Mediocre. That’s the description of Novastrike in one word. Everything it does, at every level, is mediocre. What does this game do well? Not much. What does it do poorly? Not much. Novastrike is just a mission-based space shoot ‘em up. That’s it. It costs $10 USD, a good-but-not-great price. And again…it’s mediocre.
So what is Novastrike? It’s a top-down space shooter (though it doesn’t actually take place in space) in the same boat as Asteroids or Time Pilot. But unlike these classics, the player flies around a well rendered, large environment. In these huge levels, you need to fly around on a long, LONG series of missions, primarily centered protecting cities from bombers or bombing cities yourself. While the limited life structure of gameplay gives a nod to classic arcade shooters, it winds up being an annoyance. And this happens many times over. It’s a painfully tedious process which makes up the majority of time you’ll be playing this game.
The controls are simple. The R buttons control air-to-air weapons, while the L buttons control air-to-land weapons. There’s a Star Fox 64-style “boost meter” which lets you boost for a while, then you have to let the engines cool. The actual combat is normal chase-and-shoot things where you get into dogfights until you get shot down by forty other ships or AA guns. The individual missions don’t really stick out as anything particularly impressive, so there isn’t really any redemption in having creative missions. You get shot down far too easily. With a Halo-style shielding system that can get punched through like paper, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it through the first level.
Graphically, the game isn’t bad. It has nice textures and the water looks good (Lord knows you’ll fly over a lot of it). However, the art direction is simply uninspired, lacking the flair of games like Ikaruga or even the DS’s Nanostray. All the teeny-tiny little ships are…well…small. Frustratingly so, as you can’t really tell what ships are friends, enemies, things that heal you or are just plain shrapnel.
Really…I don’t like Novastrike. It’s not a bad game, but there are better games in this genre that nobody plays. And there are better games on the PSN. Really, this game doesn’t have anything going for it or anything really worth buying it for. It’s an unimpressive shooter. Unless you’ve got some odd fascination with the genre, just don’t bother.