Happily, the game holds up equally well from the standpoint of playability. Not just a pretty face, this one. Nova-111
reminded us somewhat of that indie classic, Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet.
Both have as their central character a lone ship in space, exploring treacherous territory against seemingly impossible odds. Where Nova-111
takes things in a different direction is in its adoption of turn-based mechanics. Donít start thinking this is a tactics game, because thatís not at all the case. Think more about Supergiantís Transistor
, a game that evenly straddled real-time and turn-based gameplay. The turn-based approach in Nova-111
isnít even as strict, itís just a 1:1 relationship between your movements and the flow of time in the world around you.
Thatís right, nothing happens when you donít move, mostly. You can move freely in the gameís world, as you would in any action game. What at first seems like an exercise in running a maze turns into something much more complicated. Enemies begin appearing in greater number, obstacles to your progress appear, and environmental hazards force you away from easy paths. Itís not reflexes that help you overcome these challenges, but your brain, and some upgrades for your ship. You quickly see that each time you move, all the elements in the game world move along with you. This is the essence of Nova-111, the basis for all the puzzles, and the answer to almost all the challenges. Youíre scored on both the time it takes you to run a level and the number of moves (efficiency) you displayed in that level. To make it all more interesting, youíll find that some elements of the gameís world "break the rules" and operate in real time.