Harbor Master Review: Time to Turn in your Pilot’s License?

Harbor Master is the latest game from Imangi Studios, although it feels like the sequel to the immensely popular Flight Control.  If you’ve played Flight Control, you’ll instantly feel at ease with this title.

As ships pull into the harbor, you guide them into an available port by dragging a path with your finger.  A key difference from Flight Control is that you also need to guide ships out of the harbor after they’ve finished docking, to make room for the next one.  There are also some new gameplay elements that try and make the game unique, like tornadoes.  But are these new features enough, or are we just getting a rehashed version of the original classic?

Likes

Dock that cargo: The ships you direct vary in cargo size: quick ships only have one cargo item, while larger ones will have several and slowly crawl through the water.  The amount of cargo also effects the amount of time it takes them to unload at the docks.  This varying time and speed made managing the ships challenging and kept the game feeling fresh.

It’s in the details: I really liked how the gameplay was mixed up with a tornado spinning through the level, on the second docking area.  It’d send a ship off course when one is unfortunate enough to become caught inside of it.  A diversion like this was interesting enough, and I’m sure Imangi will mix it up even more when future updates are released.

Dislikes

Collision Detection: There were quite a few times where I’d try and send a ship out from the docks, only to have it go over a bit of land and crash into the ship docked right next to it.  This was frustrating, and I really expected a ship to respect a safe distance from land.  If they had, this would also mean it wouldn’t crash into a ship immediately beside it.  Also, large ships would sound their proximity horn when docking beside another ship on the third map, which was strange since there was no danger of a collision.

Harbor Master may not be the most unique game on the app store, but for $0.99 it is definitely worth a purchase.  It iterates on the popular Flight Control by adding new features and gameplay elements that make it worth your time.

buy

Harbor Master was developed by Imangi Studios and is available for $0.99.  I played on version 1.0 on an iPod Touch 2G.  I went through each map multiple times, and in different sessions.

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