By: Ted Chow
Nova-111 is an interstellar affair of saving scientist and smashing rocks, all in your very own robot spaceship. Hailing as an indie title with side scrolling, turn-based action, you will take to various planets to battle hostile aliens and environmental obstacles. While the concept of the game is pretty simple, its inherent fun gameplay and quirky nature gives a nice touch to all ages to enjoy. If you’re looking for a new title that is casual at a glance but offers some enriching gameplay, look no further than Nova-111.
As a pseudo turn-based game, you will be moving your robot spaceship square by square across the level and fog of war. When moving to new tiles the level will become more visible for you to plan out your route to the exit portal. Additional inputs are available for special attacks and abilities, but all of that is pretty straightforward as the game offers seamless guidance while traversing the levels. It all felt good with no hindrances or performance issues.
Nova-111 is light in the graphics department with the majority of the assets being 2D cartoon sprites. The style is lighthearted and crisp with an emphasis on being quirky and playful. The UI is also minimal with a greater focus on giving the player full immersion of the content. The soundtrack follows suit with light acoustics and pleasant jams.
Nova-111 revolves around your robot spaceship going through levels in order to find secrets, upgrades and an exit portal at the end. All of these factors will contribute to your area score that is then pitted against other players. The number of turns you take is also added and affects your end score. While the game is casual by nature, there is some sense of competition with the leaderboard placement if you are into that arcade mentality.
What is a game without enemies to impede your path? As is the case here, there are a variety of alien creatures and obstacles that will require different approaches in order to continue forward.
An example would be the small alien chomper that attacks one turn after it is adjacent to your robot spaceship. Taking out the chomper is as simple as inputting your move command in the direction of the chomper, but in order to take minimal damage, you will need to kite backwards to evade the attack and counterattack.
This interactive dynamic is seen throughout all your encounters with harder puzzles to solve the further you move through the game. This puts some food for thought when tackling the obstacles and is one of its main draws.
While adventuring through the levels you will come across new abilities that will help solve some of the environmental puzzles. Abilities such as the beam laser will destroy blue rocks, but it can also be used as a ranged attack against the aliens. Power-ups are hidden in secret passages or behind rocks that’ll increase maximum health or provide additional benefits such as being able to use stun bombs when overwhelmed by opponents.
Nova-111 is a solid addition to anyone’s library and is one of those games that only are possible within the indie scene and the support of that community. While it may not have much in the multiplayer aspect or variance in gameplay, it gave some chuckles and instilled some retries out of me to push through the levels.