148Apps Network Post
Developer: Gamevil
Price: Free
Version: 1.0.1
App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Playtime Rating: ★★★★½
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★☆

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

I’m a sucker for surreal and weird games. Seriously, I seek them out. And not just the popular ones involving rolling up all of existence into a sticky ball. So it would stand to reason that I’d love something like NOM 5. At least I would, if it backed up the weird with a more solid game.

NOM 5 follows the continued adventures of Nom, the oddball little silhouette man from the original game. This time he wants a girlfriend, so he hops into his new cell phone that’s actually a spaceship and sets out into the great unknown in search of the Spaceking in order to have the monarch make him one. I wish like crazy I were making this up. What follows is a bunch of tapping through obstacles as Nom travels from star to star, slowly making his way to the Spaceking.

NOM 5 sports a colorful set of visuals punctuated by all manner of surreal black and white objects. It can be a bit much to take in sometimes, but if nothing else it’s one heck of a distinct graphical style. One that constantly challenges the player, too. The screen will often change orientation, sometimes in mid-run, while other times Nom might decide to bank in a totally unexpected direction as he swims through what can only be described as an interstellar ball pit.

The actual gameplay of NOM 5 is something of a mess, however. I can forgive the plot seemingly being written by an ADD-riddled child, because a lot of other weird games make just about as much sense, but the one-touch controls get in the way of everything else. Unlike other runner-style games where it’s easy to known when to tap to jump/dodge/whatever and boils down to player skill, NOM 5 has this weird “null space.” So tapping a fraction of a second too late, even if Nom still hasn’t collided with whatever it is he’s supposed to avoid, will still result in damage. Similarly, the combination of this issue and the wacky screen antics makes it more frustrating than fun. Plus the levels tend to drag on way too long and start to get really dull despite their surreal nature.

There are artifacts to unlock and items to purchase and use, but none of these make a difference when it comes to dodging properly. I’m certain there are some people out there who will find NOM 5 enjoyable, but unless the tap-timing sees an improvement I have a hard time imagining it finding much of a fanbase. Still, it’s not like it costs anything to try it out.


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