Nova Run is a game in the same frantic vein as Flight Control and Harbour Master with a whole bunch of completely own ideas. For one it is not a line drawing game. How you all ask can I state that it is in the same vein as Flight Control and Harbour Master that are the granddaddies of line drawing games? Well even if the controls aren’t the same I still get the same feeling, and it is time management with time you don’t have.
Nova Run tells the story of a star going super nova while two factions are competing for mining opportunities. Actually the story isn’t all that important other than setting the theme for the game in a sci-fi setting.
You control your ships by tapping them to stop, swiping backwards to make them go in reverse and tapping anywhere to use your EMP. The aim of the game is to make sure that your mining vessels travel across the screen without crashing or going off screen in the wrong direction. Your ship lights up when it is on collision course with another craft. It is important to remember that this always signals correctly, so trust the lights because if you don’t there will be a crash. It starts slowly just like the line drawing games tend to, and get really hectic once you have ten own ships and five enemy ships to keep track of.
At the top of the screen you can see your shield status, and EMP charge. When an enemy is near you can fire your EMP to obliterate them, and the more the merrier. Then you have to wait for quite some time while it recharges so use it at the most opportune moment. Your shields also recharge over time, but each time you smash one of your vessels you loose a hefty amount. When the shields are down the game is over.
The game progresses in levels, and you can unlock harder starting levels to avoid the slow startup of the game. This is a really cool feature that I have always felt lacking in most of the games of the same genre.
Graphics are sleek and polished with cool small explosions when you blast the enemies with the EMP. It is easy to tell your crafts apart from yours by both colour and design. The backgrounds have depth to them but I would also like some movement as well.
Sound effects are good, and the music is super bass heavy slow techno music that really gets me in the mood for some hectic planning. It tends to increase in intensity as you progress, which is also really good for the feel of the game. You can play your own music in conjunction with the sound effects.
Gamelife is enhanced by OpenFeint integration with loads of achievements and leaderboards. Twitter and Facebook integration is also there but I have not tried them out.
If you are looking for a gem in the fast-paced time management genre definitely give Nova Run a try. It is polished, addictive and has got the making of an iPhone classic. I hope this game gets the recognition it deserves even though many will think the name is a bit too close to the upcoming blockbuster game from Gameloft.
Nova Run $1.99
Seller: Scott Marsden