Flight Control Rocket, Firemint’s follow-up to their hit path management game, has been published by EA and is available from the app store. Despite its out-of-this-world theme, variety of interactive aircraft, and continued engaging gameplay, the inclusion of a bunch of typical freemium tactics meant to drain your wallet have practically erased the goodwill built up by its predecessor.
Flight Control Rocket Pros:
- Brightly-colored graphics and throwback style give the game a unique look and feel
- Bubbly pop soundtrack
- Simple line-drawing mechanics
- Variety of new ships with distinct abilities
- Robots add depth to the game
- GameCenter leaderboards and achievements to earn
Flight Control Rocket Cons:
- Overbearing calls for IAP and limitations of new features diminish enjoyment
- Some control responsiveness issues
- Sequel has complicated the simplicity that made the original so much fun
This go ‘round, we take even further to the skies, passing out of our atmosphere and into the realm of outer space. With a large mothership of sorts acting as the single available map, you’ll need to land aircraft of red, green, and yellow upon corresponding landing sites by tracing paths from the aimless vessels to their proper runways without causing collisions. Chaining landings of the same color together will activate a multiplier that can really boost your score, but the sheer number of aircraft on-screen at any given time makes this a challenging task. Similarly, the unique characteristics of some craft compound the difficulty, as you’ll need to manage strings of vessels, as well as vessels that split into two, send smaller craft ahead, or release smaller craft in their wake. There are also carriers containing roughly a dozen ships to send forth, and ships that change speed when a path connects it to a runway. Recognizing the various members of the fleet and factoring in its properties on the fly can make your head spin. Of course, to end our efforts with a single crash would seem like cruel and unusual punishment, so FCR gives you three lives to rack up as many points as possible. Each collision will actually wipe any remaining aircraft off of the screen, giving you a bit of a fresh start to recompose and press on.
Coins appear on-screen from time to time, collected with a tap and used to purchase access to Odyssey mode, as well as robots, gems, and special perks that alter the gameplay in various ways. Continuations of current games can also be purchased for a few hundred coins. Equipping certain robots can increase the value of landing random aircraft, as well as cause coins to appear more often, give you extra lives, and much more. Unfortunately, most of these elements require so many coins that you’ll need to spend real-world money to take advantage, a concept that has never sat well with us. It feels like a bit of a slap in the face. Additionally, there are a number of small annoyances that became apparent after playing for a bit. The snake-like lines of yellow planes are difficult to manage, often crashing into one another unless given a wide turn radius. Leading them along the screen edges can also find you in a position where a new craft flashing in from the same area pretty much guarantees a crash as you simply cannot lead the yellow planes quickly out of the way as you could with a single craft. Touches don’t always register and locking on to a landing site is somewhat spotty, as well.
Graphically, Flight Control Rocket has a eye-catching style that uses a lot of color and artwork that would look right at home several decades ago. This is not to say that it looks outdated, but rather that it does a nice job of evoking feelings from a bygone era. The ship colors are easy to distinguish from one another and their body types make them fairly easy to identify at a quick glance once you get use to what each type does. The background fades in and out from one color to another, and the scrolling planets and interstellar bodies create a feeling of movement. There are some items that can be confused for aircraft, and vice versa, which also led to some unnecessary and unexpected collisions as we had not factored certain objects into our management plan. The soundtrack is a catchy pop tune that promises to berate you long after you’ve stopped playing with its ability to stick in your head and manifest itself at unfortunate times. The drag controls are simple to use, but not always as responsive or reliable as we’d like.
Replay value would be very good if not for the overbearing calls for IAP to make significant progress on the GameCenter leaderboards. There are achievements to earn, but this isn’t really enough to make us abandon the first iteration for this one. A universal app for $0.99, Flight Control Rocket is a disappointing 3-Dimple effort.
Flight Control Rocket Review,