Firemint's smash hit, Flight Control, was such a perfect fit on the iPhone screen that the prospect of a HD version on the iPad seemed unnecessary, especially since it's not a universal release. But a funny thing happened on the way to the iPad: Flight Control became arguably even more fun in transition.
True story! Like the original release, Flight Control HD is all about quick reflexes, careful management, and a precise finger – as specially colored airplanes and helicopters head towards a handful of runways and landing pads, you have to draw paths that guide them to the ground while avoiding collisions. It's dead simple enough for grandparents and toddlers, but quickly becomes intense as a dozen or more fast-moving icons fight for airspace.
What the iPad does to enhance the core gameplay is give you a much larger space to play with, and instead of just super-sizing the existing planes and environments (though it does also include the original iPhone stages in that format), the levels have been reworked to allow for more planes, and thus, more mayhem. Flight Control HD also packs a novelty 3D stage, using cheapo red-and-blue glasses, as well as split-screen and online competitive multiplayer, plus a dual-iPad co-op mode. Don't let the casual branding fool you – Flight Control HD is great fun for all sorts of gamers.
Jenga, the classic block-stacking party game, wasn’t one that we were really expecting to hit the touch screen interface of the iPad – especially following the dismal Wii and Nintendo DS versions from three years back – but it's here. And shockingly, it works pretty well, considering the obvious control differences between the physical version and the app.
As in the real-life game, Jenga HD is all about pushing and pulling wooden blocks from a sleek tower without letting it crumble, and then further ratcheting up the tension by then putting that piece on top. While the iPad can't perfectly recreate the dreadful sensation of being at fault for the mess of bricks scattered all over the coffee table, it does ably put you in control of the blocks before that happens. Simply tap the block you want to control and either push towards the tower or pull away from it to start yanking it free. The tower shakes and sways just as in real life, and the game even looks quite nice, with high-resolution wood textures. That’s right: HD wood blocks.
Jenga HD includes a pass-and-play mode for up to four players, or you can play solo – or just take your turns like civilized humans – in the less regulated classic mode. An arcade mode rounds out the package, with colored bricks that are worth different point totals and bonus points awarded for speedy play. It probably won't replace the original for many fans, but it's reasonably priced and available in a snap. Plus, cleanup is as simple as tapping the home screen button – perhaps the best change of all.
Jan 5, 2011