to be connected to wi-fi but the system works pretty well for a 4v4. There was generally no lag and the gameplay was pretty fun.

Final Words:

I consider N.O.V.A. one of those games that will put the iPhone on the map as a legitimate gaming system, along with GTA: Chinatown Wars, Red Alert, and Sim City. The iPhone will eventually be praised as a contender in the mobile games market with more games like this coming out. Great visuals and great design an innovation gives you gold and Gameloft proves it.


  • Great Graphics
  • Great innovation
  • Runs Smooth as hell
  • Only 6.99 for a full game
  • Controls well


  • Still a mobile game
  • Has an ending
  • Cliche story

Score: 8.0/10

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