You Thought Kal Warden Already Saved The Universe? So Did He – N.O.V.A. 3 iPad Game Review

One of the reasons I decided to upgrade from the iPad 2 to the new iPad was the promise that Apple’s tablet would be fast enough and have good enough graphics to play console-quality games on it. While the third-generation iPad does meet the standard, I had yet to play a game that fit the caliber until now.

Gameloft’s newest first-person shooter (FPS), N.O.V.A. 3, not only proves that the iPad can handle the action, but that developers can make the grade if they just put some work into it.

Continuing the storyline of its predecessor, N.O.V.A. 3 puts you behind the controls of Kal Warden as he sets off to save the human race, yet again. Players see the action through the eyes, and weapon scope, of Warden in an epic battle for humanity against the Volterites and Judgers. Using a virtual joystick and button controls for weapon deployment, players move from chapter to chapter, completing missions and destroying enemies.


Like the previous N.O.V.A. game controls, players move around using a virtual joystick on the left side of the screen while swiping to look from side to side. There is a button control on the right side where players select to aim, fire and activate the Repel ability. In the upper-right corner of the screen, players can reload their gun or throw a grenade with a tap and switch weapons with a swipe.

There are a multitude of weapons to collect and use, including a pretty useful sniper scope and a bazooka-type Mech destroyer that will make you giddy when you blow the giant machine to bits.


The graphics are what really makes this game stand out. Most iOS games have some level of limitation that keep it from feeling like an epic environment, but N.O.V.A. 3 utilizes every pixel on the screen to give you reflections in your teammates helmet, realistic-looking ragdoll effects and a backdrop with so much detail that you feel like you are standing on Market Street in the middle of San Francisco as it burns to rubble.

The game is not free roaming. Players follow a specific mission and can’t really stray from the direction they are supposed to go. For example, as you are walking down the street, killing Volterites, you can’t turn the wrong way down a street. It will be blocked by rubble. Although you can’t travel around picking up random quests, the story is exciting and each mission is action-packed.


As an FPS on iOS, this is definitely the best one I’ve every played. The depth of the story, the detail of the graphics and the smooth controls put it on par with anything you would see on the Xbox or PlayStation console boxes. If you’ve been waiting for a game that really shows what the new iPad’s processor can do, N.O.V.A. 3 has it all.

What I liked: The controls are perfectly matched with the touch screen technology. Players utilize a virtual controller while using the touch screen to enhance the experience. The design of the controller is easy to understand and works smoothly.

What I didn’t like: This game is huge. It takes up nearly 2 GB of space on the iPad. I actually had to delete a bunch of apps just to download it. It is worth every bit of space, but this game is massive and takes a long time to download.

To buy or not to buy: At only $6.99, it is at least half the price that it is worth. Fans of FPS would be remiss not to add this epic battle to their gaming collection.

About Lory: Writer of all things app related, traveler of the space-time continuum, baker of really great cookies. Follow me @appaholik