Science is awesome. The pursuit of knowledge and expanding our understanding has been key to the majority of our progress. Sometimes, that thirst for knowledge can lead to some serious risks being taken, and with the benefit of hindsight the technicians in the Nova-111 universe probably wished that they had been a little more careful.
Whilst conducting “the Universe’s Greatest Science Experiment”, a temporal vortex was created resulting in not only the loss of all scientists involved but also the merging of turn-based and real time worlds. It’s down to you to explore alien environments and combat fiendish enemies, but you will also be tasked with locating the missing scientists and fixing the damage caused along the way!
I was able to experience Nova-111 recently during a presentation at Curve Digital’s London studio. Described as a mash-up of real time and turn-based gameplay, you control the eponymous spacecraft across multiple worlds and approximately five hours of gameplay. The turn-based element is actually determined as a move, with your craft able to move around the environment in a grid like manner and each step actually counts as a turn, with the hazards in your environment reacting accordingly.
As you explore, you will open up more of your surroundings, which are obscured from view initially similar to fog of war. Although many of the early enemies you encounter will only react to you as you manoeuvre around the screen, there are many other dangers within the world which have to be taken into account as these take effect to your presence and play out in real time, so often sitting around may not be the best course of action.
From the hour or so I spent with the game I was able to experience the first few levels, which also showed off some of the abilities that you can utilise. The first upgrade I was able to use was the laser, which as well as opening up new paths in levels also makes shorter work of the creatures you face. The catch is that your special abilities can only be used a certain amount of times before needing to recharge, which thankfully is charged by using turns, unlike health which requires pick ups. Other power ups you can expect to experience include teleporting through vines, bombs, the ability to temporarily freeze time and much more.
As you progress through the game and unlock more abilities, the level of challenge and puzzles greatly increase, really pushing what you have learned as well as a progression towards a more real-time experience in later missions.
This is the debut title from Funktronic Labs, and I really did enjoy the short amount of time I played the game. I’ve always been more of a turn-based strategy fan as opposed to real-time, but I thought that Nova-111 was a clever take on the genre. It’s very vibrant and colourful, manages to convey the science fiction feel incredibly well, and had some great music and effects to enhance that atmosphere.
The game has a narrator which explains a little about the along your journey, as well as occasionally making some amusing anecdotes – but for the most part I did feel it was slightly out of place in an otherwise polished package.
For those that love a challenge the game will feature two leaderboards, one for normal play measuring time, and one for those that really want to push their skills and put the pressure on the amount of moves that they can use! With some clever puzzles and great enemies (including bosses!) this is definitely a game that puzzle and strategy fans will want to see more of.
Nova-111 launches on the Vita on August 25th and we will bring you a review very soon. We will also have an interview with Eddie Lee – co-founder of Funktronic Labs – in Issue 5 of The Vita Lounge Magazine!
Have you been following Nova-111’s progress, or are you looking for a new strategy game? We might have just the one for you very soon.