Flight simulators have always been popular, but the real fun--at least where Flight Control HD is concerned--is in coordinating the landing of all those planes. Like its iPhone and iPad counterparts, this $4.99 app is a deceptively simple game: Simply draw a flight path for planes with your finger. The trick is to stop the planes from crashing into each other as they prepare to land.
Launch Flight Control HD from the dock and you're greeted with breezy music and a 1950s motif, complete with a prim-looking flight attendant. As with Angry Birds, the controls for Flight Control HD are different on a PC due to the lack of a touchscreen. Instructions appear before the game starts, but we found them slightly confusing at first. It took us a while to realize that we needed to hold down the touchpad button while selecting a plane, then draw the flight path before releasing the touchpad button.
Incoming planes and helicopters are directed to three different landing sites depending on their color. Planes turn white once you create a flight path for them. The more planes you land safely, the higher your rank within the game and the more achievements you can earn. There are eight levels included in Flight Control HD, three of which are immediately available. The other five levels will unlock as you land more planes. The first level starts easily enough, with just a couple planes making long, leisurely approaches. Soon enough, planes and helicopters are flying in from all sides, making it difficult to safely land everything without a collision. One crash and your game is over.
Flight Control HD picks up the pace very quickly, but it's also very addictive because it's so easy to jump in for a quick game or two. We love the retro presentation, colorful graphics, and intuitive controls. For the casual gamer looking for an OSX alternative to chess or Angry Birds, Flight Control HD is worth the download.