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What's it all about?
When a gamer first lays eyes on NOVA, they will almost certainly draw quite a few parallels to the Halo franchise. And, while it's true that NOVA does have a very space-marine killing aliens feel to it, the game can still stand on its own merits as a quality title. While not selling at the rate of Doodle Jump or Angry Birds, this is likely due to the price ($5, with occasional sales).
NOVA for iPhone puts you in the shoes (or epic marine space boots) of a veteran soldier in the not-so-distant future where space aliens have threatened Earth's very existence. You'll battle the alien race referred to as "xenos"on both the homefront of earth and the alien's home planet. Along your way, and through the course of battle you'll encounter a bunch of different enemy types, and an equally large number of weapons with which to viciously dispatch them. Some of these enemies are smarter than others, and some use cover and rather advanced tactics when taking you on.
There is a tutorial level to warm you up and once you get a handle on the controls it becomes surprisingly easy to pick off foes from afar and deal with pretty much anything you could with a control stick in your hand. There are multiple configuration options for these controls so if the default setup doesn't work right for you be sure to browse a bit and find the one that's right for you.
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Graphics, Sound and Verdict
NOVA for iPhone proves that there can be in depth first-person shooters done on Apple's handheld wonder. The game's visuals are a triumph on their own, and the large outdoor environments that you'll fight through on the different planets look better than most Wii games. Your large arsenal of firepower looks great in first-person mode and all the weapons feature realistic (for the future) effects such as barrel flaring and discharging of empty rounds.
The game's audio design is handled equally well. Weapons sound realistic, enemies yell out battle cries and death moans as you dispatch them. The outdoor environments sound respectable, and the light soundtrack adds just the right amount of sci-fi epicness to the game.
NOVA is one of the most easily recommended games for the iPhone. It sports a solid storyline, great audio, and ridiculously gorgeous graphics (this is on a phone?). But NOVA is even more than that, it's a triumph in the mobile games arena. To create a game that people will make time in their day to play, and then to be able to squeeze it into the most mobile of all gaming platforms is quite an achievement.
Shortly after the release of the iPad, an HD version of NOVA was also released. Also, NOVA is always one of the first games to be updated with almost any kind of new technology that the iPhone is introduced to, so you know that it will always be a solid investment and stay relevant for a long time to come.