Ever since the demonstration of the iPhone 4 at the WWDC keynote, the far and away most talked about feature has been the stunning Retina Display. When the iPhone 4 finally released, some developers took the opportunity to update their existing games to harness the power of the eyeball burning high resolution. Previously, we've covered games that have added retina support including Real Racing, Flight Control, Archetype, Sword of Fargoal, Jet Car Stunts, Zen Bound 2, and a host of games from Pangea Software. Well it's time to add another to the list as Gameloft's Halo inspired first-person shooter N.O.V.A. has been given the Retina Display treatment as well, along with support for the iPhone 4's gyroscope.

N.O.V.A. wasn't a bad looking game to begin with, but with this latest update it's hard to believe that I ever thought so. Gone are the many jagged edges that are rife within the game, replaced with silky smooth graphical models that can only be possible with the four times as many pixels on the iPhone 4 display. The game literally pops of the screen now (although the voice acting remains comically terrible). I could go on about the enhanced visual clarity of N.O.V.A., but these comparison screens tell the story better than I ever could:

Perhaps an even more intriguing addition to N.O.V.A. is support for the iPhone 4's gyroscope. The gyroscope must be enabled when starting a new game or from the control options, and is actually a combination of screen swiping and movement. Swiping still moves your aim in an extreme manner, so you still pretty much move and turn the same throughout the game. But the gyroscope offers refined accuracy within your current view (unless you are moving your entire body around, in which case your entire view changes with you), and it works beautifully. It can be a little disorienting to get used to at first, but one you do you'll never want to play an FPS game any other way, and this is coming from someone that typically hates tilt-to-aim in FPS games. This slightly cheesy video demonstrates the new controls:

The touch and gyro combination just sings, and makes N.O.V.A. feel like a whole new experience. The new updated graphics are gorgeous, and still impress even for a seven month old game. And there's the always handy iOS4 fast app switching thrown in this update for good measure. Needless to say, if you're an iPhone 4 owner with a copy of N.O.V.A., don't hesitate to grab this latest update and play through one of the better iPhone FPS games all over again.

  • cjelly

    Umm... so why didn't they make the HUD higher res at the same time?

    Looks awful.

  • chris

    have they fixed the cheating for online play with this update?

  • http://mayblogmaynot.blogspot.com Maniacfive

    Really impressed with the N.O.V.A. Update, I have been playing the game again just because of this update. Gotta hand it to Gameloft for releasing this as an update, and not a new iPhone 4 app we'd have to buy again. (looking at you EA.) The gyro controls are great for the little aiming movements and work well with the swipe to look controls already there.

    All it needs though is a way to re-centre the gyro. Unless I'm missing that feature. I sometimes find myself holding the phone in a awkward way as the gyro has gotten confused. Gameloft definitely needs to steal that feature from eliminate: gun range.

  • nOsh

    no one tried this yet ?
    I'm looking forward to seeing other comments about this.

  • AlanCart

    i noticed that a full 360º turn is not a 360º turn in the game :S odd. maybe they do this so you dont have to keep spinning and spinning. anyway its lots of fun to play, especially in a chair that turns hahaha

  • http://theirongeek.com F0REM4N

    This is by far the most impressive update to any game so far. The improved graphics are AMAZING! Shockingly good. I don't knwo how to rate it, somewhere below 360 and PS3 looks, but simply stunning. You will have sort of an awe struck moment ofr quit a while.

    The gyroscope control sound gimmicky. I figured I would try it and switch back to normal. Was I wrong. It is combined with standard touch controls so you can use it when fine aiming, but still you touch for those big turns. It give the game a "virtual reality" feel and is also a stunning addition.

    I tried to play this game before and was bored byt the end of the training level, last night I ripped off the first 3 stages and was just enthralled. This is the best point I can make. The game went from blah to Bam!

    If you own an iPhone 4, please do yourself a favor and give this game a spin. It is nto only a fun play through, it will also get you VERY excited for the potential of games on your pocket computer.

  • Mr Slinky Spring

    So why didn't 3GS owners get any NOVA loving? Gameloft you could have at least thrown in some anti-aliasing or something. Cheers.

  • http://doesnothaveoneyet ultimo

    Gyro is Gr8 for gaming.... only in a room that you are alone

    • Peter Sampsonite

      I doubt anyone alone with an iPhone 4 is using that hi-res screen for gaming...

      • Audi


  • JCKarlo

    There seems to be a major bug with the update affecting some users (reading some reviews on the app store), rendering the game completely unplayable. The analog stick and fire button are missing, therefore I cannot move or shoot...just aim. I restarted the device, but no luck.

  • boby

    The gyroscope is not working on my iPhone 4. How do you activate it?

  • ig285

    Does anyone know if this update screws up the gameplay on 1st Gen. iPod Touches?

  • Helmacc

    It's about time gameloft add some sort of usable control other than garbage touch only. Now the game is very playable. Only wished they coupled gyro with accelerometer so I would not have to stand all the time. Yes I know you can touch the screen to look around, but it's just way better tilting.

  • Dimitris

    The game looks fantastic.
    We finally got to the psp area.
    And that's a good thing.

  • buckwilde

    Hi! For anyone having problems with your d-pad and fire buttons disappearing when you select gyro controls, just pause the game, go to Controls -> Customize Interface and press "Reset". Your d-pad and fire button should reappear and you can play with gyro control goodness.


  • Mr Slinky Spring

    Bullshit Gameloft, why have 3GS owners been ignored?

  • SlickNinja

    I tried N.O.V.A. on my 3G but it just sucked too much. I wanted to play it but it seemed to be reserved for the 3GSers. Now that I have an iPhone 4, I'm buying it.

    • Flacofromny

      That's not true at all. I got the game day one when it came out. I had the 3G and the game was super great nothing to envy a psp game n now for the iPhone 4 update. The psp should envy us iPhone users

  • Caleb

    Why can you not invert the X axis? For some reason the Gyroscope movement seems to be backwards of what would be natural to me. I see an option to invert the Y axis in the controls interface but nothing for the X?

  • Jake

    Would be nice if they would release an update to the free version for those of us who bought the *full* game through the in app update in there 😛

    Does anyone known if you purchased the in app upgrade full version if you can download the full version directly without being charged again?

  • shu


  • Brian

    I played this on the 3GS and got bored after a few levels, but I'm definitely excited to try this on an iPhone 4. Agree, the video is a bit cheesy. Not sure I'd want to play the game in public, but it could be funny among friends.

    @jake I think you'll be charged, since it's considered a different app.