Flight Control (Hands-On) (Nintendo DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 27.09.2009 3

Review for Flight Control (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Firemint, a small developer from Melbourne, Australia, has worked with numerous publishers on big-name projects since its initial creation back in 1999, but this year saw the 35-person strong team release its first self-published game in the form of Flight Control for the iPhone. After hitting the top spot on the 'Paid Applications' charts in the UK, Japan, Germany, France and the US, with over a million downloads in just over three months, the company has decided to translate the project to Nintendo's portable download service. But is this so-called masterpiece in simple tactile strategy equally as fun on DSiWare?

Flight Control is not about fancy, over-the-top visuals or a stunning soundtrack (although there is a nice little tune that plays along in the background, as well as some non-intrusive sound effects to add atmosphere), with Firemint instead choosing to focus purely on developing an exceedingly simplistic premise and tweaking it until addiction levels go through the roof. It is no surprise this is one of the most popular applications on iPhone, with more than a million downloads so far. No doubt it will launch on DSiWare at around the 500 Points mark, which is the equivalent a couple of Pounds, Euros or Dollars. For what is likely to have you glued to your DSi for far longer than anticipated, this seems more than a fair price-point.

The idea is one that can be picked up and learned by gamers of any skill standing. Players are put in the shoes of an air traffic controller, having to guide various different airborne craft around the skies and attempting to safely guide them down onto one of three landing strips simply using the stylus to draw a path through the sky. Each aircraft turns white when a route has been plotted and little red circles appear around them if two or more are about to collide so that you can keep an eye out for any immediate danger. Red exclamation marks also pop up at the edge of the screen to indicate when something is about to appear on-screen so you can quickly get your stylus at the ready to draw the flight path to the designated runway. Thankfully a flight path can be re-drawn simply by tapping on the desired plane and dragging the stylus in an alternate way around the screen with the greatest of ease, helping you to avoid disaster on a regular basis. Then, in keeping with the 1950s British theme of the main set-up screen, messages such as 'Jolly Good', 'Splendid' and 'Good Show' are shown when a plane has successfully reached its destination.

Screenshot for Flight Control (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

As you accrue more points on the scoreboard, the frequency at which planes and helicopters start to come into eye-line vastly increases and considering there are some planes that are remarkably faster than others (for instance the helicopters are painfully slow), some fast thinking is required to dodge fatal mid-air crashes. This DSiWare edition comes with a total of eight styles of aircraft, such as domestic and international jets, military planes, sea-craft, props, helicopters and more. As if that was not enough, for those that really like to push the boat out and stretch their skills levels to the maximum, there is the option to speed up gameplay, upping the ante to bring more craft onto the screen at any one time. High scores tactics come into play here, since once plenty of planes have appeared, then the speed can be returned to normal and everything can be expertly dealt from then on. It may seem a dangerous tactic, but experienced players will find this addition to be a positive one indeed.

On top of the main mode there is a two-player element where people can work together to achieve insanely impressive high scores, with one person guiding the appropriate type of aircraft onto their companion's screen. Of course, though, there is the option of merely driving each other nuts by sending wave after wave of random aircraft onto the other screen and then watching with glee as they get overly flustered and end up crashing over and over again, cursing loudly and gesticulating in a vulgar way towards you! Within all of these modes, players are able to monitor their performances by checking the detailed statistics for each airfield in the front-end menu screen. Finally, whereas the original iPhone release only had one airport to play on, this DSiWare version has several options to choose from, with landing strips in various locations (luscious green fields, an aircraft hanger or even a sunny beach front ) to help spice proceedings up and prevent boredom setting in for the long haul. Other than a lack of online or four-player mode, Firemint has thought of more than enough to warrant a purchase on the DSi's download service.

Screenshot for Flight Control (Hands-On) on Nintendo DS

Final Thoughts

Watch out for this little downloadable gem when it hits the DSiWare service sometime during October here in Europe. Firemint has stumbled upon one of those ultra basic, yet superbly addictive ideas and deserves a hearty pat on the back for doing so, yet should also be scowled at for ultimately taking away many hours of our lives! Resistance is futile, as Flight Control will without a doubt take over your life...









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date TBA   North America release date TBA   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date TBA   


Haven't any readers played the iPhone version? I would have thought that with a million downloads, some people here might have given it a go...


Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]
Ciara (guest) 18.10.2009#2

Not played the iPhone version but it does look very cute!

From what I've seen, the iPhone edition came in various different parts, but this DSiWare version has everything there right from the start, which is much simpler.

Get ready to lose many hours trying to set new high scores Smilie

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

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