Gameloft N.O.V.A. 2 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance

    Remember when Bungie unceremoniously walked away from the Mac platform, taking its soon-to-be-blockbuster first-person shooter Halo to Microsoft’s nascent Xbox platform? Well, you still can’t play Halo’s sequels on a Mac, but Gameloft’s N.O.V.A. 2 Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance ($10)—the iOS alternative to Halo 2—is arriving in the Mac App Store today, complete with high-resolution graphics, a 13-mission single-player campaign, and a 10-player online multiplayer mode. You take control of Kal Wardin, a Master Chief-alike protagonist who makes his way through sci-fi military base, space station, desert and jungle levels, armed with futuristic guns, vehicles, and even a giant mech.

    We reviewed the iOS version of N.O.V.A. 2 when it was released at the end of last year, praising the game’s intense action, improved graphics, and efforts—sometimes half-hearted—to distinguish itself from the Halo series it obviously borrowed from. You still get weapons such as double handguns, an assault rifle, and alien guns, but there are also freeze, slow time, and disc melee attacks that are (sort of) unique to the N.O.V.A. series. The Mac version features the same 10 multiplayer maps and 5 multiplayer modes, plus support for 10-player simultaneous local play. Because the N.O.V.A. 2 code was optimized for low-powered iOS devices, it runs blazingly fast on even MacBook Air computers, with noticeably higher-resolution textures and frame rates.

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