So let’s get this out of the way first – this is being typing on an iPad* via the on-screen keyboard (and the pretty good, but not amazing, WordPress App) so this is a bit of a first for Nukoda on a number of fronts.

Flight Control HD is the iPad update of the same game for the iPhone or iPod touch and is an excellent example of the ipads increased screen size over the other Apple gaming devices. Australian developer Firemint has really thought about how the screen works and what goes into making a simple, fun addictive game.

It’s not a perfect iPad game though. It doesn’t take advantage of the device’s more advanced accelerometer and while it is amazingly quick (as is pretty much everything on the iPad) it doesn’t quite make anyone buy an iPad who didn’t already have an interest in one.

It is, however, absolutely worth the $5 for anyone who’s already bought an iPad. Simple fun has never been so accessible, addictive, visually good looking or well done. That not simply a statement on this game only, but games for the iPad in general.

Read on for more.

Flight Control HD is based around a fantastically simple premise, differently coloured airplanes appear on screen, you draw a path from them to the appropriately colored runway (red plane to red runway, green plane to green runway, etc.) while keeping them from crashing. One crash and you’re done.

There are red planes, green sea planes, yellow biplanes, light blue helicopters and orange chinooks, all of which appear at random and with increasing frequency, with little to no regard to your planned flight paths for other planes.

Simple and incredibly addictive.

There’s even a 3D level, though you need generic 3D glasses to use it.

Just remember, one crash, any crash, ends the game. This results in even skilled players just screwing up and missing sometimes, but new players just being attentive enough to do very, very well.

See that ’77′ high score in the corner for this map? That’s my mother.

People who scoffed that the iPad was nothing but a big iPod touch spent hours on it (though to be fair, the game itself does little to disprove the notion itself) trying to beat the high scores both on the device itself and using the Cloudcell username database.

Multiplayer adds another layer to the game – with two iPads, one person gets one colour runway and the other gets the other colour and a helicopter pad. The screens bleed into one another and you have to coordinate with the other player on what comes in where.

It gets very challenging and it’s much, much harder to get high scores with another person, but its still very fun. There are two options, Bluetooth and via wifi, but Bluetooth is easily the best way. We encountered a few lag issues on wifi connections, even N-only networks, that caused planes to be delayed going from one screen to another. Frustrating, but using Bluetooth we never experienced such an issue.

All in all, the game is well crafted and a good display of what a developed can do with the larger screen of the iPad, if nothing else of its considerable technology. It’s a great time waster and even a five year old picked it up without too much trouble.

For $5, it’s a must buy for new iPad owners.

*Unfortunately due to the need to cut pictures down to an appropriate size and dpi, final editing and image insertion had to be done on a computer, still mostly enjoyable and easy.

 

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