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Air Traffic Chaos (DS)


dunkle
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Ok, I admit it.

I love Air Traffic Chaos. :D

It's just so... so... well, I don't know what. It's equal parts exciting, frustrating, cutesy, taxing, rewarding... all in very much a complete sandbox world. It's such a simple concept and therefore limited by its scope, but what it does it does well. I know it shouldn't be so enjoyable. My brain tells me it's a ridiculous premise for a full-price title, but still I find myself going back, mid-air collision after ground-collision, trying to get everyone to land safely or get off on their holidays.

You can't customise anything, you can't unlock anything, hell, there's very little 'game' in the purest sense. But it's ace.

I genuinely urge everyone to try it. I really do.

I'm off to enjoy sitting inside while it snows outside, shuffling planes in my holding pattern.

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One of my favourite games of last year, but it's shocking that it doesn't have a game and watch mode, where it just continues getting gradually faster and faster until a cock up becomes inevitable. As it is, you can only play for sessions of two virtual hours, and it's so frustrating not getting points for a landing plane when the session is over and it's inches away from landing.

Great fun, though, despite its flaws. 7/10.

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7/10's harsh, IMO. It's a game that'd definitely benefit from a bit of spit and polish - if a big publisher had picked this up, or if someone made a sequel, then it'd likely be a masterpiece - but there's so much it gets right. Its ruleset is deceptively simple - though in reality it doesn't change an awful lot bar adding more traffic and forcing you to factor in wind strength and suchlike, the simple act of increasing the number of planes makes it feel more complex, and yet you always have the right tools at your disposal to sort any situation out. It's incredibly satisfying when you finish a shift.

I think the DS is probably the perfect home for the game - I thought a WiiWare version could perhaps do the idea justice, but it's a game that requires the immediacy of touchscreen control. For me, it was one of the best surprises of 2008, and definitely in the top three DS games I played last year.

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It is fun, but the lack of the free play mode and not having an option to cancel an order issued are serious flaws, in my opinion. The latter seems especially silly when pilot stress is one of the measures of how well you are doing. Surely it would have been better to have this option and let it send the stress level up a bit. A few times I have realised I ordered the wrong plane to speed up, and have had to sit and watch it catch up with and crash into the plane immediately in front of it in the stack.

7/10 to me is fun but with a few flaws.

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I agree it's flawed, but for me the measure of a good game is one you go back to. On the DS, it's a game I play and play, usually get frustrated with and snap the clamshell shut. And then re-open it and fire it up again. Which is what ATC makes me do, time and time again...

I'm not sure you should be able to cancel orders though. Half of the fun is the requirement to balance the risk of incurring 'time' penalties (i.e. reduced points) along with raised stress levels while you ponder an order with a view to getting things moving. It's like when you know that planes are going to end up backing up in 'the stack' and you're in a quandary as to whether to tie up radio time to get them spaced correctly while ignoring planes which are landing or taking off... it's the balance of shifting your focus in the face of increasing pressure... I love it! I'm probably a masochist! :(

As for the comments regarding free-play, I completely agree. I'd actually like a free-play segment where you can keep the setting on novice and just spend some time 'in the zone' landing planes and relaxing. I find it quite therapeutic if I'm honest! What also could be fun is (via ds download play) the option to multiplayer it, with planes you've successfully 'launched' getting sent to your competitors. Or a co-op mode where you can transfer planes to someone else's airport if you're getting stacked up, etc. Maybe something for the sequel?

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I'm not sure you should be able to cancel orders though. Half of the fun is the requirement to balance the risk of incurring 'time' penalties (i.e. reduced points) along with raised stress levels while you ponder an order with a view to getting things moving. It's like when you know that planes are going to end up backing up in 'the stack' and you're in a quandary as to whether to tie up radio time to get them spaced correctly while ignoring planes which are landing or taking off... it's the balance of shifting your focus in the face of increasing pressure... I love it! I'm probably a masochist! :(

Totally agree. And yeah, it's a real masochist's game. It dares you to try again, silently calling you back to the DS when you've snapped it shut in a fit of rage after crashing two planes on the ground about 30 seconds before the end of your shift.

As for the comments regarding free-play, I completely agree. I'd actually like a free-play segment where you can keep the setting on novice and just spend some time 'in the zone' landing planes and relaxing. I find it quite therapeutic if I'm honest! What also could be fun is (via ds download play) the option to multiplayer it, with planes you've successfully 'launched' getting sent to your competitors. Or a co-op mode where you can transfer planes to someone else's airport if you're getting stacked up, etc. Maybe something for the sequel?

That sounds amazing. We should club together to buy the rights (can't be that much) and get some ace handheld dev to make it.

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I do really like this game and recently got two friends addicted to it as I had my DS on me and just said, here look, it's an air traffic control game and they were both borrowing the DS off each other throughout the evening...

I do find it a shame that it is short and a free play would be great, the fact that it does almost become a matter of memory is a bit of a blessing and a curse though. More runways and a multiplayer (even a weird sort of co-op between air staff and ground staff maybe) would be great.

Oh and a bloody hi-score table so you can record what scores other people get, as opposed to just the one best score.

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Oh and a bloody hi-score table so you can record what scores other people get, as opposed to just the one best score.

I'l set up a thread in scores shortly.

Mine are shocking. Love it, but i'm useless. Mostly beginner or novice scores. No completed experts as yet. Only had it a week mind you...

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I'm not sure you should be able to cancel orders though. Half of the fun is the requirement to balance the risk of incurring 'time' penalties (i.e. reduced points) along with raised stress levels while you ponder an order with a view to getting things moving. It's like when you know that planes are going to end up backing up in 'the stack' and you're in a quandary as to whether to tie up radio time to get them spaced correctly while ignoring planes which are landing or taking off... it's the balance of shifting your focus in the face of increasing pressure... I love it! I'm probably a masochist! :D

I see your point, but for me the fact that an order is followed blindly and can't be changed, even if it means a mid-air collision, made it much less realistic and stripped away some of the feeling of involvement. I think the game would be better allowing this to happen once or maybe even twice, but very much reducing your score each time. Third time and you get sacked for incompetence.

A DSi version, where you download new airports, would be great.

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Oh that's weird, I was just going to start a thread on this thinking no-one else would. Great game, fiendishly compulsive little bugger but so satisfying when you get it right.

Quick question, is there a way of telling whether planes are international or domestic - other than reading the tiny scrolling type or just learning the pattern? A specific issue with Chubu I believe.

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Oh that's weird, I was just going to start a thread on this thinking no-one else would. Great game, fiendishly compulsive little bugger but so satisfying when you get it right.

Quick question, is there a way of telling whether planes are international or domestic - other than reading the tiny scrolling type or just learning the pattern? A specific issue with Chubu I believe.

That's the one where international flights and domestics have different runways is it? I think it only gives you the option of landing them at and dispatching them from the appropriate runways.

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That's the one where international flights and domestics have different runways is it? I think it only gives you the option of landing them at and dispatching them from the appropriate runways.

No, one runway but international and domestic gates. It gets really tricky trying to figure out if you have a free gate available for an arriving plane.

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I see your point, but for me the fact that an order is followed blindly and can't be changed, even if it means a mid-air collision, made it much less realistic and stripped away some of the feeling of involvement. I think the game would be better allowing this to happen once or maybe even twice, but very much reducing your score each time. Third time and you get sacked for incompetence.

A DSi version, where you download new airports, would be great.

Two very, very good points. The latter - hell, yes.

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No, one runway but international and domestic gates. It gets really tricky trying to figure out if you have a free gate available for an arriving plane.

I think I read that you have to identify it from the ticker, which does make it difficult. I presume the locations are familiar to the japanese players which would make it easier for them?

I always end up clearing a couple of gates, landing some planes and then cursing wildly while my arrivals sit waiting to taxi since they're unable to use the opposing type of gate :D

Similarly, on the multiple-runway airports I think it takes a while to learn the taxi patterns. Would be useful to have this available as a map you could call up or something....

@ Baggie - loving the idea of downloadable airports, especially some European/US alternatives!

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Another massive unashamed ATC fan right here, there is something so so oddly compelling about this game. I find myself losing so many hours of my life trying for the perfect shift. I can't think of many games that leave me with the sense of satisfaction that this does.

Everyone should at least try it.

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I think I read that you have to identify it from the ticker, which does make it difficult. I presume the locations are familiar to the japanese players which would make it easier for them?

I always end up clearing a couple of gates, landing some planes and then cursing wildly while my arrivals sit waiting to taxi since they're unable to use the opposing type of gate :D

Yeah, and it seems regardless of how quickly you order them to hold they still get stressed waiting for a gate.

DLC airports would be great, I'm not so sure about the emergency command suggestion, it would kind of defeat what makes the game compelling - the need to plan ahead for everything. I may well be odd but I find myself cackling like a crazy man when I realize I've just allowed a plane to takeoff just as one is about to land. There's that delicious wait to see if you've got away with it or not.

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http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-9f-49-en-70-37qb.html

http://www.play-asia.com/paOS-13-71-9f-77-...en-70-37qc.html

PSP versions (two different airports it would seem) released on PSP The Best budget range in Japan on March 5th. Looks nicer than the DS version, though I can't help but feel that the simplistic style suits the game better in that you can instantly see where everything's at and make snap decisions much easier. Presumably it's played at a slower pace.

A little digging has also uncovered some PC games, including one in English. Take a look here >> http://www.atc3support.com/ and you can order a copy for PC. It's obviously a little more advanced than the DS game, with a view from the tower and a series of menus rather than one all-encompassing display, but it certainly looks interesting. There's a YouTube video walkthrough here >> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dqv1NPWl1cs

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Right, I see the problem perhaps - I've been in Japan for eight years, and know from the destination whether it's international or not. I didn't think of the fact that some of the more obscure places might not be known to players who've never been here.

I've looked at the PSP games, but I love the touch screen control too much. When they go budget I'll almost certainly pick a PSP game up.

In fact, I'd love an in depth sim-Airport game. It might sound tedious or unworkable, but if prisons can be simme, surely an airport can be made fun too, even if it would have to be on PC not DS.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Bought this after reading the Eurogamer review and it's probably my favorite DS game ever. I really enjoy learning the ins and outs of the airports and optimizing my strategy for each shift. Every level is fully scripted (sequence of arriving planes are always the same, weather is always the same) which makes it possible to work towards a perfect run. Of course, minor changes in your strategy will result in completely different challenges further down the line always requiring you to stay sharp and be inventive with your solutions.

Marvelous game and a 10/10 as far as I'm concerned. Only thing to make it better would be a score-attack mode where the shift doesn't end and you play until you make a mistake or max out the stress.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Not sure if this is bug but I have problem sending the planes to right gate. When I choose "determine gate" after their arrival, I can choose only two out of four gates and what's worse, I can choose only gates that are already full, athought tho others are free. What am I doing wrong?

>> OK, I found it. Seems like you can access some gates only from some runways. All right then. It's annoying as it doesn't make sense. But still, great game!

Edited by bludr
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