Take your battles of coordination to the skies!
When starting out in the world of gaming, I didn’t genuinely expect the career of ‘Air Traffic Controller’ to fall upon my lap. Hell, the predicament of blocking a massive black hole after an enthusiastic game of tennis with everything and anything in the known universe was more predictable than directing planes from my bedroom. Yet, the answer to those who need a more arcade ridden answer to all those piloting simulations is here; Flight Control…HD! The premise is so simple that if it’s anything to go by, you might as well ditch your day job and hijack planes for goodwill like some 9-5 superhero in Balamory. You’re presented an airfield and are forced to draw flight paths for incoming planes in order for them to land safely. Different coloured landing strips are destined to be home to different coloured aircraft, and it’s up to players to sort out the incoming aircraft into the rainbow filing cabinet below, all the while trying to prevent them all from crashing. You’re given a God’s eye view of proceedings so everything and anything can be glared upon, and the graphical style is just as simple as the gameplay. The Crayola matte coats on the flat environments and the planes that look like they’ve just been thrown in from a gummy sweet packet create this feel that you’re glaring at one of those massive carpets that resembles the AA Roadmap of London so kids can play with their toy cars. It’s basic, but ensures that there’s no confusion with landscape and aircraft. It’s just all a bit plain in its innocence. It seems the gimmick to overlook this is the concept that you can play in 3D, but all this does is make the aircraft look like cataracts doused in food colouring.
The cheap price is certain to worm its way into any casual gamers heart
Despite the cheap yet turn-the-other-cheek cheerful visuals, no expense is spared when it comes to the audio. A repetitive and generic 30 second jingle like you on the conveyor belt from The Generation Game plays over and over whilst scrolling through the main menu. Once you jump into a level, it then decides to mute itself completely. Dare I ask for a second track? Considering the small price paid for the game, it may be too much to ask, but the awkward silence only serves to highlight the crushing sound of failure when there’s a head on collision. Though the support is optional, it’s pretty clear from its touch screen origins on the iPod Touch that Flight Control HD is best played with the Playstation Move controller. With it, it’s a doddle to pick any plane on the map and draw a flight path with one smooth swoop of the bauble wand. Unfortunately the majority of the Playstation public will be lumbered with their bloody dependable Dualshock controllers, and these don’t exactly compliment the simple structure. Drawing flight patterns isn’t quite as dependable and it takes a whole lot longer to reach aircraft you wish to direct. It’s annoying when your overhyped traffic warden skills are smothered by lazy controls, especially when holidaymakers lives are at stake. The longer you spend on an airfield and the higher your score grows, the more aircraft appear on the screen, presenting more opportunities for airborne atrocities to occur. All the airfields are unlocked from the beginning, with only a few adjustments creeping into some levels. Planes occasionally fly at different paces, but at no point does it really get nail bitingly tense. Only two levels offer more variety to proceedings, one with flight paths altering functionality, one with a day/night cycle. Not exactly bullet point material if this had a blurb. It’s weird that the motion controls are the only thing that isn’t gimmicky about a title. The graphics and sound aren’t anything to write home about, the ‘HD’ capabilites only serve to make everyhing look like you’re in a Dulux sample card and the 3D capabilities would on’y serve a fantastic purpose if a plane unexpectily jumped from the screen and crashed into the living room sofa. Despite the limited variety and repetitive gameplay, the cheap price is certain to worm its way into any casual gamers heart. It’s just that, without the right utensils at hand, the unforgiving clunkiness of Flight Control HD can get in the way of its short lived fun. With unrewarding progression, unimaginative trophies and nothing much to do except constantly top high scores, there’s very little incentive to carry on. In its opening moments, it’s undeniably fun, yet Flight Control HD just isn’t addictive enough to keep you glued to the screen.
The Bad: Repetitive gameplay, Unrewarding progression, Annoying music foloowed by silence