Review

Air Control Review

  • Game release: May 23, 2014
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

Systems failure.

Three ugly character models sit around a fire: an unblinking man in a suit with his arms locked at 20-degree angles from his body; a dwarf that stole Catwoman's mask; and a zombie with its fists clipped through a chair yanked from a tavern in World of Warcraft. These creatures seem like refugees from three different 90s-era games, but they're apparently the CEOs of airlines currently at war. Airlines that count doctors that strew entrails about their planes' cabins among their passengers.

How a developer would think to ask money for this travesty is unfathomable. The horrors begin with the main menu, where you discover that the mouse cursor and mouselook are simultaneously active, so that when you choose one of Air Control's modes, you also move the camera around. The background shot is of an underwater airplane, above which sits the game's title in a blurry font. That title doesn't sit in the interface, however. No--it simply sits above the aircraft as though the letters exist within the game's own world. Clearly, something's amiss, and if the main menu isn't enough to convince you, then the abominable zombie-human-dwarf cutscene that opens Casual Mode certainly should be.

The life of a flight attendant is grueling, what with the stiff passengers, the 14 buttons glued to your eyeballs, and the big blocks of lime Jell-O cluttering up business class.

The mess that follows is homely, unfinished, and inept. By default, an inexplicable array of buttons labeled "lock cursor" are strewn across the screen. You can remove them by clicking the "disable [lockcursor] UI" button at the top left, though that particular button needlessly remains in all its unsightliness. Remember: any cursor movement is accompanied by complementary mouselook, so interacting with the interface causes the camera to move wildly about. In this case, it's an airplane interior that dizzily rotates around you as you turn off the interface and guess at what your goal is. As it turns out, you're a flight attendant, and the big red sentient exclamation mark at the rear of the plane has a task for you: deliver some coffee to a passenger in the front.

Your next task is to pick pillows up from the floor, which means moving the mouse cursor over them and clicking them, a rather uncomfortable task if the mouse cursor has moved to the edge of the screen, as it just may have by this point. And so you point and click on the pillows, which simultaneously changes your point of view so that you're facing the passengers to the left. You might try to hit the escape key and try to restart the level, or abandon this rubbish altogether for a different mode, but doing so in any of the game's modes causes the mouselook and movement keys to stop functioning, and in some cases renders the level entirely inoperable.

Even pilots can't escape the evils of lime Jell-O. Here, you see the results of trying to restart a level.

Casual Mode plays out in a series of bizarre levels, most of them only a few seconds long, that have you moving from the back of the plane to the cockpit (yes, that's it), picking up a gun and shooting a terrorist, picking up trash bags, or performing some other mundane task. Every one of these activities is awful. Passengers sit in a catatonic state with their arms held stiffly in place. Terrorists don't move or animate in any way, and explode when they die. Sometimes there are weird colored cubes on the floor for no reason. In one ludicrous level, there's no gravity, and the game displays only a few frames per second. And every nonsensical task is accompanied by peculiar descriptions written in broken English. "You need to find reason while airplane fell down" says one dialogue window, right before you discover that ending the mission requires… opening a door. "You can open your inventory with a button situated in left" says another, even though there is no inventory button, on the left or anywhere, and the mission gives you no reason to have one.

You also get to be a mechanic, which means hovering over some buttons until one turns red and you click on it. More often, you get to be a pilot, both in Casual Mode and in Killjoy Mode, but piloting an aircraft in Air Control is a farce: the controls make no sense, the camera angles make no sense, and if you crash, you have to quit out of the game and restart it due to the aforementioned broken menu options. Crashing into the sea is particularly fascinating, as the water is actually a solid object; how the aircraft in the main menu managed to sink is a mystery.

There are no words.

You shouldn't forget Realistic Mode, in which you walk around in an airplane cabin filled with petrified character models while cursing the ridiculously low frame rate, and then do nothing because that's all you do in this mode. To be fair, though, doing nothing is preferable than wasting your time on this wreck, which advertises itself on Steam as "the best flight simulation in the history of computer games" and promises that it is "the first airplane game, where plane compartment is visible." Both of these claims are lies, of course, which only makes sense for a broken scam masquerading as a computer game.

The Good
N/A
The Bad
Busted interface, busted mouselook, busted mouse pointer, busted levels
Crashing a plane, restarting levels, and returning to the main menu breaks the game
Dialogue is a bunch of random nonsense
Ugly
30 minutes of abhorrent interactions costs you 6 dollars
1
Abysmal
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Kevin has a fear of flying. But he now fears flying in Air Control even more. He spent two agonizing hours with Air Control, even though you can see everything in under 30 minutes.

Discussion

331 comments
Virdentaucent4
Virdentaucent4

I saw a video of this being played and I wasn't sure whether to laugh or to cry.

It strong feels like it's attempting to be something akin to Goat Simulator as a random-ass game, but Goat Simulator at least is a kind of playground to go around and mess with your surroundings, this game fails to be any kind of random playground, too stifling with the primary plane setting.

If this is truly a scam game then the developers should be fined in my view, but if it is an attempt to rip off goat simulator in some respect, it's an abysmally poor excuse for a jocular random game. Hell I started making a game with rpg maker vx ace that was meant to be just a free silly, goofy , open-ended gaming experience, but I never let it become as bizarrely broken and vapid as this piece of trash.

drjoenh
drjoenh

Uh, Air Control is a scam? This whole REVIEW is a scam!


How can't you see the finely crafted intricate detail interwoven with the excellent texture work on the elephant at the fore in the realistic mode? Not to mention the true to life scale and lifeless eyes of the animals on board, each of which can clearly be serviced as outlined by the UI, which, while bland, still serves to deliver the meat and bones to this wacky, mundane, but ultimately fulfilling adventure? This magnificent work of art truly captures the essence of the labyrinthine struggle flight attendants confront on a daily basis, overworked, tired, and utterly, utterly routine. Forced to comply with the vapid demands of customers until they ALL look like the three models you so carelessly dismissed as poor and broken design, when in reality, THIS is the real perception of a flight attendant better actualized on Air Control than any other flight simulator I have ever seen. TEN OUT OF TEN.


Honestly, Gamespot ought to fire you and I'll be damned if I read another one of these from you again. This developer deserves every ounce of praise he gets for giving birth to this stroke of genius. Shame on you.

mrottopup
mrottopup

This review had more effort put into it than the developer put into the whole game

pikachudude860
pikachudude860

Wow. I never thought I'd see a game get 1/10. It's not a 3rd party game though.

tr4newreck
tr4newreck

rofl, they need to hire flesh and blood people to screen these games on steam...


how long till you figured out it was a terrible game kevin?  we talking minutes or hours here lol

Tranula
Tranula

This makes me realize how close we all are to making and selling our own products.  Must be really easy.  By the way, did this start out as a steam greenlight game?

kocur
kocur

this game must have been made by someone running on very strong drugs...

lithus
lithus

Master who?

You never see terrible games like this make it on today's consoles. Just sayin...

cool_flow
cool_flow

I'm sorry but you know killjoygames bought all the reviews. Seriously 10/10? I only gave it a 1/10 because it wouldn't let me give it anything lower.

cool_flow
cool_flow

How is this game even available on Steam? I made my own game and it's no where near as garbage as that game.

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

I think they make the inmates at Guantanamo play this.

olddadgamer
olddadgamer

See, this is also a testament to why the "I don't trust reviewers because they're paid; I only trust user scores" people are wrong.  7.8. Now, here, of course, you know they're joking, but c'mon.  There's going to be joke reviews on every game.  They're just obvious on a game like this.


Seriously.  Is anyone going to say "I guess Kevin's check didn't clear?" 

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

You can make better stuff in Google Sketch. Hell... just build stuff in google sketch!

The-Neon-Seal
The-Neon-Seal

The best thing about this game is that it has N/A listed as the good points.

indzman
indzman

Meh , Big Rigs is still the king

Apastron
Apastron

This is why '0' should exist as a score.

Gooeykat
Gooeykat

I'm picking this up today!


Centurion95
Centurion95

I guess the real question is, which is worse this or that Big Truck racing one?

hahamanin
hahamanin

ahh another european guy trying to scam people

indiexanna
indiexanna

Sergey Titov would be so proud of this guy

neonakaa
neonakaa

This review makes me respect you, kevin.

ferrarimanf355
ferrarimanf355

The fact that the developer/publisher is named killjoygames has me thinking that this is a joke. 

anarky23
anarky23

How is garbage like this even made?

complacentcouch
complacentcouch

This has either got to be a joke, or an excuse for a refund. Seriously, the people who paid for this, joke or not, should get their money back Valve, and you know it. 

picho86
picho86

It would have been funny if people hadn't actually bought the game.

I think that Valve should apologize to any customers that fall for the scam. People assume that Valve stands behind the games they sell. This is clearly not the case.

jacooooos
jacooooos

@drjoenh Is this comment a joke? Cause i'm not quite sure if you're just sarcastic or you're the "killjoy" itself.

ghostraded
ghostraded

@lithus Apoc Z, Ride to Hell, anything on the Xbox Live 'indie' section that's not made by actual indie devs and not paid Microsoft employees masquerading as indie devs. Do I need to go on?

ferna1234
ferna1234

@lithus just surf a while on xbox live and you'll find some. indie games on pc are free to roam the interverse and some might end up in gamespot's hands.

pentraksil
pentraksil

@lithus Well that is the beaty of it if you think about it....While consoles are restricted, you can unleash you creativity (or the lack of it in this case) on a PC the way you want it. That's why on PC we have numerous indie titles that the devs can make the way they want and not get dictated by MS or Sony on how the game should be made. Open platform is the key here, not the content of one abysmal game that came out in the middle of hundreds of quality PC titles. 

tomservo51
tomservo51

Yeah, right. Those guys are living large. They are probably all playing Watch Dogs on high end PCs

SkiBumMSP
SkiBumMSP

@indzman Wasn't there a patch that eventually came out that fixed most of the issues in Big Rig and actually made it a halfway decent game?  I don't think any amount of patching could ever hope to fix this "Air Control" disaster of a game.  That thing is just plain bad from the ground up and needs to be completely trashed.

drswank
drswank

@chewbacca72 @pikachudude860 Splatterhouse? Noooooo that's not it. Big Rigs Over the Road Racing is the only other 1/10 I have seen here in the last 12 years.

nikon133
nikon133

@Sl4cka @lithus Don't be silly. Ryse is Oscar, Nobel and Pulitzer Prize material compared to this.

Air Control More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    • Unix/Linux
    Play as a pilot, a flight attendant, and a passenger in one of the worst games ever made.
    6.7
    Average User RatingOut of 68 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Air Control
    Developed by:
    killjoygames
    Published by:
    killjoygames
    Genres:
    Flight, Simulation