Will we ever see Halo for iPhone? Let me be the first to say: who cares? We've got N.O.V.A.
Short for Near Orbit Vanguard Alliance (as if that matters), Gameloft's first-person shooter borrows heavily from the Halo playbook.
You're the sometimes solo, sometimes squad-based hero out to save mankind from the alien threat du jour. The game's 13 single-player missions span five environments (from bunker to jungle to spacecraft), each one dripping in console-quality graphic goodness.
An excellent tutorial acclimates you to the controls, which are always a challenge for any iPhone/iPod Touch shooter, but here are some of the best I've seen. Dip into the settings and you can choose from three control schemes or manually arrange the onscreen d-pad, fire button, and other controls exactly how you like them. Nice.
Once you've exhausted the single-player campaign, you can engage in two- to four-player deathmatches--either locally or online. (One small gripe: online play requires a Wi-Fi connection, so you can't get your frag on just anywhere.)
I could say more about the game, but I really don't want to spoil the fun of discovering it on your own. N.O.V.A. really is something special (and that's saying something in a year chock full of special games). Don't take my word alone: the Download Blog's Jason Parker named N.O.V.A. one of the 17 best iPhone games of 2009.
How would you rank N.O.V.A. among first-person shooters for the iPhone? Is it better than Modern Combat: Sandstorm? Better than Call of Duty: World at War: Zombies? Share your FPS faves in the comments!