The Flight Control series had its humble beginnings as an iPhone game by developer Firemint. It became extremely popular, due in part to its simple yet addicting gameplay. It later received a higher-resolution iPad port, and has now made its way to the PlayStation 3. Featuring Move and even 3D support, this looks to be the ultimate version of the game made to date. But can this mobile game compete with the best that the PSN has to offer?
The premise here is simple – you play the role of an air traffic controller, who also seems to have the god-like power of redirecting planes at your will by simply drawing their flight paths so that they can land safely at the proper landing strip. On earlier versions of the game, you would use your fingers to draw these flight paths. In this version, you can use either the Move controller or the Dualshock 3. The Move is much more accurate, and it vibrates whenever you are selecting an aircraft. An aircraft is automatically selected when you move the cursor near enough. Holding down the T button (X button if using the Dualshock 3) begins the process of drawing the flight path. Aircraft can be any of various planes, jets, helicopters, biplanes, and even seaplanes.
The goal here is to safely land as many aircraft as possible before two (or more) collide in mid-flight. You basically match a plane to its same-colored landing strip/pad, with a few variations according to the map you are on. For instance, a “Windy Map” has strong winds that force you to land aircraft only on landing strips that allow the craft to land into the wind. The PSN version also has an exclusive “Metropolis” map that features a day and night cycle.
Controlling the game with the PlayStation Move controller could not be simpler. This game really showcases the two-dimensional accuracy of the system, and you can draw very accurate flight paths. This can make for longer play sessions and higher scores. The Dualshock 3 control scheme performs nicely, but is not quite as precise as the Move. The game also does not seem as fun, since using the Move here feels like you are drawing flight paths on the map with a laser pointer.
At the inevitable end of your game, you are given a score and rewarded with a “refreshing beverage” that is typically both a reflection of your performance and related to the locale in which you were controlling aircraft. There are also online leaderboards, which are separated into different flying-related positions such as “Cabin Crew” or “Pilot” based on the score range of that leaderboard section.
Trophies are of course in this game, and they do not appear too challenging to obtain. Many you will receive after playing just a few maps, and you can earn one in only a few seconds after flipping through the in-game tutorial. Custom soundtracks are supported via the in-game XMB music player, which definitely helps encourage play. Nothing like playing Eminem’s “Old Time’s Sake” while directing air traffic!
The game looks nice, plays wonderfully and has legs thanks to challenging-but-not-too-tough trophies, custom soundtracks, leaderboard support, same-screen multiplayer, and even stereoscopic 3D support (expect an update on how that performs soon). If you have played the mobile versions before, then expect much of the same but on a much larger screen and with very accurate controls, as well as multiplayer. Flight Control HD is available for ￡3.99/€4.99/AU$8.45, and unfortunately is not available in North America. If you can purchase it and like these sorts of games, then it is an easy sell.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Custom soundtracks and online leaderboards add to replayability
Simple gameplay that screams “just one more go” sessions