UPDATE: version 1.2
What’s new: 2 new maps to compliment the original airfield. One is an island themed map that retains the standard jet, the jumbo jet and the helicopter BUT adds a seaplane with its own water runway. There is also an extra helicopter landing pad. The second map is much more interesting: an aircraft carrier with the 4 new aircraft. There’s a bomber plane (think standard jet), a fighter jet (think jumbo jet), an old-school WWII type plane (think bi-plane from original map) and a Chinook helicopter. The landing zones are much tighter on this map and the aircraft carrier actually rotates when you re-load the map. It gets fast very quickly.
Anything else: A fast forward button was added so that you can get through the first few landings more quickly. It can also provide some fast and furious fun (especially on the aircraft carrier map) if you want something slightly different. A quick save function has been implemented as well. All these features tie in very well with the interactive online scoreboard.
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What’s the big idea: What’s the fastest route from point A to point B? Ok, we all know that…but what’s the safest way between 2 points?? That’s what Flight Control is asking you as it brings the stresses of air traffic control to your fingertips.
Gameplay: This is of the “start slow and creep towards manic-ness” variety. Bottom line though is it’s fun. The object is to land 3 different types of aircraft to their respective runways—without any crashes taking place. You guide the planes by drawing flight paths to the runways taking care that aircraft won’t collide. The more aircraft you land, the more Flight Control throw at you. You will develop some simple strategies, i.e. if a plane comes in from this side, I will generally create this kind of flight path.
Controls: These are very intuitive. Simply tap an aircraft and in the same motion draw a path, connecting it to the runway. Aircraft colours change away from red to signal that a successful flight path has been created. Changing a flight path is equally easy: just re-tap the aircraft and draw a new path. The aircraft will automatically change its course.
Graphics&Sound: Flight Control uses a 2D top-down view. The slightly washed-out 50s-60s style retro graphics are a treat to look at and reflect the polished nature we’ve come to expect from iphone native games. The simplicity here only serves to enhance gameplay as there is just enough variation to satisfy without distraction. The game is low on fancy animations, i.e. no explosions.
Sound wise, Flight Control isn’t going to wow you. The initial menu music fades out quickly once gameplay begins and you are left with the beeping sounds of aircraft getting too close for comfort as well the sweet sound of those successfully landed! Ipod music has been enabled.
Depth: Possibly the only drawback of Flight Control. The game is by nature, repetitive and might leave you wanting more. That being said, the fact that it’s so simple works in its favour. Simple score keeping (aircraft landed) will leave you wanting to beat your score again and again—and you will surprised enough when aircraft collide to give it another go! Flight Control’s simplicity also means it’s great for short-burst gaming.
Final rating: Flight Control’s low learning curve, high flying fun, smooth graphics and great value for money make this one of the best native iphone games yet. It is perfectly suited for the iphone and itunes app store ideology we will surely see more aircraft and maps in the future.
Gametime: open-ended | Tested on: iPhone 3G, 2.2.1 | iPhone native: yes