The last of the Gameloft previews from their Paris press event is the highly anticipated NOVA, a first person shooter which seems to combine quite a few gameplay elements of both the Halo and Metroid Prime game series. NOVA is set in the future, when the Earth has run out of resources and human civilization exists on what amounts to interstellar resource farms which are guarded by the Near Orbital Vanguard Alliance (or NOVA).

Screen shot 2009-12-01 at 1.42.38 AM

In the single player campaign, you play as an ex-marine named Karl Wardin living on a space colony far from Earth. You're called back in to service to report on some strange occurrences with a nearby lost ship. Needless to say, this isn't a routine reconnaissance mission and before long you will be blasting your way through a legion of angry aliens in your path throughout several different environments ranging from space ships, to underground, and even a lush jungle as seen in the hands-on video below.

The game consists of 10 levels across 5 unique environments, and along the way you will utilize an arsenal of 6 different weapons which cover all the first person shooter standards from the basic hand gun to sniper rifles, plasma guns, rocket launchers, and even grenades you can toss. There are two major boss fights in the single player campaign, one which is still a surprise and another that will pit you against a gigantic spider with secret weak spots that players must identify and shoot. The bosses are said to be absolutely massive, and a highlight of the game.

Here's a hands on video of the gameplay:

The damage system in NOVA works exactly like Halo, with an energy shield that absorbs damage then recharges over time. Metroid elements are tossed in with the addition of the special abilities you pick up along the way such as the ability to perform a melee strike, freeze enemies, or even get a brief burst of speed. Using these abilities drains your shield's power, so each of them must be used intelligently and in moderation to overcome obstacles and win battles.

NOVA was produced by the same people behind Gameloft's other recent first person shooter, Modern Combat: Sandstorm [$4.99 / Free] and while the touch controls were similar, NOVA is much more action oriented with emphasis on charging through the game and taking out enemies over finding cover and picking off bad guys from a distance. The pacing of the game is much faster, and much more intense with some monsters that will charge you and utilize special abilities such as grabbing and immobilizing you.

Like all Gameloft games, there is a great deal of effort put in to accessibility. The game not only will run across the entire iPhone and iPod touch product family, NOVA also comes with both an aim assist system and an arrow to guide you to your next objective. Both of these helper systems can be disabled if you want a more challenging gameplay experience.

NOVA isn't all about action though, there are also mini-games scattered throughout the game where you will need to solve puzzles to do things like hack computers or open hidden ammo crates. These puzzles involve moving around different mirrors and other reflectors on a grid to redirect a laser beam to hit one or more targets. This mini-game is also shown in the hands-on video.

Three difficulty modes are included, ranging from easy to difficult with the difficult mode locked by default. The single player campaign is said to be around the same length as Sandstorm, which took me 3-4 hours to complete. If you're looking for something to do following the completion of the single player mode, NOVA also will have four player online and local multiplayer over WiFi, or two player local multiplayer over bluetooth.

Multiplayer is deathmatch style, and is said to be both fast and intense with three included multiplayer arenas. Details are vague currently on how the online play is going to work, but presumably with how much emphasis Gameloft has put on Gameloft Live recently, that likely has something to do with how the online multiplayer system will work when finding and creating games.

That's all we know right now, as soon as we get more details on the game we will post more. As it stands, NOVA is due out before the holiday season, so we shouldn't have to wait too much longer to have the game in our hands.

  • Andi

    Wow.

    When?

    ;-)

    • KurtiBua

      Hopefully today!!!!! Right to the weekend sale

  • Andi

    Wow.

    When?

    ;-)

    • KurtiBua

      Hopefully today!!!!! Right to the weekend sale

  • Masmo

    Does Gameloft just reskin some of their games? NOVA = MC:S, Skater Nation = Gangstar

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Skater Nation uses an improved Gangstar engine. Nova uses an improved MC:S engine. As far as I know, that's how pretty every major developer operates; it's also how they keep these games at the under $10.00 price point.

  • fi2-shift

    ...10 levels??....... i thought they said "dozens" of levels...... o well.. at least we got online death-match like eliminate :D

  • Masmo

    Does Gameloft just reskin some of their games? NOVA = MC:S, Skater Nation = Gangstar

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      Skater Nation uses an improved Gangstar engine. Nova uses an improved MC:S engine. As far as I know, that's how pretty every major developer operates; it's also how they keep these games at the under $10.00 price point.

  • fi2-shift

    ...10 levels??....... i thought they said "dozens" of levels...... o well.. at least we got online death-match like eliminate :D

  • webster

    Found some more video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywhwogYppUA

  • webster

    Found some more video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ywhwogYppUA

  • Noman

    Yeah, ten levels is a bit dissapointing but the graphics look beatiful and the gameplay intense. Pray to the apple Gods that they will approve this quickly.

  • Noman

    Yeah, ten levels is a bit dissapointing but the graphics look beatiful and the gameplay intense. Pray to the apple Gods that they will approve this quickly.

  • efp1

    It's probably approved. Why else would all the tech sites release new gameplay videos and mini reviews? My guess is that it'll be out tonight or tomorrow, hopefully :)

    Online multiplayer! Goodbye Eliminate.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Everyone posted at the same time because we got previews of the game weeks ago and the embargo was up today. :)

      • efp1

        That's my logic. Since the embargo ended today, it might mean that the app has been approved and will be released soon. Here's hoping... :p

      • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

        I agree to an extent with efp1- If the NDA / embargo was lifted, I bet it is approved and this is a teaser salvo to get everyone interested. Most likely they will follow it up with a release on Friday, so they can collect on the extra weekend sales too :)

      • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

        If it got approved (and Gameloft knows about it), then it would already be available in the App Store. That is, unless big game developers are somehow treated differently.

      • Sticktron

        The guy in the video playing obviuosly doesn't know how to work the swipe-to-aim controls. Turn up your sensitivity and whip that finger around boy!

  • efp1

    It's probably approved. Why else would all the tech sites release new gameplay videos and mini reviews? My guess is that it'll be out tonight or tomorrow, hopefully :)

    Online multiplayer! Goodbye Eliminate.

    • Eli Hodapp

      Everyone posted at the same time because we got previews of the game weeks ago and the embargo was up today. :)

      • efp1

        That's my logic. Since the embargo ended today, it might mean that the app has been approved and will be released soon. Here's hoping... :p

      • http://www.ChronoSoft.com CommanderData

        I agree to an extent with efp1- If the NDA / embargo was lifted, I bet it is approved and this is a teaser salvo to get everyone interested. Most likely they will follow it up with a release on Friday, so they can collect on the extra weekend sales too :)

      • http://www.mentation.nl/thanatist/ Thaurin

        If it got approved (and Gameloft knows about it), then it would already be available in the App Store. That is, unless big game developers are somehow treated differently.

      • Sticktron

        The guy in the video playing obviuosly doesn't know how to work the swipe-to-aim controls. Turn up your sensitivity and whip that finger around boy!

  • Jaime

    Only 4 player deathmatch? That comes as a blow to me

    • LBG

      Well at least you won't have to pay for it........

      Hopefully the online mp update for MC: Sandstorm will have team death matches of more than 4 people. They have been 'working' on that update for a long time now.

      • Eli Hodapp

        If NOVA is built using a similar engine to Sandstorm and it's only 4 players, there's not much reason as all to think that Sandstorm will be any different.

  • Jaime

    Only 4 player deathmatch? That comes as a blow to me

    • LBG

      Well at least you won't have to pay for it........

      Hopefully the online mp update for MC: Sandstorm will have team death matches of more than 4 people. They have been 'working' on that update for a long time now.

      • Eli Hodapp

        If NOVA is built using a similar engine to Sandstorm and it's only 4 players, there's not much reason as all to think that Sandstorm will be any different.

  • http://www.fsdreamteam.com frank

    harg!!! i need eliminate controls! :-(

    • LBG

      MC: Sandstorm/NOVA controls are the best control method for FPS games on the platform IMO. Eliminate controls aren't as good.

      • Skavinger

        I agree, eliminate controls are wonky and unresponsive.

      • FABiAN201

        speaking of controls i hope before NOVA is released gameloft will add zoom aiming like MC:S instead of only firing from the hip

  • http://www.fsdreamteam.com frank

    harg!!! i need eliminate controls! :-(

    • LBG

      MC: Sandstorm/NOVA controls are the best control method for FPS games on the platform IMO. Eliminate controls aren't as good.

      • Skavinger

        I agree, eliminate controls are wonky and unresponsive.

      • FABiAN201

        speaking of controls i hope before NOVA is released gameloft will add zoom aiming like MC:S instead of only firing from the hip

  • http://musicgamespickles.blogspot.com/ Robert M.

    I want to say something about Halo but then it would seem like I'm trolling...

    Anyway it looks great and will more then likely be the best fps on the platform. So good job Gameloft!

  • http://musicgamespickles.blogspot.com/ Robert M.

    I want to say something about Halo but then it would seem like I'm trolling...

    Anyway it looks great and will more then likely be the best fps on the platform. So good job Gameloft!

  • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

    Sound and music in the video are sooooo impressive. Love the atmosphere!
    As a sci-fi-guy, this will be MY game! :)

  • http://www.yourpersonalrobot.com your personal robot

    Sound and music in the video are sooooo impressive. Love the atmosphere!
    As a sci-fi-guy, this will be MY game! :)

  • Rasmus

    Looks absolutely amazing. This is definitely an instant purchase. Hope they release it at $4.99.

  • Rasmus

    Looks absolutely amazing. This is definitely an instant purchase. Hope they release it at $4.99.

  • Vicente Ragal

    Online multiplayer? Seriously? This game is gonna kickass in a bad way!

  • Vicente Ragal

    Online multiplayer? Seriously? This game is gonna kickass in a bad way!

  • Kia

    While it looks damn pretty, you lost me at "space marine."

  • Kia

    While it looks damn pretty, you lost me at "space marine."

  • Cameron

    The multiplayer won't have any ranks, unlocks or progression of any kind, so while I still might get this for the single-player, I doubt the multiplayer will pull me away from Eliminate.

  • Cameron

    The multiplayer won't have any ranks, unlocks or progression of any kind, so while I still might get this for the single-player, I doubt the multiplayer will pull me away from Eliminate.

  • Diablohead

    Only played the demo for gameloft's warfare game but this looks like another step up for the visuals, especially if it's running on all devices. Will have to buy this at launch.

  • Diablohead

    Only played the demo for gameloft's warfare game but this looks like another step up for the visuals, especially if it's running on all devices. Will have to buy this at launch.

  • benj

    yowzers, will be buying as soon as it's available.

    having never owned an xbox i won't be bothered how similar to halo it might be :P

  • benj

    yowzers, will be buying as soon as it's available.

    having never owned an xbox i won't be bothered how similar to halo it might be :P

  • dumas1000

    They went from claiming that dozens of levels were planned to delivering only 10, and in the process giving us a game that is as typically as the majority of Gameloft's previous efforts. That is a dissapointment.

    This article seems to suggest that NOVA multi will work only on wi-fi and not when connected to the 3g network, which is typical of Gameloft's past online efforts as well. If it's wi-fi only, I will play it less, obviously, since I have a 360 at home. But why can't you expand to 8-players, if it's wi-fi only? Limiting it to 4-players is something you do to try and stabilize 3g play, which this game won't have.

    • http://www.ekindesigns.com Jeff Broderick

      Or...for performance?

    • http://www.stormchild.net Stormchild

      No, it's also something you do for performance reasons, like when your game is running on a system with a lightweight ARM processor and a tiny amount of RAM. The limitation seems perfectly reasonable to me, considering the hardware it runs on.

  • dumas1000

    They went from claiming that dozens of levels were planned to delivering only 10, and in the process giving us a game that is as typically as the majority of Gameloft's previous efforts. That is a dissapointment.

    This article seems to suggest that NOVA multi will work only on wi-fi and not when connected to the 3g network, which is typical of Gameloft's past online efforts as well. If it's wi-fi only, I will play it less, obviously, since I have a 360 at home. But why can't you expand to 8-players, if it's wi-fi only? Limiting it to 4-players is something you do to try and stabilize 3g play, which this game won't have.

    • http://www.ekindesigns.com Jeff Broderick

      Or...for performance?

    • http://www.stormchild.net Stormchild

      No, it's also something you do for performance reasons, like when your game is running on a system with a lightweight ARM processor and a tiny amount of RAM. The limitation seems perfectly reasonable to me, considering the hardware it runs on.

  • jason

    where is multiplayer?

  • jason

    online AND local, quit worrying.. but show it..

  • jason

    where is multiplayer?

  • jason

    online AND local, quit worrying.. but show it..

  • LBG

    Hey, Hodapp.
    You may want to mention in this article something about there being deathmatch AND Team Deathmatch game modes (mentioned in Pocket Gamer's hands-one).

  • LBG

    Hey, Hodapp.
    You may want to mention in this article something about there being deathmatch AND Team Deathmatch game modes (mentioned in Pocket Gamer's hands-one).

  • RefuX

    I wonder if the engine utilizes the OpenGL ES 2.0 on the newer iPhones and Touches...

    • Mr Slinky Spring

      Seconded...

  • RefuX

    I wonder if the engine utilizes the OpenGL ES 2.0 on the newer iPhones and Touches...

    • Mr Slinky Spring

      Seconded...

  • RamuChano

    Blimey, even the music and sound effects are carbon copies of Halo.

    Bungie/Microsoft, start your lawyers.

  • RamuChano

    Blimey, even the music and sound effects are carbon copies of Halo.

    Bungie/Microsoft, start your lawyers.

  • RawrReptar

    i have no problem with copying halo aspects but man lol even the monsters chatter sounds very much the same. Looks awesome though two thumbs up

  • RawrReptar

    i have no problem with copying halo aspects but man lol even the monsters chatter sounds very much the same. Looks awesome though two thumbs up

  • Mr Slinky Spring
  • Mr Slinky Spring
  • http://Inginious.BlogSpot.com Inginious

    Finally a good sci-fi game, I can't wait for this game. I hope the story is good. I love a good sci-fi story. What gets me excited are the massive boss battles. I hope this means that you will experience some sort of scale similar to Monster Hunter for the PSP or Lost Planet for the XBOX. AWESOME!!!

  • http://Inginious.BlogSpot.com Inginious

    Finally a good sci-fi game, I can't wait for this game. I hope the story is good. I love a good sci-fi story. What gets me excited are the massive boss battles. I hope this means that you will experience some sort of scale similar to Monster Hunter for the PSP or Lost Planet for the XBOX. AWESOME!!!

  • 5duc29

    I hope the story is good. Modern Combat's story and dialogue through me off, and the long repetitive game play too. The controls are really good so I would bet that this is too.

    This is will in my list of what to get, second to Assassin's Creed 2 if it ever comes out.

    • 5duc29

      Music is the game sounds so similar to Terminator...

  • 5duc29

    I hope the story is good. Modern Combat's story and dialogue through me off, and the long repetitive game play too. The controls are really good so I would bet that this is too.

    This is will in my list of what to get, second to Assassin's Creed 2 if it ever comes out.

    • 5duc29

      Music is the game sounds so similar to Terminator...

  • http://www.stormchild.net Stormchild

    The graphics are impressive, for sure, but this looks like an absolute chore to play with all that swiping to aim/turn.

    IMO, this type of game is just not very well suited to the iPhone platform. A lot of people are playing FPS games on consoles now, and perhaps those people will like NOVA, since they're already used to terrible controls and don't know any better. But I don't think anyone who has played a real FPS game with a mouse & keyboard would ever enjoy something like this.

    • http://www.haiku-os.org nutela

      Well I guess you can crank up the sensitivity?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      I agree that mouse and keyboard is the ideal input for FPS games. Still, I enjoyed MC:S (for the most part), Eliminate (for the most part, though I don't play often), and CoD: Zombies (hell yeah). From what I've seen so far, I'll probably enjoy this as well.

      I'll tell you something else I enjoy: not carrying a laptop and mouse in my pocket.

  • http://www.stormchild.net Stormchild

    The graphics are impressive, for sure, but this looks like an absolute chore to play with all that swiping to aim/turn.

    IMO, this type of game is just not very well suited to the iPhone platform. A lot of people are playing FPS games on consoles now, and perhaps those people will like NOVA, since they're already used to terrible controls and don't know any better. But I don't think anyone who has played a real FPS game with a mouse & keyboard would ever enjoy something like this.

    • http://www.haiku-os.org nutela

      Well I guess you can crank up the sensitivity?

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      I agree that mouse and keyboard is the ideal input for FPS games. Still, I enjoyed MC:S (for the most part), Eliminate (for the most part, though I don't play often), and CoD: Zombies (hell yeah). From what I've seen so far, I'll probably enjoy this as well.

      I'll tell you something else I enjoy: not carrying a laptop and mouse in my pocket.

  • http://touchreviews.tk Fleabag323

    You said 3 multiplayer maps, IGN says 5. :/ I trust you more. :P

  • http://touchreviews.tk Fleabag323

    You said 3 multiplayer maps, IGN says 5. :/ I trust you more. :P

  • Arta

    I'm surprised at how well done the music is.

  • Arta

    I'm surprised at how well done the music is.

  • patrick

    really?
    ... you're comparing the control mechanism of an iphone to a console?
    how about how the control scheme compares to others?
    it copies the McS control system, which when it came out was touted as the "most accurate FPS control system on the iphone"
    and they're right! it controls fantastic compared to the horribly inaccurate Nazi Zombies disaster. as for the simarilarities to halo, that's the main appeal of the game to me. They delivered a FPS experience that seems on par with the original halo. perhaps not in story, but in gameplay and nearly in graphics.
    get the other systems out of your head, and appreciate this game for what it is. a marvel of portable gaming with multiplayer an expansive campaign, and a fantastic engine and control scheme.

    thank you gameloft, just keep up the steadily improving games.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      You had me till you called the CoD:Zombies controls a disaster. They work quite well for me and many others.

      • patrick

        given, the cod game is great and a fantastically faithful port, however i found the controls and gameplay sluggish even on the new iphone 3gs, while increasing the sensitivity did allow the game to become playable, i found i could never turn or aim with the speed, ease and precision of eliminate and MC:S and from what i saw of other people's videos online this remains true for others as well. the sluggish aiming and movement slows down the game, which in turn damages the mood achieved in the original version. on these issues, nova looks to be just as accurate and sensitive than its gameloft predecessors.

  • patrick

    really?
    ... you're comparing the control mechanism of an iphone to a console?
    how about how the control scheme compares to others?
    it copies the McS control system, which when it came out was touted as the "most accurate FPS control system on the iphone"
    and they're right! it controls fantastic compared to the horribly inaccurate Nazi Zombies disaster. as for the simarilarities to halo, that's the main appeal of the game to me. They delivered a FPS experience that seems on par with the original halo. perhaps not in story, but in gameplay and nearly in graphics.
    get the other systems out of your head, and appreciate this game for what it is. a marvel of portable gaming with multiplayer an expansive campaign, and a fantastic engine and control scheme.

    thank you gameloft, just keep up the steadily improving games.

    • http://www.squarezerostudio.com squarezero

      You had me till you called the CoD:Zombies controls a disaster. They work quite well for me and many others.

      • patrick

        given, the cod game is great and a fantastically faithful port, however i found the controls and gameplay sluggish even on the new iphone 3gs, while increasing the sensitivity did allow the game to become playable, i found i could never turn or aim with the speed, ease and precision of eliminate and MC:S and from what i saw of other people's videos online this remains true for others as well. the sluggish aiming and movement slows down the game, which in turn damages the mood achieved in the original version. on these issues, nova looks to be just as accurate and sensitive than its gameloft predecessors.

  • SickOfSects

    Is global multiplayer PROMISED in the first release version? It's really all about how good the multiplayer is (as good or better than Eliminate?), otherwise it would just be a glorified (and faster) MC:S.

  • SickOfSects

    Is global multiplayer PROMISED in the first release version? It's really all about how good the multiplayer is (as good or better than Eliminate?), otherwise it would just be a glorified (and faster) MC:S.

  • http://bartig.posterous.com Bartig

    Yes, it's a blatant copy of Halo alright, but it's a copy of the FIRST Halo. The one pure in style, surroundings and music. Therefore I'm about to reward Gameloft this time... the first Halo is my favourite game of all-time.

  • http://bartig.posterous.com Bartig

    Yes, it's a blatant copy of Halo alright, but it's a copy of the FIRST Halo. The one pure in style, surroundings and music. Therefore I'm about to reward Gameloft this time... the first Halo is my favourite game of all-time.

  • http://www.petersonstudios.net CaptainPixel

    Sure it's visually similar to Halo, but as far as story goes it seems like it's just as far from Halo as any other "space marine shoots aliens" game out on the market. I don't think I need to mention that Halo wasn't the first game to ever use that premise either.

    As far as the level count and multiplayer, yadda yadda yadda, for the amount of assets and polygons a game like this uses those are all perfectly reasonable considering the platform. Remember this isn't for the PSP or DS it's for a phone. If it were any larger you'd either run into performance issues, long load times, or a large install size.

    Lastly when Gameloft said "dozens of levels" they could have been padding their numbers to generate hype. I know from inside experience that even top titles for nextgen systems do that. OR it's possible that they're planning on releasing expansions to keep people interested over time and that they have additional levels not in the launch release.

    I'm excited for it. I'll buy it and play it. I'll save my judgments about it until then.

  • http://www.petersonstudios.net CaptainPixel

    Sure it's visually similar to Halo, but as far as story goes it seems like it's just as far from Halo as any other "space marine shoots aliens" game out on the market. I don't think I need to mention that Halo wasn't the first game to ever use that premise either.

    As far as the level count and multiplayer, yadda yadda yadda, for the amount of assets and polygons a game like this uses those are all perfectly reasonable considering the platform. Remember this isn't for the PSP or DS it's for a phone. If it were any larger you'd either run into performance issues, long load times, or a large install size.

    Lastly when Gameloft said "dozens of levels" they could have been padding their numbers to generate hype. I know from inside experience that even top titles for nextgen systems do that. OR it's possible that they're planning on releasing expansions to keep people interested over time and that they have additional levels not in the launch release.

    I'm excited for it. I'll buy it and play it. I'll save my judgments about it until then.

  • Genesisco Kid

    After all the input I've read through... I don't think I saw anyone mention co-op play. Maybe it's covered in a line of review I overlooked? If not, any word on local/global, WiFi/3G co-op play?

  • Genesisco Kid

    After all the input I've read through... I don't think I saw anyone mention co-op play. Maybe it's covered in a line of review I overlooked? If not, any word on local/global, WiFi/3G co-op play?

  • Tyler

    7$?!?!

  • Tyler

    7$?!?!