The logic of the small child trapped inside you dictates that setting things in space makes them much better. It's because space is big and mysterious, full of wonders undreamed of in your humdrum existence.
That's the same thinking that's gone into Flight Control Rocket, Firemint's sequel to the iOS smash hit Flight Control. The Australian studio has taken the template and gone intergalactic.
Space is certainly bigger than a landing strip, but is it better?Red ones go faster
The basic mechanics of the game remain the same. You have to guide red, yellow, and green spaceships onto the correspondingly coloured runways that sit atop your mothership. To do this, you draw a trajectory on the screen from ship to landing site.
Rather than receiving a single point for each vehicle you shepherd back to base, you're given a few, which you can increase by chaining together landings of the same colour. Different ships move at different speeds, and some spew out new ships as they travel, so keeping on top of things is essential.
Other carrier ships occasionally pop up, too, and you have to disgorge their cargo before they fly off for big rewards and a feeling of flight-controlling satisfaction.Robots for all
The new interstellar setting naturally gives Firemint more scope for experimentation. As well as the new ship types, it's also thrown upgradeable robots into the mix. You can equip these at the start of a play, and they grant various bonuses and buffs.
The more you play with a robot, the more powerful it becomes, gaining XP with every jaunt through the cosmos. Power crystals let you augment their XP-gaining ability, letting you rack in the points and power up your robo-troops.
An in-game shop lets you purchase new robots and power crystals with the money you earn from your landing endeavours, or you can splash the real-life cash and get the upgrades straight away.Lost in space
With an art style that makes it look like a sci-fi cartoon from the '50s, and a soundtrack that's guaranteed to get lodged in your brain after about eight seconds, Flight Control Rocket is certainly a shiny and impressive package.
What it's gained in power-ups and pretties, though, it's lost in focus. There was an honesty to the first game - a simple, unsullied line-drawing pleasure that all the extra gewgaws, bells, and whistles here obscure.
It's still the same basic experience, and it's still an inexplicably addictive, attention-stealing time-sink. What it lacks is the simple, endearing charm of its predecessor.
Space is vast, and full of crazy things that could never happen on a small runway in the middle of a dull green field, but after a while you'll be pining for a less complex life. Flight Control Rocket has its head way up in the skies, but you'll find your heart being constantly dragged back down to earth.