The Only Thing Missing from ATC 4.0 is the Hudson River

Air Traffic Controller 4.0 (AppStore Link)
User Reviews
Air Traffic Controller 4.0
Developer: Calin Culianu
Price: $0.99 Download on the App Store

atc 4.0 iphoneWithin a few minutes of playing Lunagames' ATC 4.0, I began to marvel at just how competent real air traffic controllers must be. Here I was, juggling only five planes in the air and still couldn't manage to keep them from colliding, missing runways and causing all sorts of mayhem.

I dig Air Traffic Controller 4.0 in a major way. It's innovative, challenging and smart. If you like sims, then you'll want to wrap your head around this one.

ATC 4.0 has a nearly flat learning curve: Tap the plane as it comes into view, tap again to set way points to fly the plane in the direction you want to go and line up your approach to a runway and land. A variety of planes dot the sky, ranging from jumbos to fighter planes. When the traffic demands it, you can slow or speed up your planes to help avoid collisions.

There's a heck of a lot depth to this game too: ATC 4.0 has 49 levels, which the dev refers to as "days," and every day is a new day. Some days it's sunny; some days it's cloudy; some days it's snowing; and some days the President decides to drop in and you need to set up a no-fly zone.

On the busiest days, you're guiding planes over an airfield with six runways, struggling with hurricanes, computer malfunctions, flying at night and freaking out when the collision warning system starts wailing.

It's a lot to deal with, or at least I think so. I haven't gotten deep into ATC 4.0 because my brain is still rewiring itself so I can do a better job of multitasking and keeping my stress level low. The head ATC boss says I need to lay off the booze if I want to keep my job.

The graphics in ATC 4.0 are superb, especially when you consider just how much gets packed into the iPhone/iPod touch screen's small real estate. Lunagames used an OpenGL game graphics engine to create shadows, cloud effects, weather effects, landing lights, smooth animation and sound effects.

About the only thing missing from ATC 4.0 is the Hudson river.

Image Gallery: Air Traffic Controller 4.0

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  • Matt

    I like this, and if you really want to rewire your head, try I have been trying that site out a bit lately and it can really give you a headache. Thinking in 3D while TRULY multitasking and giving priority is good for your head!

  • HKiphone

    Wow, thanks for this!
    A long long time ago, I used to play "Kennedy Approach" on the Atari 800XL, which was an air traffic controller game too. Very basic in appearance, it had alot of complexity in queue maangement. Played with just a joystick with a single button (remember those???), you selected a plane and ordered it to fly between 1000-5000 ft in the air, while keeping them a minimum distance of 2000ft away from another plane (vertically and horizontally). First few levels were easy, but the difficulty ramped up and you really start tearing your hair out!
    I'm really happy this has appeared on iPhone and look forward to losing even more hair (even though there's not as much supply as before! haha)

    Great catch and really appreciate your reviews are detailed and informative!
    Keep up the good work.

  • Max

    Aaaah I've been going at this game all night and it should carry an additive warning :)

    Thanks a lot for the great review -- good to see some original stuff appear on the iPhone.

    It seems this ATC game goes way back on other handsets as I found on and now made its way to the iPhone. Great game!

  • Rich

    Game is fun and graphics are good. Controls are not always responsive. Touching landing strip doesnt always work. Cant get past upper levels because of this.

    Need to work out a better way to land planes

  • Tim

    I for one cannot get a plane to land. How the heck do I get it to land...I approach and it flies right by. I would love this to be THE app.

  • Tango Juliet

    Not a realistic for actual ATC opperations, however the multitasking it slightly realistic... A-D should say frquency change approved... And the TFR's (Temporary Flight Restrictions) are a cute iterpritation... A very addicting game fun to play... The only thing is the fighters on the survival mode don't score any points... What gives! A great game fun to play we have contests up in the tower to see who can get the best score! Great game!

  • San

    I love it :) that would be gr8, if we can control the height of the flying plane.

  • Orion

    I still play this game as old as it is. Only now the goal for me is to get on the daily leader board. This game hasn't seen an update in well over a year and as such doesn't make use of Game Center and now it seems that from time to time fails to either upload or download the daily scores.

    That last bit is highly frustrating when you've had a particularly great score to post.
    It also doesn't help that the developers left no way to get support or report issues.
    Still a fun game.