Game of the Month, December 2009: NOVA

The rate of big new games ramped up again in December, and several of our favorite brands like Need for Speed, The Simpsons, and Pac-Man appeared in Must Have games. However, a new brand also emerged which was comfortingly familiar. That game is the Halo look-alike, NOVA.

We have no qualms with Gameloft putting out extremely high quality clones of our favorite games. After all, we couldn’t play Grand Theft Auto 3 or Diablo on our iPhone, but we could play Gangstar: West Coast Hustle and Dungeon Hunter (both of which took home Game of the Month honors). We may never see Halo on the iPhone, but we loved every minute of NOVA.

Combining a tight, varied single-player experience with a smooth online multiplayer experience is no easy task, and Gameloft should be commended for delivering this much value with two distinctly different modes. But we also noticed marked improvements over the last FPS from Gameloft, Modern Combat: Sandstorm. NOVA’s artificial intelligence is much improved, and we appreciated the variety of objectives that keep the story moving.

Our runner-up for Game of the Month, Need for Speed Shift, is no slouch, either. The Need for Speed series is top of the line, and Shift gives players the option of making it an aggressive, combative racer, or a precise, professional one. The gorgeously rendered vehicles and thumping licensed beats (like “Wegue Wegue”) make this one of the best driving games available.

We hope you get a chance to try out these magnificent games, or some of our other Must Have titles from December 2009, like Jungle Style Pinball, Glyder 2, and Avatar. Now, let’s see what January brings.