Control a never-ending stream of aircraft in this insanely addictive worldwide hit from Firemint! You’re an air traffic controller at an increasingly busy airport; just point and drag aircraft to their landing zones with your mouse or trackpad. Sounds easy? It isn’t!
Has anyone tried this with a tablet, as in the wacom kind? I have one achievement left and I feel like it would be easier with that, but I'm not sure if it would work. I don't have one, but it's been on my to-buy list for years.
Briefly: Flight Control is a decent, casual flight control simulator in 2D.
Now, Flight Control HD has little to do with flight control. Surely, there are planes, helicopters and airports and surely, you don't want aviational vehicles to collide with each other. Other than that, it's just fun and casual management of emerging chaos in pastel colours.
Planes on a plane!
You do get to control colourful planes. They randomly appear from the edge of the screen (with a convenient warning). If you wish, a handy tutorial will show you the ropes, but controls are fun and easy: just drag a path for the plane with mouse. Ideally, the path would end up in an airport, because points are scored for landing planes successfully. Each plane has a specific airport to land coincident by their colour.
You lose if two aircraft collide with each other. Since the game is in 2D this is hard to prevent for long.
While waiting for the inevitable, you can speed up the game. Conveniently enough, if two aircraft are on a collision course the game slows down to normal pace and highlights the two aircraft.
Even though this is nice, the highlighting backfires when there are many aircraft on collision course at once. It becomes difficult to see where the most urgent flying machine is. So you lose. And try again.
Dispelling the illusion
Initially I tried to do nice and pleasant-looking arcs and long-winded landings with the planes but I quickly noted that the planes can actually do 180 degree turns, which dissolved the simulation aspect.
Still, with a large enough number of planes to control, it does become difficult to manage. Different planes travel at different, albeit constant, speed with many having the same airport to land in adding to the complexity. A single game lasts just a few minutes at a time.
There are 9 different levels with varying difficulty (size, variety of planes) and even a couple with special features, e.g. wind that closes up certain airports. Special features are nice but they are only in place in few levels. There's a minor random element in most levels of slightly changing positions of the airports, of course coupled with a randomized appearance of planes.
A word on music: there's the same jolly, easy-going tune in most levels. Just a couple of levels have a special tune to fit their special theme. While the song is fine, it curiously stops after a while and doesn't resume for some time leaving you alone with the minor sound effects of collision alert and successful landing celebrations. Which are fine. It just weirds me out that the music is off for so long.
Even the nine levels do not last forever. There's content for a few hours of fun. For myself, 3 hours were spent on achievements, which were actually very well thought and enabled additional meaningful challenges. Then I spent an hour or so trying to beat my friends' highscores, regrettably without success. Consequently, leaderboards may or may not generate a few more hours of gameplay for you if you are so inclined.
The price is pretty good but since it is already an older game (almost 6 years old as of writing this), I'd recommend getting it on sale.