Harbor Master HD
| Harbor Master HD

The ability to multi-task is one of those things you either have or you don't.

We can blame a variety of factors, like distractions or pure manliness, but the simple truth for some of us is that our brains just don't have the capacity to focus on too many things at once. Which is why the original Harbor Master hurt my brain.

Once the number of ships on screen reached a certain level in this nautical line-drawing game, things got intense, but the original Harbor Master had enough charm to compel you to guide the ships home, at least for a while.

One big sea

Harbor Master HD brings the maritime hijinks to iPad, though this time it's free with the inclusion of a bonus map and a clever advert encouraging you to buy the original iPhone and iPod touch version. It's bigger in resolution of course, although the content has been stripped down.

As before, ships sail onto the screen and you neatly direct them into the appropriately coloured docks in order to offload cargo. Of course, you have to manage harbour traffic to ensure that vessels don't crash into each other and send their cargo down to Davy Jones's locker.

The larger iPad screen enables a greater number of ships to come into port, which sounds challenging until you realise just how overwhelming it is managing dozens of boats on high-definition display.

Initially it's a great deal of fun, but once the number of boats on screen starts to pile up, it soon becomes too much to handle.

Good things come in small packages

Quite simply, the additional space has ratcheted up the difficulty. The map is big, but the boats haven't scaled up in proportion. This becomes more obvious if you load up the original version and play it full-screen. With just one map Harbor Master HD has to be more challenging, but the lack of other levels does change the dynamic.

You can get a friend help you deal with the throngs of ships thanks to multi-touch, but there's a lot more that could have been done in this regard. I suppose we'll have to wait for the proper sequel.

Still, Harbor Master HD does have one thing over the iPhone version - it's free - so you really cargo ("can't go") wrong.

Harbor Master HD

While Harbor Master HD retains the straightforward line-drawing gameplay of the original, the just to high definition makes it overwhelming
Mike Rose
Mike Rose
An expert in the indie games scene, Mike comes to Pocket Gamer as our handheld gaming correspondent. He is the author of 250 Indie Games You Must Play.