Game Info:

Nova 111
Developed by: Funktronic Labs
Published by: Curve Digital
Release Date: August 25, 2015
Available on: PC, PS4, Vita, Wii U, Xbox One
Genre: Adventure
Number of Players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Price: $14.99

Thank you Curve Digital for sending us this game to review

Scientists have been stranded on several alien planets and it’s up to your piloting skills of the Nova 111 spaceship to rescue them all.  In the beginning the spaceship is relatively defenseless, but most planets have awesome upgrades waiting to be retrieved along with the scientists.  The upgrades include shield barriers, blasters, additional health bars, phase shifting, explosive plasma, the ability to stop time, and more!

Unfortunately, the scientists are not the only life forms on the planet and they are typically surrounded by hostile alien creatures.  Each alien has an attack pattern that you’ll have to learn and work around if you want to survive your rescue mission.  The basic attack maneuver is to bump into the aliens or rocks in your way.  Many aliens fight back pretty hard, but their attacks are usually avoidable. Unless they swarm you.  If they do, that’s where the plasma bombs come into play.

In order to survive you’ll have to pay attention to your environment and use it to your advantage.  There are many falling stalactites that do a lot of damage to your ship or to aliens pursuing you.  Try to make it the latter!   The visibility is limited as much of the map is only revealed as you trek through it.  You never know from where an alien will appear and some of them have long range attacks.

Nova 111

Strong Points: Fun sci-fi game that combines rogue-like combat with turn based and real time strategy elements
Weak Points: Not enough check points!
Moral Warnings: Spaceship violence

There’s plenty of variety when it comes to the aliens and their attack can hurt if you haven’t planned ahead.  Some of the aliens can grab your ship while others simply chomp or charge at it.  Some have projectiles that you have to dodge and avoid.  When you have many different types of aliens in close proximity, things can get pretty hairy.  Keep an eye out for an exit route at all times!

In the event of your ship’s demise, you will be teleported back to the most recent area.  Each planet or zone has several sections within it to complete it.  There are no checkpoints within the sections, but thankfully you don’t have to redo an entire zone if your ship gets demolished.

After a zone is completed you will be scored on your performance and given a letter grade depending on how many scientists were rescued and by how many steps were taken to do so.  I’m not going to lie; I’ve gotten a few 'F's.

Nova 111
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 84%
Gameplay - 17/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 5/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Despite me not being very good at this game, I still enjoyed playing it.  Every death was earned and I didn’t feel cheated. Since this is a single-player game, I couldn’t blame lag, just myself.  There’s a fair amount of gameplay and if you beat the main game, a new game+ gets unlocked.  PC users can make their own levels with the beta level editor, but the console versions don’t have that ability.

The console version is still fun and playing it on the go on my Vita was nice.  Even though you cannot compete directly against your friends, you can compare their scores to yours on the leaderboards.  

Aesthetically, this game is colorful and easy on the eyes.  There is plenty of level and enemy variety to keep things interesting.  When you rescue a scientist they’ll offer up some silly dialogue that often gets repeated.  Their spoofed names are entertaining though.

There isn’t any voice acting but the background music and sound effects are nice.  The soundtrack is available on Steam for $8.99 if you like it.  

Overall I was impressed with this quirky yet puzzling sci-fi strategy game.  It stumped me a few times, but I kept coming back to it.  Fans of puzzle and strategy games may want to check out this game in the name of Science!


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