Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (N.O.V.A) is a first person shooter for Android made by Gameloft. There’s not been many FPS’s on Android so far so I was eager to get my hands on one and see how it played and to my enjoyment, I was pleasantly surprised.
N.O.V.A is a sci-fi FPS in which you (N.O.V.A) need to fight the agressive aliens (Judges) to protect huge artificial satellites known as “near-orbitals” as Earth is no longer able to sustain life – sound interesting? not really and the story line isn’t really that engaging but it doesn’t matter one bit in this game.
The game plays absolutely brilliantly and Gameloft have done excellently to make this game control as well as it does. There are two options for controls – I will explain my preference which is the default. On the bottom left of the screen theres a virtual analogue stick which allows you to move around (forward, backwards etc). To look around and aim your gun you would use your second thumb placed anywhere above on the screen and to shoot there is a button on the bottom right. Whilst it may sound slightly odd at first, it is very comfortable and soon becomes very easy to play – for those that struggle with the aiming slightly you can turn aim assist on in the options menu. In addition the basic controls you can jump by pressing a button at the bottom right, you can change gun by swiping over it on the hud in the top right and just pressing the gun will reload. You can use grenades by pressing the grenade icon and there is a lightning bolt icon which allows you to stun enemies should you be having a tough time - this can only be used occasionally as it has a large reload time. The game really does control amazingly and I hope to see the same control scheme used in future mobile first person shooters.
The game sees you going through a variety of locations such as jungle and snow. The game’s graphics are great throughout with full 3d rendering and large expansive locations, the heads up display (HUD) looks great and the guns have a decent amount of detail – quite easily the best graphics that I have witnessed so far from an Android device with some impressive sound effects to match!
The main bulk of the game will come from the story mode. There are 13 levels in total all of which are quite varied and will take a considerable amount of time – especially if you want to complete it on the hardest difficulty. One of the less challenging parts of the game is navigation, there is an arrow present telling you where you need to go which I personally think makes the game flow better as there’s nothing worse than getting lost in a game and after all, in an FPS you want to be spending your time blowing things up instead of trying to find your way! The gun action is great, there’s 6 guns including a sniper rifle each of which will help you greatly on your adventure.
A great addition to NOVA and something we haven’t seen enough in Android games is that it features online multiplayer. To play online you’ll need to sign up to a Gameloft Live account which is free and only takes a few seconds, then you’ll find yourself online blowing up fellow players! Wi-fi is really required to make the online game playable but when playing on wi-fi it works great with no sign of lag at all. If you have friends that also own the game you can play local multiplayer over wi-fi which works just as well as the online game does.
Overall, this is probably the game with the highest production values you are likely to find on Android – it is more expensive than some (price varies on country) but the game is so good that it is worth paying for – you can even download a free trial at the link below. The game is pretty hard to fault, it would have perhaps been nice to have had a more engaging storyline but for a mobile game this is absolutely brilliant and hard to beat! Another slight downer is that you will need a next gen Android device to play this awesome game. The games are quite small in size initially but do download over 100mb’s of data on to your SD card.