Flight Control

   30/04/2009 at 08:52       Phil May       26 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - Flight Control, Firemint
[iTunes Store Link]

This is your captain speaking, prepare to be hopelessly addicted

Anyone ever seen the Cusack / Bob-Thornton flick Pushing Tin? Probably notable for the fact that Angelina Jolie gets her thruppennies out in it, but boring as hell otherwise.

That was pretty much what I thought Flight Control would be like. How can directing aircraft around a packed airport be fun? Well naturally as with many things in life, I was completely and utterly wrong.

Firemint's Flight Control takes the basic Air Traffic Controller idea and simplifies it. You don't need to learn the phonetic alphabet (I could never remember what the callsign address for "H" was, someone here informs me it's 'Hotel' - I should've known that) and you don't need to gaze into a dimly lit radar screen full of blips to work out what's going on. What you get is a nice overview of your airport and before long, alerts start to pop in around the edge of the screen to inform you of incoming aircraft.

Your job is to land these aircraft safely without piling them into each other. Once you spot an alert, wait for the aircraft to appear, then trace a line with your finger from the aircraft to its assigned landing strip or space (each aircraft and runway is colour coded, just match them up like for like).

Of course, at the beginning of the game things aren't too busy, but before long your screen resembles Heathrow at Christmas, and you're forced to plan routes for several aircraft at once, all moving at different speeds, all different sizes, and all needing to be landed in different places.

The genius design of Flight Control means that your paths can be as long and convoluted as you want to make them, and you can swiftly divert an aircraft along a different route at any time so if you've "parked" a plane in a holding pattern and think you can squeeze your Cessna between two big fat jumbos, a deft finger movement is all you need to do to get that plane safely on the ground.

Proximity alerts will light up red around an aircraft if it gets too close to another. Crash two aircraft into each other and your time as an air traffic controller is over, and you absolutely positively will not get to sleep with Angelina Jolie.

What you will get the chance to do though, with the new update that Firemint have just rolled out, is register your score for worldwide adulation and glorification. Firemint have teamed up with CloudCell so your best scores can be kept online. Don't get too excited though - you're aiming at some huge scores here, and to give you some idea of how good people are getting at this game, the number one Flight Controller has a score of 3155 - yes, that's over three thousand aircraft landed in one sitting. I'm guessing they're single, whoever they are.

So to sum up, Flight Control is one of an ever growing list of essential games for your iPhone / iPod touch. It's beautifully presented (love the 50s stylings of the front end of the game), the controls are absolutely perfect and with the addition of the online score tables, it could become one of the hottest titles on the platform. Best of all, guess how much it will cost you. 59p. Yes, that's right, fifty nine fucking pence for fuck's sake!

With daily sales breaching 20,000 units in the US alone Firemint seem to have a bit of a hit on their hands already, so if you've got a couple of table tennis bats handy and a pair of old ear defenders, strap 'em on and get on that asphalt.


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