Indeed there is, as the Introduction says, nothing new under the sun. People have been mixing wargames/miniature skirmish with traditional character-based role-playing from the very beginning of the hobby, whether it is deliberate (such as role-playing extensions to BattleTech) or coincidental (like D&D 4e combat being far easier to run as a miniature skirmish), or as an adjunct to bring the wider sweep of battlefield events to bear on your role-playing (as has been attempted in Exalted 2e). Even the concept of a shared setting for tabletop combat and role-playing has been done before, for example in Iron Kingdoms from Privateer Press.
In your download, you get three books (well, 6 if you count the printer-friendly versions): Core Rules, The Fringe and Game Components. The Core Rules contains the basis for a solid miniatures skirmish game set in a science-fiction universe (the Fringe, of which more later). It is based around Units, which can be anything from a squad of, well, squaddies to a main battle tank or something more exotic (mecha, monsters or ???). Once you have sorted out scenario, terrain and starting positions, gameplay proceeds with turn-based combat. You begin each turn by placing Order Markers by each unit you intend to do something. These are placed face-down, simulating the real-world situation of having to issue orders without knowing what the enemy is up to, and it means that all players can get on with issuing orders without having to wait for each other. Then you roll initiative, and whoever wins decides which of his units will act first. Thereafter, in each phase of the turn, it is one of his units that will act first. As well as move and fire orders, there is a neat Reaction Order mechanism, which allows a unit a pre-emptive ranged attack if a certain event occurs. Throughout there are loads of examples of play and good diagrams to illustrate each rule as it is introduced. There are conversion notes for Infinite Futures RPG characters, so that if the occasion arises they can mix it in your skirmishes. The book ends with rather an excessive amount of advertising for other Avalon Game Company product - 11 pages in a 41-page PDF.
Next is The Fringe. This book introduces a far future star-faring setting, which is due to be to be released later this year (at the time of writing this review) for the Infinite Futures RPG and which provides a solid context for skirmish games. The Fringe is a wild border or frontier area where there is a wealth of scope for exploration, colonisation, trade, conquest or pretty much whatever you want to get up to, with a range of different factions and races all set to squabble over resources and anything else. It's a kind of meeting place of spheres of influence, several alien races as well as human beings are adjacent. You have Terran Marines, Star Marshals, pirates and all manner of mercenary and 'security company' forces scampering around... and that's just the humans. Chuck the aliens in and there is ample scope for all the conflict you can handle. This rounds out with detailed discussion of the Terran Marines and an alien race called the Too-Nia (but not exhaustive, further source books are planned), because...
... these are featured in the third book, Game Components. This contains all you need to actually play Nova Blast. A selection of basic scenarios, paper miniatures, terrain pieces, unit information cards (complete with fancy backs if you like that standard of presentation and are good at the fiddly bits of printing, cutting out and pasting onto card to make it work) and the all important Order Markers that are core to the system.
Overall it's a neat skirmish system firmly rooted in its setting, with the scope for future expansion to link it more firmly with the role-playing aspects. Get it if you think your Infinite Futures RPG characters are likely to get down and dirty with military-style skirmishes or if you wonder what Terran Marines do in their downtime and fancy role-playing it!