четвъртък, 22 октомври 2015 г.

Nova - 111 - Turn by turn it turned out to be great

During The Greatest Science Experiment which tried to unlock "real-time" something went wrong...the laboratory is destroyed, the scientists are scattered through the worlds. You have to find them!

In Nova - 111 you will fly your strange orange ship through quirky worlds where you will solve puzzles, defeat bizarre creatures and save scientists. The game is by Funktronic Labs and hit the market at 28.08.2015.

Nova - 111 was something that I barely remember hearing about from PAX-East 2014. The game actually has made a real buzz around it, impressing pretty much everybody who tried it. Now it is officially out and after I gave it a try, let us see what it is about.

I'm Dr. Science...

In the game you will pilot Nova, your orange ship and you will be moving around in a grid. Yes, Nova - 111 is a turn based adventure game with a twist. More about it little later. The main objective of the game is to save 111 scientists who took part in the Greatest Experiment and to find the exit for the next level. At the end of each level you will get points. Finish the level for as few turns as possible and you will get even more points. Getting the scientists to be honest is not necessary for your progress, but if you are into high score attacks you will want to find them all. Of course you can always go to level already beaten to try again. 

The first scientist you rescue is named Dr. Science and he will be the narrator for the rest of the game, will teach you the controls and tell you what has happened. Dr. Science's lines are the first indication of the game's pretty good sense of humor that will make you smirk more than several times while you warp your brain around the puzzles. I kind of was expecting more science jokes from this game and more dialogue from the rest of the saved scientists, but all they do is say something silly when you save them. This felt like a missed opportunity to me, I mean how often you will fly with Schrodinger's cat and Alan Turing?

Now that I mentioned the puzzles, let me say a bit more about the "action" part of the game. In your search for the scientists you will encounter two types of hazards - enemies and puzzles. The first are all kind of strange creatures who don't like you. And with them comes the twist in this turn-based game - some enemies act in real time. You will usually have few seconds to react but the first time you meet a new enemy you will never know how it will act. Will it charge at you, will it shoot or it might just start to multiply when you bump it with your ship. Against this onslaught of bizarre creatures you will have few tricks - protobombs, laser beam, phase ability and even the ability to manipulate time, not to mention that those will help you pass different puzzles too. Of course don't think you will get all this from the get go. Oh no, you will gradually find different modules and upgrades while progressing through the game.

The puzzles you encounter will usually implement time as their main element too. You will phase around, stop time at the right moment and dodge deadly lasers and falling stalactites. All this while evading and destroying real and turn-based enemies.Often keeping both concepts in mind might prove too much especially with the good amount of enemies. And because this might not be enough of a challenge there are even boss battles.

Quirky it looks, quirky it is

When you need to look at a game for a long time, it is good if its looks good and luckily Nova - 111 does! The game is colorful, with good amount of effects and things that explode. The levels are with good variety, the enemies are done with great amount of imagination and it sounds good. 

As a whole the game works and looks great, but there is one thing that heavily cripple it. The save system Funktronic has decided for their game is very strange. Almost as strange as the mash up of real time and turn-based mechanics. Sadly unlike its main mechanic its save system is horrible. Every area in Nova - 111 is made of three levels which you need to complete before moving to the next. The game saves your progress only at the start of each area. Which means you will need to replay the whole thing if you turn off the game before finishing the area. This way of saving also makes it really hard to return and replay certain levels which you remember you have not completed at 100%.


Nova - 111 is something truly unique as I have never seen other game blend turn-based and real time mechanics at this level. While solving the puzzles and fending off the enemies you will have the feeling that time is really warped around you as you will never know how the next enemy or trap will act. Beside its innovative mechanics the game also offers great look and pretty decent sense of humor. Sadly it has one big flow and that is its save system which almost remove the only reason why you might replay Nova -  to beat your score.

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