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You must have played Flight Control on your iDevice right?  Sure you have, it just might not have been the original Flight Control by Firemint.  Even if you’re devoid of an Apple product you will have most likely played something similar on a score of flash based games sites.

The thing that made Firemint’s version of this formula compelling was the clean presentation and well balanced gameplay approach.  Has this made the transition to the PS3?  More importantly, does the Move controller bork it all up? Hit the jump to find out!

The idea behind Flight Control HD is a simple one.  You have a series of planes of varying colours and types.  Each coloured aircraft will correspond to a coloured runway or landing pad.  You simply direct the correctly coloured craft to the relevant coloured runway.  Easy huh?  In the great tradition of these types of games, it’s hugely simple to play but incredibly difficult to fully master.

Now on a touch screen device life is pretty simple.  You drag your finger from object A, drawing a path to object B.  Replacing that mechanic with a controller was worrying me and playing with just a Dual Shock controller proved frustrating at times.  The implementation of the controls on the controller, to be frank, are the best they could be.  Firemint have been clever using some auto snap-on and little touches to aid you. It still feels a little unwieldy though and the game loses some of its shine very quickly.

It’s fortunate, then, that Sony produced the Move controller because it essentially saves the game and drags it screaming to your big screen with motion control loveliness.  The Move implementation is simple.  Just wait for the exclamation mark to appear at the end of a screen notifying you of an impending arrival, point the Move to the newly emerged plane or helicopter and then, holding down a button, you trace the line on screen to the landing area of choice.  It’s that simple and it works so beautifully it seems like the natural choice.

The visuals of the game have obviously been cranked up a notch as they are going from a small screen to large front room environments.  Each level is rendered in crisp 1080p (if your panel allows) and is wonderfully coloured and realised.  A slight cartoonish style dominated the entire production but it never reaches child like caricatures or over saturated colours.  On the harder difficulty levels the resolution is noticeably high and if you have a smallish TV and sit a reasonable distance away you might find it a little difficult to see what is going on at times.

Sound wise there is little to report out of the ordinary: everything you would expect is in place.  Plane sounds, helicopter sounds and crashes are all evident.  The music that accompanies the game, especially the title track, is good and catchy and sticks in your head for a few days after play.

The big issue facing this implementation is can the Move controller keep pace with the crescendo of on-screen action?  Well, surprisingly, yes it can – just.  Let’s be honest, this game could be made for the Wii (without the HD moniker I hope!) as the Wiimote and Wiimotion Plus would make it almost as good as the Move controller.  If this was the case it would still pale in comparison next to the PS3’s Move edition.

The fidelity and minimal lag of the device means you can keep pace of the frantic action with relative ease.  Sure, there are a few moments when things might not react as you expect them to but for the most part, and I’m talking 99% of the time, the game just works.  Really, really well.  There are a total of nine maps in the game, which includes an exclusive Japanese-inspired map called Metropolis.  Some may find the nine maps a little limiting but the fun comes from repeatedly playing the maps to better scores and times.

This game is not meant to take up days and days of your time.  It’s not supposed to be a revelation in motion control.  It’s supposed to be a fun, cheap, downloadable title that amuses and entertains.  As such Firemint have crafted a perfect time waster of a game that will keep you popping back for weeks and weeks for some drop-in casual fun.

Rating Category
7.5 Presentation
Crisp HD graphics that won’t exactly trouble God of War 3 in the visual stakes. The look is fresh, clean and fits the subject matter perfectly. The higher resolutions on the more complex maps would be best on a 32” plus screen though. Heck it even has a 3D mode!
How does our scoring system work?
8.5 Gameplay
Fiendishly simple gameplay sucks you in and keeps you coming back for more. The urge to better your results or beat a friend compels you on.
6.0 Sound
Nothing really remarkable to report. The sound in the game is 100% functional. The music on the other hand is top notch and the tunes will stick in your head for days after play.
7.5 Longevity
Having nine maps might prove troublesome to people always needing fresh content to best. The point of this game, as in other puzzle games, is to better you skills at a chosen level rather than to progress to a checkpoint.
7.5 Overall
This game is cheap and incredible fun for anyone with a Move controller. If you have a Dual Shock only it might be a little fiddlier than needs be. This is a fantastic buy from the PSN Store and offers a game that will keep you entertained for hours for very little outlay.

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