Most iPhone game players already know Flight Control, which was a top-10 game at the App Store for months because its gameplay was a simple, winning concept. Harbor Master takes this blockbuster formula and makes great improvements to it with new mechanics, such as cannons, cargo, and leading boats both in and out of ports.
As the title suggests, the game puts you in the role of harbor master at various ports. Your primary goal is to make sure cargo and ships get in and out safely. The core mechanic of the game is the same as in Flight Control--you use your iDevice's touch screen to draw a line from a boat to where you want it to go.
However, Harbor Master has a major difference--its cargo system. Once your boat arrives in port, it will immediately begin to unload its cargo. Once it's done, you must send it back out to sea. If two boats crash along the way, your shift ends. Larger boats (there are three different sizes) carry more cargo and move more slowly, so strict management is the key to running your port smoothly.
Harbor Master has received new levels since launch. Some stay true to the game's basic formula, but others add an increased challenge. For example, Sturgeon Creek has you sending differently colored cargo to specific docks, while Cannon Beach arms you with a cannon to destroy oncoming pirate ships. There are also whirlpools in Cyclone Island, which turn your boats around and force you to create their path again. These features enhance the gameplay by leaps and bounds over similar games.
Harbor Master also includes online leaderboards that keep track of the total number of shifts worked and cargo received by all players across every level, as well as individual high scores. Every player has a personal profile that others can check to see how they rank across all the ports.
Unfortunately, unlike Flight Control, Harbor Master doesn't offer multiplayer play, though you can at least share the same screen as a friend.
If you were a fan of Flight Control and want a game that takes the concept to the next level, Harbor Master is for you.
This review was provided by GameSpot mobile content partner SlideToPlay.com.