Flight Control HD (PC) Review
The premise of Flight Control is as simple as can be: draw flight paths for never-ending waves of airplanes, directing them to the correct airfield and avoiding mid-air collisions. It really is a perfect fit for the iPhone and its kin, given the short and simple gameplay, plus the visceral feel of directing aircraft with your fingertips. However, a high-definition port was released on Steam, so how does it stack up on PCs and Macs?
Visually, Flight Control HD is a rather pretty game. The various aircraft and levels are simplistic in a good way, and are overall charming; for a game as casual as this, they are a perfect fit. As you would expect from a game with HD in the name, it continues to look good no matter what the resolution. The game also adds a few little visual touches that weren't present in its iOS predecessor, such as landing lights on the airfields.
The control scheme is what makes or breaks the game, however. Directing the planes with the mouse is easy enough, but it simply isn't as fun compared to the touchscreen controls, especially when the screen becomes crowded with planes. The game makes a few conceits for PC users, such as a reticule highlighting collisions and a few moments of slowdown, but these training wheels don't entirely make up for the mouse controls.
The gameplay has an unfortunate lack of variety, too. While there are nine maps, the only things that change between them are the positioning of the airfields and the visual appearance of aircraft. The exception to this is the Steam-exclusive "stunts" map, which introduces an admittedly rather fun gameplay mechanic. However, it is just one level, and it feels like Firemint could have done a lot more to make it unique to the PC platform.
So is Flight Control HD a bad game? No, not really. Like I said before, it is absolutely perfect for the iPhone and other touchscreen devices, but loses a little something when played with a mouse, and for more than a few minutes at a time. After having been spoiled by the abundance of Flash games available online, I'm not convinced that Flight Control HD will have anywhere near the staying power of its mobile counterpart on the PC. Casual gamers will find something to love, but don't feel bad about giving it a miss.