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Harbor Master Review
Before we get too far into this review for Imangi Studios latest game, “Harbor Master”, let me just address the little elephant in the room… Yes, this game is a lot like Flight Control. There’s no way of getting around it. But now that I’ve said it, let’s move on… mostly because this game is better than FC (which I really, really liked).
Okay, let’s get on to the review.
Harbor Master puts you in the roll of, well… a Harbor Master who must keep track of all the ships coming and going. You have to guide them into docks so that they can off load their cargo and then back out to sea. All while making sure that none of the ships don’t run into each other. Sounds like a pretty simple concept, but game soon becomes anything but simple and even reaches the state of madness (all in a good way).
You control the ships by simply touching them and then drawing a path for them to follow. Once you get them into the dock you have to wait until they unload everything before you can draw another path for them to leave.
The controls are very simple and that adds to a lot of the addictive nature of the game. Moving the ships around is easy, which is a very good thing because you’ll see that it’s not about just getting them to the docks, it’s about keeping them apart and busy until there’s room to get them into the docks.
That’s where Harbor Master makes the first step above FC. The fact that you have to wait until the dock is clear really adds to the challenge of the game. And you even have to watch out for the ship that’s leaving so that none of your other ships crash into them. In later levels you’ll also have to avoid storms at sea that can really mess you up.
Imangi Studios has done a great job of adding full polish to the game ( I knew they would… their first game, oddly enough called Imangi, kept me busy for days straight). The graphics are very crisp. We’re not talking anything earth shattering with the looks, but they’re exactly what the game calls for. It is laid out perfectly and the colors make everything pop out.
The soundtrack has a nice Calypso feel to it and adds to the game. You can also use your own music if you need more motivation. One of the sounds I really like is the horns on the ships. There are three different types of ships and they’ll sound their horns when they are too close. The fact that each ship has a different horn helps to alert you to trouble.
So there’s a lot of polish in the game, but the best part is just how addicting and fun the whole thing is. After downloading the game I was happy to let time fly by while I played “one more game”. The game is simple to play… and play… and play.
There is a nice online scoreboard that’s helps with the addictive/replay value. The board tracks your best scores, average score per board, total shifts, and total amount of cargo unloaded. Each of these is tracked globally so you can see what type of Harbor Master you really are.
About the only thing I wish Imangi had added to the game is a list of unlockable achievements. These would really add to an already fun game. Some more maps and hazards would also be a welcome find in an update. (hint, hint).
Lastly, in the third level you have to check the color of the ship to make sure it gets into the proper dock. This might be tough for colorblind players, but even with that there’s still two harbors that can be used and enjoyed.
Flight Control fans should pick this up right away, but don’t feel bad if you suddenly realize that you’re not taking to the air as much as you once did. Harbor Control is a better experience from top to bottom and fans of addictive game play can rejoice that their ship has finally come in.
Has A Very High Addicting Factor (Which Might Be Bad For Some)
Graphics &- Sound Are Very Polished
Online Scoreboard Is Very Good
My Opinion… Better Than Flight Control
Could Use More “Achievements”
Color Blind Might Have Trouble On Third Map.