The Average Gamer

Flight Control HD Review (PS3/PSN)

Flight Control HD is a port of the popular iPhone game, which has been optimized for the Playstation Move controller on PS3. The aim of the game is simple – to guide a never ending series of aircraft to their respective landing strips. This is accomplished by drawing flight paths for them on the top down view. One crash and, much like real life, it is game over.

There is something inherently pleasurable about idly sending planes hither and thither across patchwork fields and blue seas, simply by drawing on screen, whilst a noodling jazz soundtrack plays in the background. Needless to say, the relative calm of the first few minutes soon gives way to a more challenging task, and at times you will have twenty or more planes on the screen, all of which appear to have a death wish.

The Move control scheme works beautifully, allowing you to effortlessly draw any type of path for the aircraft. You can even keep individual planes ‘circling’, whilst you try to clear some space in the sky. It is possible to use a regular Dualshock controller to play the game, but this doesn’t feel nearly as satisfying, and it shows its limitations once the levels get very busy. A nice touch is the ability for up to four players to play at once, using any combination of Move and Dualshock controllers.

There are 9 levels in total, which each hold their own challenges, including day/night cycles, emergency landings and changing wind directions. All of these levels are unlocked from the start, so there is no progression as such. The focus here is on high scores, and achieving a higher ‘rank’ on the global leaderboards, starting as ‘Cabin Crew’ and working your way up to the heady heights of ‘Test Pilot’

Visually the game is clean and simple, with just enough detail to be interesting, but not enough to distract from the task at hand. Flight Control HD supports 3D televisions, but I am sadly not in a position to comment on the effectiveness of this. The sound effects are mostly helpful, and the soundtrack initially fits the game quite well. Unfortunately here lies the one problem that I had with the game – it only appears to have one music track. Not only that, but the track doesn’t loop, playing just once per level, before leaving you in silence.

This is a very strange design decision, but it can be overcome in one of two ways. Firstly, you can switch the music off and on from the pause menu, which will restart the solitary track. Alternatively, the game supports custom soundtracks, so you can start some appropriate music from your XMB and then go back to the game. Personally I found that a bit of Joanna Newsom provided a nice accompaniment. Combining anything faster than that with the stresses of air traffic control just didn’t seem like a good idea to me.

Flight Control HD costs £3.99 from the PSN Store, which is definitely good value for money. It is a great pick up and play game, that initially seems very simple, but quickly provides a very real challenge. It is also one of the few games that really benefits from having a Playstation Move control scheme. One word of warning though – the game is very addictive, so a quick twenty minute session may end up taking longer than you thought.

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