Back when you got your first Nokia, who would have dreamed of playing a first person shooter on a phone? A good first person shooter on a phone even? N.O.V.A. is a fantastic FPS, pushing the iPhone to its graphical boundaries and offering both an epic one player campaign and online multiplayer. What more could you want?
The storyline has something to do with aliens in the future - I don't want to give anything away - and reeks of Halo so much you fully expect to turn around and see Master Chief. But that's far from a bad thing in a FPS especially for something in the mobile category. There are 13 levels to complete, including six different weapon types and full voice acting - something a bit uncommon in iPhone games.
The controls do take a bit of getting used to - using the iPhone 4's gyroscope to control where you're looking takes a bit of getting used to, while having controls on a touchscreen is never going to offer a superior performance to dedicated controllers.
But the guys at Gameloft have made allowances for this. The crosshair snaps to your target at what seems like the perfect amount of leeway for fragging, and the controls in the bottom corners of your iPhone's screen are small enough to use but not onbstruct your viewing too much.
Honestly, we didn't expect this good a FPS experience from an iPhone game. But we're glad we paid the $5.99 to get N.O.V.A. It's a great experience.