Sunday, 14 November 2010

Samsung Galaxy TAB Gaming: Nova HD

Samsung Mob!lers Mission #5:

This week the Samsung Mob!lers were asked to review a game on the Galaxy Tab. I struggled with this as I really like all of them and have found the Tab to be an excellent gaming device: It really shows off how a large touchscreen interface and brilliant display can create a whole new genre of interactive gaming. In my review of the Samsung Galaxy Tab, I touched on the game Nova HD, and I think as it is so impressive, I should talk about it a little more.

A Puntastic Start:

Nova is a game that’s been around for a while now. I’ve played it on friends’ smart phones in the past and been really impressed with the first person shooter gameplay. I mean, I was really really impressed before... but nothing quite prepared me for what it would be like on the Galaxy Tab. If Nova is a five star game on other devices then I think we need to invent a new scale. I’ve been playing for just over a week now and I honestly think that ‘SuperNova’ is a more appropriate name: it’s absolutely stunning!! My picture editing skills leave a lot to be desired; but here is my artistic attempt at visualising this:

The Setup:

You play as a futuristic soldier and you’ve got a myriad of exciting weapons, grenades and special moves at your disposal. The setup is relatively simple... you wonder round and kill aliens. I think you’re supposed to be protecting a future earth from an invading extraterrestrial army…or something… but, I have to confess, I was so interested in the gameplay that I largely ignored the backstory! Maybe I’ll pay more attention the second time I play it through... the cutscenes are all very impressive; here's the cutscene from the beginning:

Gyroscopic Amazement:

This is one of the things that makes this game exceptional, no…. jaw-droppingly-exceptional, so take note! When you move the Tab left, you look left, when you move it right, you look right…. up, down, diagonals, everywhere. This really puts you in the world of Nova and augments the beautiful 3D world into your own world. You living room becomes a space station and when enemies sneak up behind you, you’ll find yourself actually jumping and trying to get out of their way before you realise you need to control your in-game avatar! The gyroscope isn’t only used for looking around, but for aiming your firepower at the nasty invading aliens.

The game also has an inbuilt auto-aim. I think it's great because it's subtle enough to make you think you’re doing all the hard work yourself!

In Game Involvement and Niceties:

The controls for the game are astonishingly intuitive! Coupled with the gyroscope controls it makes complicated movements and interactions intuitive and enjoyable. To the left hand side of the screen you have the forward/backward left right controls, and to the right you have the weapon select and fire buttons (the most important ones!). I would have been happy with the game just like that, but they’ve pushed the boat out even further!

The whole game it riddled with lifts which you access by swiping your finger in the lift controls and broken doors you have to force open by yanking with three fingers. There are also lots of fun mini-games you have to complete to “hack” ammo crates and unlock doors. There’s also an onscreen map, which not only aligns itself to the direction your looking, but you can move it around the screen and enlarge it: it’s a really nice subtle little detail which makes the whole interface feel like a futuristic-robocop-style-heads-up-helmet display and draws you into the game!

I’ve made a couple of short videos for you to see what I mean:

In a lift...

Forcing open a broken door...

"Hacking" a door control


In conclusion, Nova is one of the best games I have ever played. The extra level and depth of interactivity really draws you into the world of Nova and makes it hard to put down. In my review of the Tab I said that Nova has a “quasi-augmented-reality” feel to it… but having played it a bit more I feel as though I should correct that statement. It’s not quasi-augmented, or even augmented reality: it is its own reality. The level of detail gets you so involved that it’s easy to forget about the real world: you become totally immersed. Of course it’s not like you’re going to start believing there are aliens around the corner, but you can really feel part of this wonderful creation. You definitely don’t get the same feeling when playing on other, smaller, devices.

The fact that this game been around for a whole year, is still one of the most impressive games on the market and they’ve managed to make it even better for the Galaxy Tab leaves me utterly bewildered. All I think is that if this is one of the first games available for the Tab, they’ve set their standards very high and I can’t wait to see what the pull out of the bag in the coming months. There’s a lot to be excited about with this … and the future of gaming on the Tab (Nova 2!!!). This is a game packed full of action, jaw-dropping graphics and possibly the best gameplay I’ve ever encountered, on any device. This really is an exceptional concept and execution, and the Galaxy Tab really makes it shine.


  1. Im surprised the ipad version doesnt use the compass. This looks so cool!

  2. This looks brilliant.

  3. Can you turn the compass feature off though? i think that could get annoying

  4. Gaming on the Tab must take some getting used to. Awesome quality though, definitely quite jealous that you've got one!

  5. Hi "Anonymous". Yeah, you can turn the gyroscope off! I forgot to mention the multi-player gameplay in my review... I'll have to do another one...

  6. how to have augmented reality settings in galaxy tab, my version are v1.00, BTW its, NOVA 2 running on 2.3.3