Air traffic controllers have some of the most important jobs out there — without the passengers even noticing, they route any plane you fly on through the sea of other planes in the air. It’s thanks to them that planes don’t crash into each other mid-flight, and they’re often put under a lot of stress with the amount of planes they’re responsible for at a time.
They deserve a lot more respect and admiration than they actually receive. To better understand what they have to go through, there’s a game available for Android devices where you can test your own skills at controlling the skies.
About Air Control
Air Control is a fun and addicting game of ultimate traffic control. The aim of the game is to tell all aircraft where they should fly in order to land safely at an airport. This however, must be done in a way so that no two aircraft touch each other, otherwise it’s game over and you’ll have to start again. Scoring works by counting the number of aircraft that have safely landed at the airport.
When you first launch the app, you’re faced with a simple screen that lets you navigate around it, including buttons to start the game, go to the app’s settings, and change maps.
When you choose between different maps, you also have a choice between two different game modes. The classic game mode is the mode you want to control aircraft and land them safely. There’s also puzzle mode, where you also have to be careful of the colors of the aircraft in order to keep the game going. Once you’ve selected a map and how you’d like to play it, you can start the game, and in no time at all you’ll start controlling!
Aircraft come in from the four sides of your screen, but you’ll see an exclamation mark appear before the actual plane does. You must then control the aircraft — a red jetliner, a blue propeller plane, or a yellow helicopter — by tapping on it and drawing out a route it should follow to the runway or helipad at the airport where it should land. Make sure that you draw out straight lines when you’re approaching the runways so that the line will flash, letting you know that the route is complete. Otherwise, the plane will fly along the route, but not know that it was supposed to descend and land on that runway.
Easy, right? The challenge appears whenever you have to start juggling around multiple aircraft, making sure that they don’t crash into each other. If you have drawn out routes for two different aircraft and then realize that they will crash unless you intervene, you can tap on one of the aircraft again and redraw a new route. The aircraft in question should instantly follow the new route, avoiding the collision that would have otherwise occurred.
In puzzle mode, aircraft take on completely different colors and the rules are different too. This mode dictates that you can only land aircraft on runways where the color or plane-type matches that of the last plane which landed there. Dragging an incompatible plane to a runway will force it to fly there, but it won’t actually land at the airport. A little revolving plane will appear next to the runway displaying what color and plane-type last landed at that runway, so you won’t be completely lost as more and more planes appear.
For a very fun and fairly simple game, it is quite advanced as you’ll see whenever you take a peek in the settings. You can enable and disable hardware acceleration, highlight effects, cloud effects, framerate counter, automatic fast forward mode, and taxi simulation. These settings are great for devices which may have less power, as this app supports devices as low as Android 1.6 (T-Mobile G1/HTC Dream, anyone?).
To install, simply search the Google Play Store for “air control”, then choose Air Control Lite. If you’re lazy, you can also just follow this link from your device or desktop and install from there. There’s also the full-version Air Control which costs $2.99, but it includes a couple more maps, an ad-free experience, and some extra aircraft. If you’re running a tablet, you may be interested in Air Control HD, which is a HD variant of the full version which also costs $2.99.
Overall, this is one of my favorite games because it doesn’t take too long to play one session, yet it’s addicting and challenging, making you want to get better at both the game as well as your self-control. If you need something to kill some time with, while improving your thinking and observational skills, Air Control is definitely a game worth trying out!
What’s your favorite Android game? How does Air Control compare to it? Let us know in the comments!
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