Harbor Master Updates keep coming, and all for the small price of $0.99. The newest 1.4 update brings monster cove, 1.3 brought pygmies to Harbor Master, and 1.2 provided ships that carry both types of cargo. Now there are six maps to master.
At the 1.0 update this was a must buy, and with the continued updates it is easily an absolute must, so buy it if you haven’t already.
The 1.1 Update for Harbor Master provides a brand new map to play: Cannon Beach. With the new level comes Pirates that attempt to steal your cargo and sink your boats. Luckily you have a cannon at the bottom of the screen to protect your ships.
To fire the cannon you just tap and drag to where you want to fire, and release. To take down pirate ships you need to hit them with two cannon blasts. If you let the Pirates go, not only do they steal cargo, but if your ship is empty the pirates will sink it, and you lose. Also just to note, the cannon doesn’t hit your ships, no matter what.
Cannon Beach is five star difficulty and truly warrants it. You still have to guide all of your ships, but at the same time fire on pirate ships. Not only are there pirates, but it seems there are even more ships to direct.
Also with the update comes online high scores that are integrated to show how your best, and your average fare against the world. One problem though, Cannon Beach is tough enough as is. It would be helpful if the Pirates had a different indicator arrow than the one that signals your ships. That’s about it though, directing ships, and being able to fire on Pirates may be the most fun you can have on the iPhone.
The Update is a great add on to an already must have game. If you haven’t picked this up what are you waiting for? There’s not a better way to spend $0.99.
In Harbor Master your ultimate goal is to unload as much cargo as possible without any of the boats colliding. Harbor Master is a game where your object is to guide boats into port, and then guide them back out and off the screen. You guide the boats by drawing their path on screen. Once a boat drops off its cargo it will be clear to send back out.
A yellow arrow appears on the side of the screen alerting you to a new boat coming from that direction. The boats glow red when they’re about to collide, and there are audio cues as well. There are a few types of boats, and a few locations with a varying amount of ports that you have to guide.
Harbor Master’s main feature is not only porting the boats, but also sending them out once they’ve unloaded their cargo. There are three types of ships: small with one piece of cargo, medium with two, and large with four. Harbor Master tests your efficiency as the larger boats spend more time in the dock. Also as the boats size increase their speed decreases making it more difficult to maneuver them in tight stretches.
Once the first large boats show up, the game becomes extremely hectic, and that’s at about 20 shipments delivered. You have to direct multiple boats both coming and going on screen at once. Usually you have about 7 or 8 boats on screen at once, and you’re scrambling just to direct the boats out in the water, rather than sending out the boats that are finished in the port.
Learning from Flight Control, included at launch are 3 unlockable seascapes to play: Fishing Bay, Cyclone Island, and Sturgeon Creek. In Fishing bay there are two ports, Cyclone Island has three ports and a cyclone hazard, and Sturgeon Creek has 4 ports, two orange and two purple. Also included are online high scores to see how well you fare on all three of the locations.
Almost every aspect of this game is a good aspect. The visuals are very similar to Flight Control as everything is beautifully designed, but without the need to go over the top. The different locations are absolutely gorgeous with such fine detail. The path you draw is bold, and it’s red when it isn’t directed properly. Each boat has a trail that is relative to its size, and moves in synchronization with the boat.
The Sounds are absolutely amazing with a great soundtrack, plus the gulls call in the background. All of the sound effects are just nice to hear with a crank of a jack-in-the-box when you drag a ship’s path. Also once your ships collide, and you lose there is a bubbling sinking under water sounds. The ships all have horns depending on their size, and a there’s a nice ding when cargo is dropped off.
The controls work flawlessly so that no matter how your finger draws on screen the game will pick it up precisely. All you have to do is draw from the boat you want to direct, and the boat is off. When there are quite a few boats on screen, and your guiding traffic you need to have precise controls to avoid collisions.
This game feels like it was tested numerous times to be perfect for mobile gaming. There is nearly no load time for anything you do in the game. When it first starts up it’s about a second before the main menu appears, and then with every tap the next screen pops up immediately.
With three taps you’re playing, and it probably takes only three seconds. Whenever you quit in the middle of the game for whatever reason, it picks up in the exact spot you left off. These games can bo short or long, but having a pause button is always helpful.
The best aspect is the gameplay which has one of the highest fun factors in the app store. I haven’t found a more addicting experience in the App Store, than having to guide boats in and out of port, it’s absolutely amazing.
There isn’t much to not like about this game, and instead of having bad, there are a few suggestions. There’s no problem, but instead I think everyone would want to see more than three seascapes. Also the seagulls in the background could be toned down just a bit, but other than that this is great right out of the gate.
The Achievements can be improved, as all it says now is your total number of cargo delivered. Actual achievements can be included to add to the replayability factor.
Harbor Master may be the best pick up and play title in the App Store. There’s simple gameplay with simple controls, with perfect iPhone specific capabilities. The fun experience of this game may be matched by other titles, but none surpass it. After playing Harbor Master, you’ll think of Flight Control as an easier Harbor Master, but with planes.
This game may be the best pick up and play title for any free time in your day. It seems like on of the most addictive experiences, to just keep saying one more. Harbor Master is a definite Must Buy for anyone with an idevice.