This week sees a pretty huge game day with the release of the latest entry in Gameloft’s benchmark first-person shooter series, N.O.V.A. 3. As to be expected, it packs a lot of action and some great online multiplayer improvements. Following it is the beautiful LostWind2, a platformer that originally appeared on the Nintendo Wii and which gives players the ability to control seasons in order to solve its puzzles. After that, we have Penny Time, a stylish runner title that’s all about timing and skateboards. Finally, there’s This Could Hurt, a game in which you’ll need to carefully avoid traps in its 3-D mazes by carefully timing your character’s movements through them.
N.O.V.A. 3 – Near Orbital Vanguard Alliance (iPhone, iPad) $6.99
Gameloft’s popular first-person shooter series is back in N.O.V.A. 3, expanding the story and refining the gameplay of the titles that take a lot of inspiration from the Xbox video game series Halo. It’s been four months since the events of N.O.V.A. 2, and protagonist Kal Wardin has to go back to war against his old adversaries, the Volterites. Once again, players have to pick up a number of guns and take the fight to numerous enemies in this run-and-gun shooter.
Like its predecessor, N.O.V.A. 3 includes accelerometer controls for aiming, as well as control-stick controls and touch-centric options. It also has an extensive online multiplayer mode, with six multiplayer modes and matches that support up to 12 players. The graphics have been improved, and this time around, N.O.V.A. 3 includes vehicles in its multiplayer mode that teammates can share to bring them to bear against one another.
LostWinds2: Winter of the Melodias (iPhone, iPad) $3.99
Last year, the beautiful side-scrolling platformer LostWinds made the jump from the Nintendo Wii console to iOS, to a relatively warm reception, especially once it got its controls tuned for touchscreens. Now a second title in the LostWinds franchise has been released, and it builds on the wind-controlling platforming gameplay of the first game by adding the ability to control seasons, which is key to solving LostWinds2’s puzzles.
You’ll be able to switch the seasons of the world between summer and winter in order to make progress through LostWinds2, although each season brings with it unique challenges. You’ll endeavor to keep from freezing to death during the winters, for example, and have to brave troubles like bodies of water in the summers. The game also includes a new character to join the adventure and Game Center support for friends lists and achievements.
Penny Time (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
Another side-scrolling title, Penny Time has more in common with endless runners than platforms. Based on the Australian line of skateboards, the game has you riding through environments frozen in time, and requires players to dodge obstacles with one of three swipe-based moves that help score points. Jumping over or sliding under obstacles racks up your score, and timing your moves perfectly earns you the best scores.
Penny Time has a great 3-D art style and simple but intuitive swipe controls that determine your movements over obstacles. Its soundtrack also reacts to your input as you dodge obstacles. As you move through each level, you’ll rack up points and multipliers, but lose your score if you hit anything. Once you get through the level, you can choose to cash in your points or hold on to them through the next round for a chance to rack up even higher scores.
This Could Hurt (iPhone, iPad) $0.99
This Could Hurt puts you in the role of a character charged with navigating a maze of deadly traps to prove his worth. The 3-D title has a really simple set of controls: since your character moves automatically, all you need to do is touch the screen and stop him. Timing is everything, so stopping to let traps fire and clear your path is key to surviving and scoring points.
You’re graded on each level in This Could Hurt by how quickly and efficiently you get through. You want to avoid getting hit by anything for a perfect run, but you don’t want to be overly cautious because you’re being timed. There are also power-ups you can find or purchase that can help you navigate each stage. When you finish each one, you can check your abilities against players all over the world with This Could Hurt’s Game Center leaderboards.