Tower!3D Pro – Review
Follow Genre: Simulator
Developer: FeelThere
Publisher: FeelThere
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

Tower!3D Pro – Review

Site Score
6.0
Good: Voice commands, It's 'the real deal'
Bad: Graphics, High price
User Score
7.6
(11 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.6/10 (11 votes cast)

Tower!3D Pro is the latest game of FeelThere, the developer and publisher of a whole series of air traffic controller simulators. The most distinct feature in this new version is the added 3D models of the planes, cars, buildings and environmental items. The game is available on Steam, where it received bad to mediocre scores. The developer also sells Flight Simulator add-ons, manuals about airports and planes and add-ons for other simulator games.

tower 3d pro feature img

Story

As this game is being a full blown simulator, there is not much story involved. Imagine being an air traffic controller working on his normal day job and you’d be getting close. Your task is to guide departing and arriving planes on the tarmac: arriving planes announce themselves on the intercom on approaching the airport. You decide on which runway the plane will land. Likewise you guide departing planes to a free runway. Every plane that lands or departs safely earns you points. Before you start you have to choose an airport to manage, but only few airports are available in the base game, the rest is available as DLC.

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Graphics

The graphical quality is mediocre. You get a 3D view of the airport, with several helper windows laid out around the screen. The 3D view is a bit sluggish unless you have a dedicated graphics card. It is hard to see why when playing with a small airport, but when loading a large one like Philadelphia Airport you’ll notice that there is a lot of details and stuff going on. The map looks like a combination of a 2D satellite image and some 3D generated models. It might be personal, but floating 3D modelled cars on a 2D road and airport map look wrong. A problem is that the added models are a lot brighter and sharper than the surroundings they stand in, and they are in comparison a bit scaled too big. The airport building itself is a weird blend of satellite footage and 3D models. The lights of the airport and the runways are worked out better, especially at night time. Also the planes itself are mostly diverse and all rendered in 3D.

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Those helper windows probably resemble the real system air control traffickers use. There is a window to give commands to the planes, an air radar for arriving planes, a ground radar for planes on the tarmac and an overview of the inbound and outbound flights. A positive thing are the customization options, you may easily increase or decrease the character size for instance.

Sadly the interface, and especially the overview window, has a lot of numbers and codes that are unclear to the untrained eye. Moreover, many numbers seem unimportant for actually doing the job. The interface lacks some refinement as it is a simple layout, an issue the menu also suffers from. In the latter case this is a good thing, but for the game itself some additional depth – e.g. with more information or tooltips – might have been useful.

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Sound

The sound is meagre. There is some background music playing on the menu, and in-game you can enjoy the sounds of the wind and the outside of the airport. There is also the occasional ‘woosh’ from a landing plane, but other than that there is only the continuous chatter of the (female) robot voice used to represent the pilot(s) in the planes. The monotonous voice takes some time getting used too, and even more time to correctly understand the codes and messages it is saying.

It is possible to speak your commands into a microphone, but that requires you to have the US English language pack for Windows installed (the UK one won’t work).

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Gameplay

This simulator game is pretty straightforward: you give commands to the planes by forming them in the command window, or by speaking them in the microphone. You get 10 points for a successful landing or departure, and get up to 500 points per case deducted for delays or collisions. There is no real goal but to let your airport run as smoothly as possible, which is quite a challenge on the bigger airports with many runways enabled. All points are kept in a general statistics page too.

On starting you select any of the three airports included into the base game, pick the moment of the day to start on, the traffic density and the weather conditions. You can also choose which of the airport runways you enable. There is the option of a tutorial, which is not bad but only explains the bare minimum to get you started. There is no other documentation in-game, and on the maker’s site they mostly refer to other external sources! Running a simple airport is easy enough, as planes approach the airport from one side and depart to the other. However, it is required to let planes hold in the air for the bigger airports. This is a lot more complicated and the commands are made of technical (English) words. On giving commands, the plane may respond with a ‘negative’ and you’ll have to find out on yourself why it wasn’t a valid command. It would be a great help if there was an option to hide commands when they are not appropriate.

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While playing, the main difficulty is to get the planes – while they’re still on the ground – to their destination at the terminal or the runway in an efficient way. Even in small airports it’s easy to form queues as the planes move slowly from the terminal parking space, which thus serves as a choke point. There are many possible routes to follow for the planes in the larger airports, and your job is to make sure that no plane cross a runway when another plane is landing on it.

Conclusion

This is a special game. It is especially meant for people with real interest into air traffic control, as it is quite realistic and lacks in the area of documentation. Still, we feel the price is high for the content it contains, and the prices of the DLCs are even higher! The addition of voice commands is a nice touch and the (hardware) process is documented on the game’s homepage, but of course not everyone has a (trained) US English language pack installed. Lastly, the graphics could have been done better if they used 3D models for everything instead of the weird 2D satellite view with added 3D models… Maybe that will be the case in the next version of Tower!?

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 7.6/10 (11 votes cast)
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Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
Tower!3D Pro - Review, 7.6 out of 10 based on 11 ratings
Sander
Sander


Always having more things to do than time to do them, I like spending several of those precious free hours playing games and rating them.

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