Almost immediately you’ll notice the similarities between Harbor Master and Flight Control. Where in Flight Control you have to land various plans, Harbor Master puts you in control of a harbor and you must guide ships into the dock to unload their cargo. All the while making sure that none of the ships run into each other. Sounds like a simple concept, but it can get quite hectic and leave you scrambling to control all the ships. The core mechanic of the game is the same as Flight Control. You simply draw a line with your finger from a boat to where you want it to go. Fans of Flight control will have no problem mastering the mechanics, but the great thing about Harbor Master is how it takes it a couple steps further.
One important game mechanic is the unloading of cargo from the ships. Once the boats dock in the port, they will immediately begin unloading their cargo. One your cargo is unloaded you have to then guide the boats back out to sea and make sure they don’t collide with any other boats. There are three different sizes of boats, all moving at various speeds with some taking longer to unload than others. It takes a little time to get used to how to manage the different boats, timing is key here.
Another nice feature is the use of various hazards to make the levels more challenging. From whirlpools to pirates, you’ll have to navigate your boats to dock and avoid the various hazards. With the pirates you’ll also have the ability to shoot canons at them and take out their ships before they can board yours. Lastly, some levels will have you docking the boats in accordance with the color of the ship. All in all, Harbor Master adds a lot of nice features that add to the gameplay, giving you an enriched experience.
Presentation wise, there are no complaints about Harbor Master. The graphics are crisp and vibrant. Everything is easily identifiable and makes for easy control. The soundtrack has a Calypso feel to it and adds to the game, but if that’s not your thing you can also use your own music. Even the horns on the boats sound great, with each boat having their own distinctive horn that will sound when the boats are in close proximity to each other. This helps alert you when your boats are headed into trouble.
Harbor Master also includes an online leaderboard that keeps track of the total number of shifts worked and cargo received by all players across every level, as well as individual high scores. Each player has a personal profile that others can check to see how they rank across all the ports. All you need to do is add your email address and you’re good to go. Unfortunately, the game lacks an multi-player feature, but could easily be rectified with an update.
Overall, Harbor Master is a great game for your iPhone, and best of all it’s only .99 cents. At the moment there are five ports to play, but the developer promises a new one every two weeks making it all the more challenging. There really is no reason not to pick up this game, it’s a ton of fun and done really well. For the aforementioned price of .99 cents you can’t go wrong.