Review: Flight Control Rocket, A Fun Game Almost Grounded By Microtransactions (iPad/iOS)

Firemint’s sequel is quite addictive, but a lucrative coin system clearly shows EA’s stamp on the product.

When Flight Control originally came out for the iPad, it introduced gamers to a new kind of puzzle game, one involving rerouting a certain number of planes on a crowded jet way, or risk crashing them into one another and ending your game as a result.  The game has since become an App Store phenomenon, and has seen release for other platforms as well.  Now the development team, collaborating with the bigwigs at Electronic Arts, have returned with a sequel, Flight Control Rocket.  And while the fundamentals are the same, some things are just a bit different – and not entirely in the game’s favor.

In the game, you’re still doing the same thing as before, guiding red, yellow and green ships to their appropriate markers on a spacecraft by drawing a route from point A to point B.  Like the original, you’ll need to keep a close eye for markers that indicate new ships are entering the fray, as you’ll have to quickly maneuver them around in order to avoid a collision.  At first it’s somewhat easy, but later, you’ll be whisking your finger all over the screen, just for the sake of staying in one piece as you score points in both Odyssey (Story) and Infinity (Free Play) modes.  Your high scores are kept track of through leaderboards, so you can always see where you stand after a round.

Where Flight Control Rocket works differently is with the introduction of robots and other elements to increase your performance.  Some of these robots are smaller performance, boosting scores with “critical” points or slowing down certain ships that would otherwise get in the way.  You buy these robots using coins that you gather over the course of the game, along with batteries (to keep them powered) and crystals that can multiply your score.

At first, it’s a nifty system, until you realize that some of the better content in the game requires you to play for hours on end before even coming close to access it, and then finding you need to buy batteries instead.  EA does have a quick solution to this, but it involves dropping actual cash into the game, via microtransactions.  It’s not necessary by any means, but you’ll be grinding through Rocket otherwise, trying to earn rewards the old fashioned way.