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Flight Control iPad/iPhone review

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Posted by: James Pikover

Review Rating 6.5 Above Average
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Flight Control is the kind of game you play to relax. It's a calming, soothing game, with gentle music, simple game mechanics and a brain-dead simple goal: land airplanes. Only one obstacle truly stands in your way: other airplanes.

Flight Control, and Flight Control HD for the iPad, are two identical games which highlight the touchscreen's effectiveness for the simplest gameplay notion. In this case, determining the flight and landing paths of an array of planes and helicopters, flying in from anywhere on the screen. You may ask yourself, why bother playing such a game? What's the point?

Gameplay may seem elementary to anyone who's ever been to an arcade before, but after a few minutes of play, operating the landings of a growing number of planes becomes a tiresome task. Not only can there be tens of planes on the screen at any given time, but they come in various sizes, fly at different speeds, come from different angles, and players must make immediate snap-judgments to properly assess the most suitable flight path. One wrong move, and a plane crashes. Game over.

Flight Control, for the iPhone, is a much simpler and quieter game because it only contains one major landing pad, which features two landing strips and one helipad. The smaller screen can't afford to take any more space, and players will find that it's quite easy to run out of room for flight paths after just a few minutes. Five different levels are available for play, all mostly identical, but the challenge remains the same.

Flight Control HD, alternatively, features twice as many maps, including three "HD" maps, one 3D map (which actually requires a set of 3D glasses), the five maps from Flight Control, and one additional map. All HD maps have two landing pads, making five levels with two, and five levels with one. Each of these maps has a different difficulty rating, which isn't included in the iPhone version. Playing on the larger screen also has a huge benefit thanks to the added real estate. With so much screen space, games of Flight Control HD can easily last twice as long before things get out of hand and there are just too many planes and flight paths to handle.

Of course, Flight Control, for either iDevice, is not a game for everyone. It requires a lot of patience, quick planning, and the willingness to wait through the slow parts to get to the "action", if you will. And that action is still slow-paced, almost like an amateur Tetris.

While there is a major price difference between the two (yet another iPhone/iPad game that doesn't automatically work on both devices with a single purchase), Flight Control HD offers all the content of Flight Control with more maps, a larger play environment and many more slight improvements. Neither will put you to sleep so soon, even if the simplicity of it all makes you feel groggy from the get-go.

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