Air Control Review

  • First Released May 23, 2014
  • 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 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.
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.
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.

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The Good
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
30 minutes of abhorrent interactions costs you 6 dollars
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.
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Avatar image for MetalGearGas

It crashes and burns

Avatar image for julia_schmidt
Kevin VanOrd spent two hours with this game. More than the developers did.
Avatar image for rlakhani

Hmm killjoygames. The name suits them.

Avatar image for Lord_Python1049

wow... still 39 people listening in Feb 2015... this game must be a success!

Avatar image for tommiveceti

@Lord_Python1049 i think it is because of Danny's talk of 1/10 reviews in the recent The Lobby :))

Avatar image for santinegrete

IF Peter Griffin made a videogame, it should be this. Sorry, I just watched the Handi-cuack episode XD

Avatar image for GreenMan

Someone with no programming experience has downloaded Unity and spent a week reading tutorials and copy/pasting code examples for various gameplay features, downloaded some random free assets from the Asset Store and put it on Steam Greenlight.

The fact that this made it onto Steam Greenlight in the first place suggests the system has some exploits since there is nothing on show to suggest it will ever be playable, let alone good. Nothing else explains how it could garner the support needed for greenlit status.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for jacooooos

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

Avatar image for 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.
Avatar image for mrottopup

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

Avatar image for nikon133

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

Avatar image for pikachudude860

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

Avatar image for chewbacca72

@pikachudude860 Splatterhouse got a 1 (a few years back)

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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

Avatar image for 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?

Avatar image for kocur

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

Avatar image for kyokun47

@kocur Or germans.

Avatar image for lithus

Master who?

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

Avatar image for 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?

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Sl4cka

@lithus "Ryse". Your move.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Ezioprez9709

@pentraksil @lithus Allow me to jump in. PC gamers, I have to admit, have access to some great games aswell as PC exclusives.

What breaks that down you say?

You get games such as this. Now, consoles get some abysmal games, but the PC is where they all live, thanks to the likes of Steam giving them a chance. Sure, you get Xbox Live and PSN giving crappy games some fame, but not like the PC, that has a lot more problems than consoles.

PCs are NOT designed for games. Yes, I admit I like the look of a lot of games on the PC. I don't dislike the fact that computers can play games at all. I quite like it. However, the fact that you rely on internet connection and hard drive mostly while playing a game for a good showing is stupid. Why? Well when you go to a store and buy a console, pretty much all of them in that store run at the same rate, unless your buying illegitimate copies of stuff.

Computers have a lot of advantages such as precise aiming with a mouse and 'better' graphics, but you might as well get a console due to the fact that they're mostly cheaper and lag a whole lot less.

And no, I do NOT hate gaming PCs, I like them, but find them pointless when you have a console.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for nh5494

@cool_flow can I have a copy of it?

Avatar image for The-Neon-Seal

I think they make the inmates at Guantanamo play this.

Avatar image for tomservo51

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

Avatar image for 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?"

Avatar image for The-Neon-Seal

@olddadgamer I guess Kevin's check didn't clear...


Avatar image for olddadgamer

@The-Neon-Seal @olddadgamer Yeah, set that one up. ;)

Avatar image for The-Neon-Seal

@olddadgamer @The-Neon-Seal :D

Avatar image for The-Neon-Seal

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

Avatar image for SkiBumMSP

@The-Neon-Seal Playing around in Google Sketch would be infinity more fun than Air Control.

Avatar image for The-Neon-Seal

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

Avatar image for indzman

Meh , Big Rigs is still the king

Avatar image for 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.

Avatar image for Apastron

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

Avatar image for Gooeykat

I'm picking this up today!

Avatar image for Centurion95

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

Avatar image for hahamanin

ahh another european guy trying to scam people

Avatar image for indiexanna

Sergey Titov would be so proud of this guy

Avatar image for Thesuperstar2k

this is why pc games usually sucks.

Avatar image for Bren128

pc master race?

Avatar image for neonakaa

This review makes me respect you, kevin.

Avatar image for Forcecaster

Best... review... EVER!

Avatar image for ferrarimanf355

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

Avatar image for anarky23

How is garbage like this even made?

Air Control More Info

  • First Released May 23, 2014
    • Linux
    • Macintosh
    • PC
    Play as a pilot, a flight attendant, and a passenger in one of the worst games ever made.
    Average Rating71 Rating(s)
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    Developed by:
    Published by:
    Flight, Simulation