February 18, 2019
Archives  Features  Inside iPhone Games Vol. 1  

Inside iPhone Games Vol. 1
June 10, 2009 | Michael Scarpelli

Click to enlarge

The aircraft carrier rotates as you play. Diabolical!
iPhone games are multiplying at an alarming rate, and it’s getting to the point where its tricky to sort the good from the mediocre from the bad. Well, enter IMG at last to help you wade through the junk for some quality titles. Now, without further ado…

Flight Control - $0.99

I’m not going to lie, I first looked up Flight Control after reading Nathan Fillion (of Firefly, Dr. Horrible and now Castle fame) bragging about his high scores in the game on Twitter.

Well, Captain Hammer has not led me astray. Flight Control is an excellent iPhone title. The purpose of the game is very simple. You have 3 separate landing areas, color-coded to match up to various plane types. Your task is to guide incoming aircraft safely to their respective runway by touching and dragging a flight path that will bring them down safely.

Planes that are left unattended will simply proceed in a straight line, and then bounce of the “walls” that the edge of the screen represents and continue moving about the screen. You are alerted about where new planes will appear by little exclamation points at the edge of the screen. Planes that are getting dangerously close to one another will also each have a red halo appear around them, drawing your eye to the danger.

The gameplay is staged in such a fashion that you’re able to get some time to warm up into the action, but it doesn’t take so long to get going that you’re going to have to get up and stop playing before you really get to the meat of the action. Once things get rolling, Flight Control turns into a frenzy of action. You’ll start trying to juggle the patterns of a dozen planes at once, and then you see why gamers are eating this title up.

The game controls very well. The planes are responsive and the tracking on your finger is very accurate. You’re able to make for pretty intricate flight patterns with no difficulty at all. I’ve almost never attempted to poke at a plane to relocate it and not had the game pick up my intent exactly. Responsiveness is crucial to any arcade or action iPhone game and Flight Control gets it right.

There’s a nicely integrated leaderboard based on your location, and it’s fun after each match to see who in the immediate vicinity is also rocking out with high scores in the game. And because its easy to just start back up into a new match, being able to see these high scores really works you into a frenzy to land just one more plan. I still need to catch Nathan Fillion’s high score of 142, which is pretty darned good, by the way.

The game has a great retro look and feel to it that suits it well. After all, the heyday of flight as a hip and fun activity was back in the 1950’s to 70’s. The sound for the game is fairly basic, with a cute little musical ditty when you start your game. After that, the music fades out, though the game does promote that gamers are able to play their own tracks in the background. Though that’s pretty standard stuff for the iPhone.

Flight Control just released a new update as well, increasing the total runway layouts to three and the total aircraft types to nine, in addition to some new features for scoring metrics. If you end up needing to get up and go in the middle of a game, too, no worries, because Flight Control will retain your game state exactly as you left it.

All told, there are few other ways you can spend a dollar that will reward you quite this much.

Graphics – 7, Sound – 7, Gameplay – 9, Value – 9, Overall – 8


Archives  Features  Inside iPhone Games Vol. 1