Back in the early days of the App Store, Gameloft became known as the folks who would bring “highly inspired" versions of popular console and PC games to mobile. Gangstar was their take on Grand Theft Auto, Modern Combat was their take on Call of Duty, Brothers in Arms was their Medal of Honor, Order & Chaos was their World of Warcraft, Dungeon Hunter was their Diablo, and… well, you get the picture. Love or hate the idea of a company aping popular titles like that, you had to hand it to Gameloft for being one of the only companies back then bringing those fuller gaming experiences to the mobile platform. One of my favorite of the Gameloft derivatives was the N.O.V.A. series, which originally aped Halo pretty hard but by the third release felt much more inspired by Crytek’s Crysis series. Basically, a sci-fi first-person shooter, and a pretty fun one to boot.
Of course, the world of the App Store has shifted heavily towards free to play over the years, and Gameloft found themselves in a position to change with the times or go down on the sinking premium ship. Many of their popular game series switched to the free to play model, for better or worse. Just over a year ago, they did something sort of unusual. They revamped the original N.O.V.A. into a new free to play version called N.O.V.A. Legacy with improved visuals, some new modes, and all the virtual currency, energy timers, and weapon upgrading systems you could imagine. Strangely this special new free version of the game was only released for Android at the time, but now here we are a year later and N.O.V.A. Legacy (Free) has also just launched on the iOS App Store.
Truth be told, this game is still darn fun. I have such fond memories of playing the original N.O.V.A. back in the day that’s it’s actually been a blast revisiting everything through N.O.V.A. Legacy. The free to play stuff is there, sure, but it doesn’t seem to be as invasive as in some free to play games. My one major complaint is that despite the screenshots in the App Store being iPhone X optimized, the game itself is not, and it’s a real pain in the ass playing a dual-stick game with big black borders on the sides where your thumbs can easily slip off the active part of the screen. I’m hoping this might just be an error that can be fixed in a quick update, but I’m also not holding my breath for an old game like this getting support for Apple’s newest iPhone. Still, if you missed out on N.O.V.A. back in the day and are curious what it was all about, you now have a way to play it totally for free with N.O.V.A. Legacy.