This is my original comp review, preserved for historical purposes. Updated commentary may be available on my page for the game.
Nova Heart: Don’t Be Standing Around While the Earth Dies Screaming, or: Who Is To Blame When the Owls Leave Candy Jail? by Zenith J Clangor is an entry in Shufflecomp 2014. If you're planning on playing and voting for games in this competition, you should probably stop reading now.
A bit of background: for Shufflecomp, prospective authors submitted a list of songs, which the organizer shuffled and sent back out. Authors were then to write a game inspired by (at least) one of the songs they were assigned (details). Nova Heart is inspired by seven songs.
I found Nova Heart's story to have a disjointed feel. There are sudden transitions and shifts in perspective, and the whole thing is rather bizarre. Intentionally, I assume.
Interesting language and vivid imagery are Nova Heart's strongest points.
You are in a woman's clean white utopic apartment, one hundred floors above the city. The wailing sirens of the deathpaddywagons are drawing closer. You have to run. Run now.
There's something forceful and immediate about this that I like. Between each paragraph, the game pauses, requiring a click (or press of the enter key) to proceed. I was more impressed by this before I saw the next line: "To run, type 'run' in the command box." Indeed, typing 'run' is the only way to proceed from that point.
The interactivity in Nova Heart is, for the most part, false. In the situation I described above, only typing 'run' allows the game to proceed, and no other command has any effect. This is generally true: at each moment, if any command is possible, only one command is possible. Nova Heart does not simulate a world; it just uses customized 'continue' commands. There are a couple of times in the game when the player may input a command sooner or later to get slightly different text, but the only real choice in the game is at the very end. There are, I think, six possible endings, though each is only a few paragraphs of text.
I think I'd like to play a game that has something of the style of Nova Heart, but more developed. Nova Heart is interesting as an experiment, but I wouldn't generally recommend it as a game.