WiiWare | Firemint | 1-4 Players (co-operative play) | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
Controller Compatibility: Wii Remote (pointer)
More Related Articles: See bottom of page
27th August 2011; By KnucklesSonic8
Flight Control. I first experienced the game on an iPad and quickly found myself drawn in by its addictive appeal. So much so, in fact, that I was led to purchase the DSiWare version. Even today, Flight Control is one of my most played DSiWare games and I don't see myself tiring of it anytime soon. Making the move to WiiWare was a natural fit, and with this move came the potential to extend gameplay further towards a more multiplayer-oriented experience. Did Firemint use this to their advantage to craft a must-have WiiWare purchase?
For those that are unfamiliar with how Flight Control works, all that you're doing is guiding a regular flow of incoming planes, jets and helicopters to fixed runways and helipads. Red and yellow planes each have their own specific runways as do the blue and green helicopters. When two planes start invading each other's personal space, a warning will sound and a red bubble will appear around the troublemakers in question. If they end up crashing, your game ends.
To play the game, you start by aiming at the screen with the Wii Remote's pointer to bring up your hand cursor. Select a plane by pressing and holding the A Button, draw a path for it to follow, and then release the button once you've done so. If you need to quickly jump to another plane, you can cut a path short by pressing the B Button. There is a fast-forward function set to the Minus Button for when you want to speed up gameplay. The game will revert back to its normal pace whenever the red warnings pop up, but this automatic "safety lock" can be disabled by quickly pressing the Minus Button twice. It’s a good thing, too, because I found it irritating to not be able to control this ability completely.
The positioning of the landing platforms changes with each location you visit. There are five different ones to choose from, including a classic grassland environment and a sea area. For the most part there aren't too many differences between them, but some locations do have unique features. The Australian-themed one, for example, will randomly throw in AI-controlled planes that need to emergency crash-land on one of the runways. There's also an island with four runways where shifting wind directions alternate which ones are active. So there's definitely enough motivation to play each of them fairly equally.
Strategy comes into play as you try to guide each one to its respective home with the flow of traffic increasing with the more points earned. Players will find themselves thinking on the fly, making sure to monitor all signs of danger and avert disaster before it strikes. Sometimes, you need to make a plane travel in a circle by drawing squiggly lines just so that you can concentrate on the higher-priority flights. Consider, too, the fact that planes can bounce off the edges of your TV screen, so you can purposely misdirect them in this way as well.
With this concept in place, the theme of travel becomes top-of-mind, which certainly helps convey an overall feeling of relaxation amid some challenging situations. More than just being a relaxing experience, though, Flight Control is a highly addictive one. If you've ever played the game before on a different platform, you'd know that 10 or even 20 minutes can go by in a flash. High score tables are present for each field, meaning that you'll see much reason to replay levels where you may not have done so well. Depending on the score you've earned, you'll also be given ranks like "Passenger", "Cabin Crew" and "Pilot". Players input their names by drawing in an on-screen signature box, adding a bit of a personal touch to records.
As I touched on at the outset, bringing this once mobile-only game to the big screen presents new possibilities in the way of multiplayer. And I'm happy Firemint wasn't blind to this. This iteration of Flight Control features drop-in co-op for up to 4 players, making this a great way to pass time as a family or see how well you work together. It would have been nice if the developers also included an additional multiplayer mode, but I suppose they might have felt that a more competitive presence would have conflicted with the overall feel.
On the matter of content, though, this is one aspect of the game where I feel Firemint didn't push the button more. The thing is, if you're going to bring it to this platform, there are certain expectations that should be met. Considering the original game was released in 2009 and given the number of platforms it's been ported to since then, it's not unreasonable to say that more areas could have been included. Again, there are only five to play on -- the very same ones you've seen across all iterations of this game. There are no exclusive maps to be seen here, which is very disappointing. Not that the game suffers considerably without one, but I would have viewed the package much more positively had they gone the extra mile to do that.
Presentation is definitely a strength here. When a successful landing has taken place, encouraging words such as "Aloha" and "Commendable" will appear, once again tying in with the overall vacation-like feel. What's more, I absolutely love the smoothness of it all -- the cursor's movements, the plane animations, everything. Even with the fast-forward function, Flight Control's design and wise colour choices just say relaxation to me.
Sadly, there is no music to be heard during gameplay. After the main tune plays out, the game becomes almost silent. Yes, the odd "Whoosh!" or "Ding!" sound effect is heard alongside the warning sounds, but other than that there's nothing. Personally, I would have liked a bit more atmosphere, but since this is the same way it's always been with other versions of the game, I have learned to live without it. I really shouldn't have to, though.
If you're in it for the addictiveness, then you'll find Flight Control to be very enjoyable. Combine that with the easily-discernible pick-up-and-play focus as well as a fun co-operative option for multiplayer, and it's not difficult to see why Flight Control is so easy to come back to. The package could have used a bit more strengthening up to be truly worth the $5, but it's still a good purchase for families and first-time players.
22/30 - Good
Gameplay 9/10 - Pick-up-and-play focus, good controls, all about quick decisions and proper management, some fields have unique differences
Presentation 7/10 - Really fluid and smooth animations, great colours, inexcusably light on music, overall design ties in well with the relaxing feel
Enjoyment 4/5 - Fun co-op for up to 4 players, relaxing to play, very addicting and challenging as time goes on
Extra Content 2/5 - Definitely should have included more maps, motivating high score tables, light package even with the co-op, value isn't strong
Equivalent to a score of 73% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)