Casual Corner: N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

We know how it is. You worked hard for your 10:1 KDR, but sometimes, you just want to take five, relax and enjoy a quick game on your phone. Unfortunately, finding good games is anything but quick – most mobile gems end up buried under a mountain of trash. But like we said, we know how it is, so every month we shine a spotlight on a great diversion to get you through the work week.

We know what we’ve said in the opening about wanting to get away from the first person shooters for a bit, but sometimes these puzzle games and endless runners just don’t cut it. If during your downtime you want to take out hordes of aliens en route to saving the human race, then this month we have an oldie but a goodie’ for you.

N.O.V.A. 3Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance was the game to catch our eye this month and though it’s the third game in the series, you don’t need to play the previous games to enjoy it. N.O.V.A. 3 is developed by Gameloft, a company that likes to jump in on the trends of pop culture with games like Ice Age Adventure, Spider-man Unlimited and Captain America The Winter Soldier The Official Game. Jumping on the trends isn’t a bad thing, however, especially when you do it well.  

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The N.O.V.A. series isn’t an original idea to say the least, but that doesn’t matter here. You play as Kal Warden who has received a distress signal from his AI Yelena to go back to earth — sound familiar? Upon crash landing in San Francisco, you team up with fellow N.O.V.A. soldiers to take out the Volterites once and for all. Other than Earth you’ll visit a few other planets and have to kill humans and other aliens alike before eventually making it to the Volterites home world.

Before you go off to save the world, however, you’re going to need to get familiar with the controls. Veterans of the series or FPS games in general should be used to the basic setup, but if you’re new to phone FPS games, here’s what you’ll be doing. In order to control movement you’ll be using the phantom joystick on the left side of the screen. Where you’re looking is controlled by swiping or moving your finger anywhere else along the screen. Ideally that finger will also be used to shoot your weapon which is a button along the right side of screen along with your special abilities. It takes some time to get used to. You’ll run into the middle of firefights without really realizing it if you’re not careful. Along with that basic combat, you’ll also be piloting mechs and you’ll be the gunner for some AI-controlled vehicles.

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N.O.V.A. 3
is visually impressive. After all, N.O.V.A. was developed three years ago and it still holds up well on all devices. From the weather to explosions, everything looks great; it even holds a candle to Implosion for best in-game mobile graphics.

So if you’ve got an itch for a mobile game and you just can’t give up your FPS, then N.O.V.A. 3 might be for you. Android users can get it here and iOS users can get it here for $6.99.