Have you ever dreamed of being an air traffic controller? No? Well, whether you have or not is rather inconsequential anyway since Flight Control takes the concept, strips away all the complexities involved and simplifies it to the point where players are left with the task of drawing flight paths on the touch-screen in order to safely land red jets, yellow planes or blue helicopters, all onto their appropriately coloured runways or helipads. Sounds really basic, right? Well, in some ways it is, yet the actions starts to heat up very quickly to the point where you feel like more eyes and hands are required to keep up with all the on-screen movements!
Upon starting one of the maps offered, matters remain calm at first, with an exclamation mark appearing at the edge of the screen, accompanied by a warning noise, to indicate that an aircraft is about to enter your field of vision from that designated spot. Once in your airspace, correctly guiding it becomes your direct responsibility. This is done by tapping on the plane or helicopter to highlight it, then drawing a route around the sky and finally ending by touching against the appropriate end of the runway. Whilst waiting for landing to occur, another flight will enter into the mix, sometimes heading on a collision course with the other plane slowly following the path you gave it. When coming dangerously close to each other, a circle flashes around the aircraft and a different warning sound is given to launch the player into action, tapping once more on one of the aircraft to temporarily re-direct it out of harm’s way. Should you feel brave enough, there is a 'fast-forward' button to speed up play, bringing more planes into the mix, faster. Turning it off again merely takes another tap of the same icon.
There are five maps on offer: Classic, Beach, Carrier, Outback, and the new DSi-exclusive, Windy. The iPhone edition of Flight Control has seen various revisions and is currently up to Version 1.5, so this DSiWare release is somewhat of a ‘best of,’ giving Nintendo owners a taste of what mobile phone owners have been enjoying in their masses for the past year. However, there is one key aspect missing from the strategic action puzzler -- online. You see, Flight Control is the sort of game where achieving a high score is the main objective, with online leader boards actually being offered in the Apple download iteration. However, Firemint has attempted to appease gamers with the inclusion of the Windy map instead.
Whilst Classic, Beach and Carrier basically have the player navigating the various aircraft around, and Outback introduces an emergency plane that takes priority and cannot be controlled (meaning you must get everything else out of its designated flight path), Windy introduces a brand new approach, bringing an even more strategic element to proceedings than before. This particular airfield is set in snowy conditions, with prevailing winds determining where planes can be landed. Therefore, players are at the mercy of the on-field windsock, with it revealing the direction of wind, and, thusly, blocking or opening certain runways, definitely adding extra challenge into the mix! There is also the ability to play the maps in a two-player mode, with friends able to direct planes off their screen and onto the screen of another DSi system, with co-operative play encouraged to obtain the highest scores possible. However, causing mayhem by directing all traffic towards the other DS is also a highly amusing option...