Kal Wardin returns in the latest in Gameloft's N.O.V.A franchise as the evil Volterite hordes invade Earth and threaten humanity's return to its home planet after years of exile. What we have here is a bona-fide sci-fi FPS that begs one question: can a touchscreen-only device like the iPad really threaten more conventional gaming systems in this, the most hotly-contested of gaming genres?
From the word go, we found the controls tricky to master. In a nutshell, you control your character's orientation with the your right hand swiping the screen to shift your point of view, while your left hand controls movement via a virtual, console-style D-pad. We say the control method is tricky to master, but mastered it can be and within 10 minutes or so, you'll find you're noticeably more fleet of finger in the thick of the action.
Said action consists largely of combat set-pieces with physical/dexterity challenges and X number of Volterites to despatch before you can progress. Among your arsenal of weapons are an assault rifle, shotgun, pistol with new weapons like sniper rifles, RPGs and bazookas unlocked as you progress through the game. Alternatively, you can shortcut that process by spending real world money on extra firepower, although we’d advise against it.
Vehicles, too, are on the menu and Kal is routinely asked to take control of gun turrets or giant mechanoid robots to despatch his enemies. Mercifully, the control method is retained here, so you’re not forced to adapt to an entirely new system each time you use a new vehicle.
Alongside the storyline-driven, single-player campaign is a multiplayer option. You can either indulge in online battles with players from around the world, or set up your own local wi-fi multiplayer battle with a few friends within range or your wireless router. Be warned, though, the world of N.O.V.A 3 online multiplayer is a ruthless one, so make sure you’re very proficient in single player mode before you even think about going up against the web’s best.
N.O.V.A. 3 is one of the best examples of a mobile first-person shooter we’ve seen with slick graphics and plenty of longevity for the £4.99 asking price.
Amazing first-person shooter that showcases the iPad's skills as a 'proper' mobile gaming device