Brett Nova IV in Review – A Superstar This is Not

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Space Invaders is one of those iconic arcade games that conjures up fond memories. Released in 1978 by Tomohiro Nishikado (THANK YOU WIKIPEDIA!), this game combined quick reflexes and the ability to determine an invader’s trajectory. As Lrrr, in the show Futurama, said, “Instead of shooting where I was, you should have shot where I was going to be. Muahahahahahahaha!” This famous game has, like all famous games, inspired clones and spin offs. Brett Nova IV draws all of its inspiration from this arcade gem and adds a few twists to make things interesting.

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The premise and story of the game is quite simple. For some reason there is conflict and strife between you and the Spider people. The protagonist, Brett Nova IV, pilots the ship, The Iron Duke II, and fights off wave after wave.

From the Developer:

Featuring simple tilt and tap controls Brett Nova IV includes 30 levels of fun-tapping game play. Easy to pickup and play but difficult to master.

With each level getting increasingly more difficult you’ll need to keep your wits about you and have nerves of steel to guide Brett and his ‘The Iron Duke II’ spacecraft through wave after wave of the Spidor horde.

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The actual gameplay is decent enough. You tilt to the left or right to move your ship. In the options menu, you are able to change the tilt sensitivity, but cannot calibrate the accelerometer. Tapping the screen shoots. If you touch the top of the screen, you can pause the game.

Throughout the game, and in both regular and hard modes, there are upgrades. The weapons upgrade changes your single shot into 3. This effectively wipes out a large amount of enemies within a short amount of time. The red triangle gives you a shield withstands attacks. The miniature ship gives you an extra life. These upgrades go a long way in refreshing the Space Invaders paradigm.

Unfortunately, the upgrades aren’t well implemented. The major issue with the weapons upgrade is that there is no indicator as to how long you have it or when it’s going to run out. The same is also true with the shield, although the blue indicator in front of your ship is adequate enough. In terms of the extra life, you can only hold 5 at a time, any more that you get goes to waste.

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As I blasted through the waves of my enemies, one nagging feeling kept rising up in the back of my mind. I kept feeling that this game is unbalanced. There are moments where I have all the upgrades and can plow though the game easily. This occurred more than the other end of the spectrum which is playing the game sans upgrades.

Even the graphics feel unbalanced. It lacks the retro graphics that would have given Brett Nova IV the “cool” factor. It’s graphics aren’t so great that the game stands out. It is more functional than anything else and in some respects feels a bit unrefined.

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Brett Nova IV is what it says it is. It is, “[A] classic Space Invaders/Galaxian style game with a fresh and original iPhone feel.” While the upgrades may help in this reiteration of the classic game, it unfortunately does not do enough to make this a great game. It is just ok.

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App Summary
Title:Brett Nova IV v.1.1.0Developer:Electric TopHat Ltd
Price:$0.99App Size:2.4 MB
  • Upgrades
  • Local Leaderboard
  • Controls are decent
  • Gameplay feels unbalanced
  • Graphics lack appeal

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