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iPad  header logo

Flight Control HD

For: iPad   Also on: Steam

First class

Product: Flight Control HD | Developer: Firemint | Format: iPad | Genre: Casual, Line- drawing, Puzzle | Players: 1-2 | Networking: wireless (network) | Version: US
Flight Control HD iPad, thumbnail 1
How do you top the game of the year? For lauded Australian developer Firemint, the answer is straightforward enough: go big.

Not content to rebook the iPhone and iPod touch version for iPad's maiden voyage, Flight Control HD goes big in every sense of the word.

From higher resolution graphics to new and more varied modes of play, this genre-defining game arrives in style. What truly makes this enhanced release so phenomenal is the manner in which it has tapped into the essence of what made the original great and realises its full potential.

Preparations for take off

Playing the role of air traffic controller, your responsibility is to guide a variety of aircraft to their appropriate landing strip.

Propeller planes, jumbo jets, and helicopters all require directions provided by your fingertips. Each aircraft has its own dedicated landing zone, to which you direct incoming vehicles by drawing a line. Aircraft and landing zones are colour-coded for easy identification.

It starts out easy enough, although you can imagine the chaos that ensues when half a dozen planes are zipping across the screen. Making sure each arrives at the right landing strip is one concern, whereas ensuring a collision-free airspace is another. Should any two aircraft collide, it's game over.

New arrivals

Joining the original four maps - Original, Beach, Carrier and Outback - are a set of new high definition levels designed specifically for iPad.

Not only do these new maps look better, but they support two additional multiplayer modes unavailable on the other levels. Same-screen co-operative multiplayer allows you and a buddy to work together managing shared airspace, while competitive multiplayer has you fighting for control over aircraft in hopes of having the highest score.

Both modes are a total blast. Competing for aircraft can be a crazy affair with fingers flitting across the screen in desperation. Co-op is ideal if you're not great at the game because you get a boost by having a friend play along.

They redefine the very line-drawing genre Flight Control created by taking it in a new direction.

Wireless competitive multiplayer returns too. Head-to-head score battles can be done between two iPads or even an iPhone or iPod touch with a copy of the original Flight Control.

Naturally, this mode only works with the original set of maps.

Minor turbulence

That only a portion of the maps are available across all these modes is the game's most notable shortcoming.

The original quartet have been adequately up-scaled, though it would have been better to issue a complete re-rendering so as to enable use in every mode. Of course, the benefit to preserving the original design is the option to connect with an iPhone or iPod touch for multiplayer instead of another iPad.

The only other slightly disappointing thing about Flight Control HD is the poorly executed 3D map. It's an interesting idea, but I couldn't identify any colours when using the glasses which essentially made it impossible to direct planes when viewing the game in 3D. In short, it doesn't work.

In addition to multiplayer, connectivity features are Twitter and Facebook integration for posting scores, as well as dedicated leaderboards. Since these weren't available until the release of an update in the original game, it's only expected that they would be here on the date of departure.

Yet, Flight Control HD arrives with much more than expected.

New high definition maps and fun same-screen multiplayer modes refuel one of portable gaming's greatest casual experiences for a must-have iPad excursion.
Flight Control HD
Reviewer photo
Tracy Erickson | 3 April 2010
Flight Control HD is a high flying, high-definition remake of the iPhone original that does well by adding iPad-exclusive content
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