Please note I was very kindly given a review copy by the generous developer. However this has not affected my review in any way.
No doubt you’ve all played the game ‘Flight Control’ on your phone. The game where you have to tap on the plane and then drag a line to the runway to guide it to safety while avoiding other planes in the area. It’s fun on the phone, but Final Approach brings the same game mechanic to VR, and with planes flying around your head, it’s simply stunning!
You start the game in the office hanger with a very English voice welcoming you and talking you through what you’re about to do. It’s the same concept as the mobile game, you touch the plane and drag a line to the runway to land it. Sounds simple, and that process is actually quite simple. What is difficult is staying on top of all the things you need to do, which gets more challenging as you play through the game. Not only will you be guiding countless planes and helicopters into land, prioritising them on how much fuel they have left or if they’re on fire, but also keeping an eye on what’s happening on the ground. You’ll be needed to do such tasks as put out fires, scare birds off runways, sort out luggage and keeping an eye on those pesky vehicles who insist on driving across the runways at the worse possible times! There are plenty more tasks to keep you busy, as if you weren’t working hard enough already. You develop quite a sweat playing this game, it’s a real workout!
The level of humour within the game is also great. When, and you will, crash a plane the dialogue makes you chuckle whilst still making you feel guilty about failing. If like me you do this a few too many times, the dialogue can get a bit repetitive, but that’s my fault for sucking at the game.
The controls are intuitive if a little fiddly. For example, touching the planes and dragging the approach line to the runway is great and works well, however when zooming out after putting out a fire or scaring some birds, you have to open the menu with one hand and tap a button with the other, which often doesn’t always register first time and a few taps are required. Of course, that could just be me and it’s such a minor gripe, but I felt I had to try and mention something negative to try and balance this review a bit!
The levels are varied and each have their own different aims and challenges to the previous ones. For example you start on a remote island landing helicopters and smaller planes. Then you move onto a larger airport with many runways and different plane types that have to go to specific hangers or terminals, then a few levels later you’re in city, using helicopters to clear a road accident and taking the poor tiny people to the hospital while making sure the planes safely leave the city’s airspace. There are more levels that I won’t mention so you can discover them for yourself!
As a kid, I had a model train set, which I loved. You could get really close to the models to see the detail that had been put into them and the environment. Now, as a fully grown adult, with Final Approach, I have a series of model airports where I can do the same!
The detail on the environment within Final Approach is just staggering. The art style is beautiful and the level of detail that can only be seen while getting low and peering into the spaces near the ‘ground’ is astonishing! I’ve let many planes crash as I’ve been distracted by looking at the details on the models. As an experience alone this is worth the entry fee, but the game behind it is fun, frantic and worth the hours you’ll put into it.
Title: Final Approach
Note: The game also comes bundled with Final Approach: Pilot Edition, however I’ve only tried this briefly. I think this was the cater for the Oculus crowd without the motion controllers as it’s a seated experience where you actually fly the planes using a controller. Again, it looks beautiful but the movement left me a little bit dizzy. Plus as the main game was so good, I just went back to playing that instead!