Air Traffic Chaos (DS)

By Steven Marsh

Published on Thursday, September 25, 2008

Graphics: 5.00
Sound: 6.00
Gameplay: 6.00
Replays: 3.00
Gamelength: 7.00

Majesco’s “Air Traffic Chaos” is a great game, but it takes a specific kind of person to really appreciate what it has to offer.

“Air Traffic Chaos” is definitely a very random and completely unknown title that many will never even know exists. A game like this will never receive much press and there’s absolutely no marketing campaign to drive the sales of the game up in the USA. Because of those things, I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that that this game is a very special experience that not many people will fall in love with. Hop aboard and be my co-pilot as we delve into the world of “Air Traffic Chaos” for the Nintendo DS.

The visual presentation of “Air Traffic Chaos” fits, but is by no stretch top of the line. For the most part, the 2D graphics are fitting and nostalgic, but there’s simply not much there. The top screen is where the real graphics are displayed, which include various types of weather, airplanes, airports, mountains  trees and all sorts of other neat things. The problem with this is simply that after a while, the seemingly all-encompassing backdrops and airport views all start to blend together because there’s not a lot of variation with the levels. That’s not to say that this game is ugly, but I would have appreciated much more to look at.

Even if the visuals are a bit on the lower end of the spectrum, the audio experience is pleasant. The soundtrack is generally relaxing and catchy while the sound effects and the ATC sounds round the package out and help to immerse the player. You wont be humming the tunes from “Air Traffic Chaos” while you go about your daily business, but it sets the mood of the game perfectly.

“Air Traffic Chaos” is exactly what the title implies and as such, the concept is all about managing air traffic. Taking advantage of the touch screen for a “point and click” interface, the actual gameplay involves simply responding to the requests in a timely manner. If you wait too long or completely ignore a request, your stress meter gradually fills up and when it’s completely filled, it’s game over for the player. This style of gameplay actually feels a lot like “Diner Dash” and “Cake Mania” in some ways, but for anyone needing a little help, the game does include a basic tutorial that will surely do the trick. Once you’re ready to jump in and play, there are 3 difficulties to choose from. The hardest difficulty is nearly impossible at times and can be downright unfair, but even despite that, the game is fun and highly addictive. Players will be managing air traffic for 14 different airlines in 5 different Japanese airports, but there’s a downside. Once the game is over, there’s not much of a reason to go back for seconds. There’s no real unlockables, extra levels, expanded content or anything else. It’s just a straight shot from the first level on the easiest difficulty to the final level of the hardest difficulty. Even though the game is very simple, short and has no replay value, at the retail price of $19.99, it’s not a bad deal if it’s something you can get into. I enjoyed the game a lot, but I wont be playing it again.

Overall, Majesco could be on to something here, but the formula needs many massive improvements and a lot more depth before I’ll be anticipating a sequel.

Pros:
-Relaxing music.
-Very simple gameplay.
-3 difficulty settings.
-Easy to control.
-Highly addictive.
-Low price.

Cons:
-No replay value.
-Sometimes unfair during harder levels.
-Graphics are repetitious at times.
-Gameplay can get stale pretty quickly.

Bottom Line:
I’m sure most people can safely overlook this game and never regret doing so. However, if this actually sounds like something you might get into, definitely consider buying the game. It’s worth the money if you’re one of the few people who can get into it.

Overall Rating: 5.00

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