The game we’ve wanted you to see for the longest time is finally here. And of course! It’s moi wonderful!
Harbor Master ($0.99)
Harbor Master is a fantastic chaos management game. Most of you will recognize the insanely addictive and successful Flight Control, and this is that exactly. But better. Yes, better than Flight Control. No questions, the single most addictive game I have ever played on the iPhone. It does have some downfalls, but Keith of Imangi Studios has great plans for this one.
The graphics are cute and sharp. The water background has great gradients and looks great. The individual boats are also very sharp and well crafted, yet there was never any lag. I could not get it to crash or lag what so ever. The menu is also well made, and easy to navigate. I can only recommend that they theme the Online scores and a few other areas to look like the rest of the UI. That is just inconsistent, but overall, fantastic graphics.
The controls are just plain and simple. Touch and drag to the dock, and after the boat unloads it’s cargo, drag it out to sea. But, unlike FC, it gives you multitouch, which can be useful in tight situations. The controls cannot be improved, as they are simple and effective at what they aim to accomplish.
The gameplay is the key aspect to this game, and any game. And this one succeeds. Firemint made Flight Control to be a teaser for the real game, Real Racing. But they were unaware that they had made a game that would inspire clones and remakes, and become a #1 app. They introduced chaos management, an obscure genre, to iPhone. Now, we have THE Flight Control killer.
You have to control the boats coming onscreen into the dock, and back out of said dock. The number of boats at one time increases, and causes disorder, and problems to arise with guiding the boats in and out of the dock. That’s the whole point, last as long as you can, until two boats crash. Simple, addictive fun for people of all ages.
There are three ports included at first release. With the game’s success, more ports are guaranteed. To unlock more ports, you need to dock a certain number of ships. After that, you are free to fire up which ever unlocked port you want to play in. Play til you feel you got the best and submit scores online. Beware, sometimes, even hurricanes pop up especially on world 2.
Sorry guys (or congrats to Imangi Studios) I can’t think of any cons, but here are a few suggestions:
- Alternative mode. Have a mode for the newest players, where you are given a few chances, where you can crash the boats, but there is no online score board.
- Fast forward (and bullet time). Have an option to play double time, and a bullet time for 30 seconds or so.
- Zooming. While it can cause troubles for some, being able to zoom in could really show off the graphics, and moreover, allow precision navigation.
- Course creator. This is huge. If an in game course creator was made, with exchangable codes to allow others to use the course, that would add unlimited replay, and allow customization to suit the individual player.
Overall, a simple, addictive game. It is very much worth the $.99, and far better than Flight Control. I give this my highest score yet, a 9.5/10. Three courses are nice, but really not enough. More are planned though, and I will be awaiting them. It also needs to seperate itself from Flight Control more. Add a kiddie mode, for the new and casual player, and you have yourself a perfect game. Flight Control junkies, meet version 2.0.