Nova-111 review for PS Vita, PS4, Xbox One

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4, PS3, PC, Xbox One, Wii U
Publisher: Curve Digital
Developer: Funktronic Labs
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

The more I play Nova-111, the more I feel like developers Funktronic Labs simply looked at Pixeljunk Shooter and thought, “Hmm, what if we made it a turn-based real-time strategy game?”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that thought, of course. Pixeljunk Shooter was a fine game, so if that’s how Nova-111 came to be, it could certainly have had a worse genesis. Even more importantly, Funktronic was founded by Q-Games veterans, which means that if they were being influenced by Pixeljunk, they were at least coming by their influences pretty honestly.

Nova 111_1

But it also means that Nova-111 doesn’t come off as super-original, either. After all, in both games you’re traversing underground alien worlds in search of missing scientists. When the only thing you have to add to the equation is that, instead of making you worry about moving too quickly and overheating (as was the case with Pixeljunk Shooter), you can only move one space at a time, it should come as little surprise that the overall experiences don’t vary that greatly.

To Nova-111’s credit, of course, it tries to add a little humour to the proceedings. Specificity is a great tool for humour, which means that it’s kind of hilarious to pick up a scientist and discover that you’ve just rescued, say, Marie Curie. Likewise, having Dr. Science narrate your movements and rewarding you with “Science!” definitely hints at a bit of a Portal influence as well.

Nova 111_2

On the downside, however, Nova-111 doesn’t have the same visual appeal as its spiritual predecessor. Points for going for a retro-influenced, ’70s kind of vibe, to be sure, but at the same time, the game’s slightly washed-out look, when put side-by-side with Pixeljunk Shooter, just looks kind of tame.

Still, all in all, it’s not a bad game. It won’t make anyone forget what came before it, but if you’ve been craving more Pixeljunk Shooter-like action for the last few years, Nova-111 should at least give you a bit of a fix.

Grade: B