December 2009 Game of the Month: N.O.V.A.!

December was certainly a busy time, with the holidays coming and going and everyone celebrating the new year.  This didn’t mean game developers were resting though.  We saw quite a few high quality and impressive titles released during the last month of 2009.

The latest RPG from Com2uS came out, and Jeff recommended Inotia: A Wanderer of Luone as a must have title.  December also brought the release of other great titles like Labyrinth 2, Red Conquest, and Avatar.  The game that really blew away all of us here at No DPad though was N.O.V.A..  Gameloft first showed us that first person shooters were a viable genre through Modern Combat: Sandstorm.  Now, with the release of N.O.V.A., we’re convinced that the first person genre is alive and well on the iPhone.

Daniel: The first-person shooter was a genre that was doomed to fail on the iPhone with huge speculation if we’d see any FPS appearing on the platform. Of course, people have tried and failed due to control issues and large amounts of money needed to create an FPS. But when all hope seemed lost, Gameloft created N.O.V.A., an FPS that has since set the bar high for most gamers.  The game includes not only a campaign mode, but an extremely smooth online multiplayer game mode as well, a feature many of us were waiting to have.  And with graphics and design like this, N.O.V.A. rightly deserves our Game of the Month award for December.

Matt: First-person shooters are easily my least favorite of the popular gaming genres. Those FPS games I enjoy are few and far between. I’ve no grief towards FPS games; they’re just not what I go in for. But despite the number of other excellent titles released in December and my general lack of enthusiasm for the genre, even I must admit that N.O.V.A. is well-deserving of our GotM award. N.O.V.A. nails so many important components for iPhone gaming with excellent visuals, controls, action, multiplayer support and more. It’s a near perfect iPhone gaming experience. My only gripe is the same gripe I level against most Gameloft games, wishing the story were more original and the game less derivative of popular console titles; but that’s a minor complaint, considering the quality of the N.O.V.A. experience. Fans of Halo or Metroid Prime should definitely give NOVA a try, and if you own only one FPS for the iPhone, this is the one to have.

Aside from N.O.V.A., the titles that have most rocked my iPhone for December are Chronicles of Inotia: Wanderer of Luone, OMG Pirates! and Avatar.

Nick: After playing quite a few titles from December, I found myself consistently pulling out N.O.V.A. whenever I had some downtime.  There’s the inevitable comparisons to the Halo series as soon as you start playing, but I don’t see that as a negative when playing the game.  N.O.V.A. deserves the Game of the Month award because  it really helps to prove to iPhone gamers that an immersive first person shooter experience is possible on the iPhone.  While certain genres were an immediate fit on the platform (e.g. Tower Defense), the FPS genre has had to prove itself and N.O.V.A. does just that.  I’m looking forwards to seeing where the genre expands in 2010.

Ryan: The Game of the Month for December, N.O.V.A., stands well above the rest. This is quite an impressive feat for Gameloft especially considering how many apps were released in December. It seemed that every app developer was trying to get their games released in time for the holiday season shopping sprees. What Gameloft did remarkably well with N.O.V.A. is incorporate a fun, reliable multiplayer mode. I love first person shooters and have been dissapointed thus far by lack of multiplayer. Multiplayer is essential for the full first person shooter experience. Gameloft has delivered nothing but quality and hours of fun in N.O.V.A.. If you are a first person shooter fan, you won’t be dissapointed.

Jeff: December has been quite a hectic month, both for the season of giving and for the App Store. I can imagine all the gift-card shopping that parents have had to do, and with good reason – this month has been the biggest, most game-filled month of the entire year. Due to the insane amount of titles, it’s hard for me to make a choice, but after deliberating for quite a long time I have to go with N.O.V.A. Rarely has Gameloft disappointed me, but after the Modern Combat: Sandstorm fiasco I was quite skeptical about whatever multiplayer game they would release next. However, my fears turned out to be unjustified, as N.O.V.A.’s graphics, gameplay, and multiplayer features were astounding. Almost everything was perfect, down to the shine on the guns and other small details. On the other hand I’m not saying that other games weren’t good – some very nice alternatives would have been James Cameron’s Avatar, Inotia 2: A Wanderer of Luone, and Sword of Fargoal. Overall, all of the above titles are a worthy purchase, but N.O.V.A. was just something that I would never have dreamed possible on an iPhone or iPod Touch – it’s my vote for December’s Game of The Month.

Congratulations to N.O.V.A. and Gameloft for winning our last Game of the Month award for 2009.  We’ll have our Games of the Year post up shortly to share what kept us glued to our iPhones through 2009.

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