Review: Dark Nova HD, by Dead Jim Studios
Dark Nova HD, by Dead Jim Studios
• Find, battle oriented RPG game
• Easy to learn and play
• Price seems high
• Navigation from screen to screen could be easier
Dark Nova HD is a game based on the popular Palm OS game from 2002, Space Trader. In this strategy oriented game, your goal is to amass wealth and fortune while avoiding being arrested by police and attacked by pirates and smugglers. You achieve your goal by travelling around the galaxy, purchasing goods from one star system and selling them at a higher price to another star system. Along the way, you can hire people to help you, buy new spaceships (or upgrade your existing spaceship), and even complete various missions and tasks set forth.
I originally became aware of this game from the Palm OS in about 2004. It was a fun game to play, and a good way to pass some time. When I saw Dark Nova HD for the iPad (they also have Dark Nova for the iPhone) I thought I would give it a try. I was hoping for some improvements and advances from the text/monochrome Palm OS version of Space Trader.
Unfortunately, I didn’t see any of that. While the game has added some nice graphics, especially some nice background images, there is no fundamental difference between this game and the text-based strategy game from 2002. The pictures are nicely drawn, but they hardly could be considered iPad “worthy”. The graphics are mostly limited to a color versions of the galaxy chart and color images representing the spaceships (either yours or the pirates, merchants, and police), along with the nice background images of planets that serve as a backdrop to the game.
In addition, the navigation was far from obvious. During the course of your “trips”, you may want to do things like purchase supplies, hire assistants, sell goods, and purchase fuel. The navigation between the screens to accomplish these tasks is not always as obvious as you might think. While the iPad allows for a nice, large layout on the screen, I felt the space on the screen was not put to efficient use – it would be nice to see some “shortcut” buttons or something. There is a “commande pad” screen available, but at times it seemed difficult to access it, or other options. Now, this may have just been my own stupidity, but it seemed like it could have had a better overall layout.
Don’t get me wrong – I still liked the strategy aspect of the game, and I still found myself sitting down occasionally to play it. I just felt that given the device, and given the previous version’s existence, I was expecting….more. Of course, there is no multiplayer competition available.
All in all, if you like the Palm OS Space Trader, than you might enjoy this game. It isn’t much of an improvement, and basically is just the same game imported into the iPad, with a few nice images thrown in. The price of the game ($4.99, not even for a universal binary on a straightforward game like this!) seems to be high for what the game delivers (especially related to some other $3.99 or even $2.99 games out there). Because of this, I can only give it three out of five stars.
* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.
Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.