Flight Control for iPhone: Simply Addictive [iPhone Game Review]

BY Jason

Published 13 Apr 2009

iPhone game - Flight Control

Flight Control is a simple and addictive touch based iPhone game. I must have played this game more than any other game that I have bought so far.

This game comes from the Firemint team and what started as a personal project for it's CEO has turned out to be one of the most popular games for the iPhone, in fact is currently the top paid iPhone app on the App Store.

Objective of the game:

  • The objective of the game is very simple. As the name suggests, flight control, involves managing and landing different aircrafts. For each aircraft that you manage to land safely, you are rewarded with a point. The game ends if and when a crash happens.
  • The game starts off with three different landing zones at the backdrop for different types of aircraft.
  • The biggest and longest landing zone is meant for larger airplanes.
  • The smaller landing zone is meant for landing the smaller planes, airplanes resembles the Tiger Moth from the 30s.
  • The third landing zone is a helipad meant for landing the helicopters.
  • The user can control the movement of each aircraft simply by touching the aircraft and dragging a path ending inside the runway.

Game Play & Features:

  • Firemint has kept the game play and user interface very intuitive. So much so that I didn't have to even go through the tutorial provided.
  • The user can control the movement of each aircraft simply by touching the aircraft and dragging a path ending inside the runway.
  • The game starts off with an airport with three different landing zones, green fields and make-shift clouds.
  • I liked the attention to details, the landing zones and aircraft can be associated with their color. 
  • The red colored aircraft to land on the red colored landing zone.
  • The yellow colored aircraft to land on the yellow colored landing zone.
  • The blue colored helicopters to land on blue colored helipad.
  • Before an aircraft appears on the gaming screen, a rounded exclamation sign shows up as an indicator. This is especially important, if you have a clustered airfield and need to change the course of your aircraft in order to avoid collision.
  • The aircraft turns white when you have assigned it a clear landing path. Once white, you can focus on other incoming aircraft (assuming it's not in a collision course).
  • After setting a path for an aircraft, if you double-click then it abandons it designated flight path.
  • Every successful landing is acknowledged by an applauding adjective: 'Fabulous', 'good job' etc..
  • If two or more aircraft get close enough then a proximity circle appears around them. This serves as a warning that the aircraft might be on collision course. Yes, the smartest thing to do is to change the course of one or more aircraft.
  • On top of the gaming screen, there are two tickers, one displays the number of aircraft that you have landed so far in the game and the second one shows your highest score.
  • At the bottom right of the gaming screen, there is a pause button. The game can only be paused for that particular session. Once you come out of the app it does not resume the game.
  • Flight Control allows you to play your own music.
  • You can also see your stats such as most like aircraft you are likely to crash, total number of aircraft landed etc.

Here are some screenshots of the game:

iPhone game - Flight Control

iPhone game - Flight Control

iPhone game - Flight Control

iPhone game - Flight Control
Photo of the high score: Courtesy reader Jeff

iPhone game - Flight Control
Photo of the high score: Courtesy reader Ryan

iPhone game - Flight Control
Photo of the high score: Courtesy reader Ian

iPhone game - Flight Control
Photo of the high score: Courtesy reader waisup

Tips to play the game: 

  • The game is fairly simple, but it gets complicated when more aircraft appear on the screen as it increases the chances of a crash!
  • The game play until you reach '15 points' is quite straight forward. It is after you have accumulated the first 15 points that the game starts getting complicated.
  • Don't try to land each and every aircraft that you see on the gaming screen this will leave you with a cluster of aircraft, and you will be forced to change the course of your aircraft more often than not.
  • Land the fastest aircraft first, and that would be the biggest one.
  • Keep the aircraft around a specific area. ex: I try and keep the helicopters around the top right corner of the screen. This is because helicopters are painfully slow, and if I don't sort their course early on then they become a death trap for all my faster aircraft.
  • Keep your aircraft as far away as possible from the corners and edges of the screen. Although, you are alerted with a warning sign I found this warning system of little help as sometimes it didn't give you sufficient time and space to maneuver.
  • Keep revisiting the aircraft even if you have already created a landing path for it, and while you are at it, make sure that you reduce the flight path to as shortest route as possible.
  • The landing pad of helicopters is a bit tricky it goes red with warning system even when two helicopters are not going to crash.

It would have been nice to have the following features: 

  • The ability to 'save' and 'resume' the game.
  • The 'play your own sound' message that appears this could be added in some 'settings' tab because I find it annoying when each time I open the game it asks me the same question.
  • The ability to turn off the 'applauding adjectives'. I find them a little distracting when my air space is clustered.
  • The ability to turn off the 'high score' and the 'aircraft landed' option. They do cover some part of the gaming screen and again, do not offer any help. As for me, I only look at my scores after I have crashed some of the aircraft.
  • Firemint could improve the stickiness of the app by adding a social feature where one can check the high scores made by other iPhone/iPod Touch users.
  • Different levels of game play, with an increased difficulty level, adding some more effects to the otherwise monotonous air field. Start the game all over again is quite painful, but it's only a $0.99, so maybe I'm asking for too much.


Flight Control is a highly addictive game. It's simplicity is its one of the biggest selling points.

I have difficulty keeping my hands off this game and is worth its current price of $0.99 (regular price is $2.99).

There are very few iPhone games that are available on the App Store that you can say are just made for the iPhone. Flight Control along with Frenzic and Killer Pool that we have reviewed earlier falls in that category.

Please don't forget to let us know your thoughts on the iPhone game. As you can see, Jeff's high score is 332, Ryan's score is 259, Ian's high score is 242 and waisup's high score is 147 as seen in the screenshots above  my highest score so far is 113, let me know if you can do better and a screenshot of your high score would be even better.

Thanks Jeff, Ryan, Ian and waisup for the screenshots.

Flight Control 1.1: Addictive iPhone Game gets even Better

[Firemint's website, download Flight Control from this direct iTunes link]