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Flight Control

For: Mobile   Also on: Android, iPhone, Windows Phone

Collision course

Product: Flight Control | Developer: Namco Networks America | Publisher: Namco Networks America | Publisher: EA Mobile | Developer: Firemint | Publisher: Namco Bandai Games | Format: Mobile | Genre: Casual, Line- drawing, Puzzle | Players: 1 | Format: J2ME | File size: 408KB | Reviewed on: K800i other handsets | Version: Europe
Flight Control Mobile, thumbnail 1
I often wondered where all the aircraft go after they land while playing Flight Control on the iPhone. There's very little hangar space around the tiny two-runway airports, and not once have I seen a plane or helicopter return to the skies after successfully touching down.

More to the point, why are so many people interested in visiting such isolated destinations? There's a clear lack of road access, and no obvious tourist resort in the surrounding area.

Perhaps there's an underground shuttle waiting to carry jet-lagged tourists on the final leg of their journeys. We'll probably never know.

Air Port

The beauty of Flight Control lies in its simple yet elegant design. A pair of intersecting runways, with adjoining helipad, sit in the centre of your screen, whilst planes and helicopters enter your sphere of control around the edges of the playing area.

Your task is to guide the increasing volume of air traffic to the appropriate runway, by drawing a line from the aircraft to the correct landing strip. The trick is to judge how long they'll take to reach their goal, while avoid mid-air collisions by creating flight plans that don't intersect.

Initially there are only a handful of pilots to direct, but things soon become complicated as the screen fills up with multiple craft, all moving at different speeds and in random directions.

Landing Gear

Adapting Flight Control's simple touchscreen input to keypad was always going to be a difficult task, and the result is initially less than satisfying. You cycle through each jet and chopper with the '5' key, draw a suitable line, and then switch to the next aircraft in the list.

It's all rather fiddly when faced with multiple planes, especially on a smaller keypad, though the addition of button that slows time should help you overcome the initial frustrations. You will find yourself improving eventually, but the process feels clunky and awkward compared to the sweeping ease of the touch version.

There are four different maps to play on, but the game remains identical no matter which you choose, making them little more than optional skins. Each map is quite sparse, though this lends itself well to the gameplay as everything stands out against the uncluttered backgrounds.

Emergency Exit

The similarity of the levels might be easier to overlook if it weren't for the lack of extra features, although a stats page keeps a record of, among other things, your scores on each map. An option to change the difficulty level might have alleviated some of the early frustrations caused by the controls.

There's still the finger-achingly addictive gameplay lurking in this adaptation of Flight Control, but only those willing to look beyond the frustrating controls and sparseness of content will ever touchdown on its runway.
Flight Control
Reviewer photo
Wayne Turton | 15 December 2010
Flight Control's line-drawing gameplay is still enjoyable to manage, but the limitations of the new control scheme stop it from ever really taking off
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