Air Control: Take the role as an air traffic controller and guide aircrafts to safety.
Being an air traffic controller is not a job to be taken lightly and it’s not something just any one can do. It takes years of studying and training to guide dozens of planes carrying thousands of people to land successfully. Just five minutes on Air Control will no doubt convince those of you in question.
Gameplay: Air Control is a clone of Namco Network’s Flight Control and subsequently similar to other clones like Flight Director. Like all of these games, you are presented with a bird’s eye view of airports, airbases or aircraft carriers. Aircrafts enter the screen from all directions and you need to draw the path it will takes to land safely. The snag comes when certain types of aircrafts can only land on their designated runways; larger aircrafts can only land on the larger runways, smaller commercial planes can only land on the shorter runways and helicopters land on the helipads.
One totally unrealistic aspect of this game is that all the aircrafts fly at the same altitude. The helicopters fly the same height as commercial planes, commercial planes fly the same height as fighter jets, it all sounds rather ridiculous but it’s all rather necessary for the gameplay to work.Like I previously implied, Air Control is hard. As the number of aircrafts on the screen mounts up you will quickly find that you run out of real estate to prevent planes from crashing and burning. This is not made any easier by the different planes flying at different speeds as you might expect. Helicopters fly what seems to be excessively slowly at times, so you really need to think about each aircrafts flight path before you draw it out. Unfortunately you don’t have the luxury of time on your hands as planes come thick and fast the more time progresses.
Presentation wise, Air Control is simple and understated. It does however do the job and all the aircraft types are easily recognisable as well as the flight paths and runways. Flight Control however wins in the presentation battle with its more polished graphics and flight assistant avatar to guide you through the game menus, it provides a richer gaming experience. Alternatively Flight Director has an interesting take in that it uses photo images of terrains and aircrafts and gives a real life look and feel to the game.
What Air Control lacks in its presentation, it makes up for it in an extra puzzle mode. This is where your aircrafts are no longer tied to its designated runways but tied to the the colour or type of the last aircraft that landed on the runway. For instance, if a red commercial aircraft landed on a particular runway, then the next aircraft will either have to be red or another commercial aircraft of another colour. Luckily there is an icon next to the runway to show you what the last aircraft type and colour was for each runway. This additional game option opens up a new dynamic to the gameplay giving a whole new challenge for you to overcome.
Verdict 3.5/5: Air Control is a challenging game, possibly a little too challenging for most as you will need to invest some considerable time and effort to get over the initial learning curve. Traffic Control may be a better option for some, with its slicker graphics and more forgiving difficulty level. However once you get past the learning hurdle, the rewards are there, with the prospect of your name appearing on the various regional and global leader boards or simply just beating your own personal best will provide you enough gratification to keep wanting more.
NB Air Control comes in a Lite flavour also, so no need to reach for your wallet to give it a try. Annoying adverts are present in this version although it should give you enough of an idea to make a decision to buy the full game or not.
Air Control tips from Android Games Review
- Make sure all the planes are flying in the same direction in order to reach their destination runway. For instance as a rule of thumb, all planes should either fly clockwise or anti-clockwise even if it takes much longer to land. This is important once there are a high number of planes on the screen as it’s impossible to manage. Obviously there will be exceptions however if you are just starting out then it’s essential that you follow this rule.
- Take notice of the speed of each aircraft and make small adjustments to change the aircraft ordering. So using the above rule, all aircraft should be on a similar path, so you will need to make small adjustments to each aircraft’s flight path in order to make the faster plane overtake the slower one.
- Keep scanning the skies for any upcoming collisions, you will need to keep your wits about you and stay one step ahead in order to conquer this game.
Developers: Four Pixels