In the game Red Nova (for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch) you play a lone ship against a bunch of flying enemies in a 3/4 angled, fast-paced arcade space shooter. Red Nova launched to some acclaim, and I can see why. The sound is great, the graphics, while low-polygon, are good and the animation and feel is quite nice. You can tell a lot of time and attention went into the game. The story is pretty worn out (protect the mother ship), but the gameplay reminded me a bit of one of my favorite games ever: Lunatic Fringe. People have drawn comparisons to Asteroids, but Lunatic Fringe had the same angle, the same frenetic feel and the same attitude as Red Nova. Yet where Lunatic Fringe was simple, Red Nova is more complex. This is not necessarily a good thing.
InterfaceI played both the iPhone and iPad versions and must say I found both challenging. The limited real estate on the iPhone made it sometimes tricky to see your enemies approaching. The iPad, on the other hand, could be tricky in that the control scheme requires you to use the screen in a set of quadrants, with each one allowing you to perform various tasks in the game. More on this in a moment.
The graphics look better on the iPhone due to the somewhat chunky nature of the low-poly models used in the game. Still, the frame rate at which everything happens is terrific if you like action. Unfortunately, on the iPad, and to some extent the iPhone, the text is so washed out or small (and in a funky font) that you may find yourself squinting to read it. The usual meters for shields and energy are in the upper left while the upper right shows kills and power-ups. Incoming enemies have a warning indicator that moves along the edge of the screen when the baddies are in range.