Harbor Master HD Video Game Review (iPad)

Harbor Master HD is insidious.  It’s something that I downloaded from the App Store because it was free.  FREE!  It sat unused on my iPad for almost a week, and that is when Jen, after flitching my iPad, started to play it.  She quickly developed a fondness for the game, and showed it to me.  How bad is that? It’s my game and I hadn’t even looked at it yet.  I was skeptical at first, what with all of that traffic routing – if I wanted to experience rush hour backups, I could just hop on the freeway!

Needless to say, the game quickly burrowed into my brain, and now I can’t think about anything else but docking those little boats safety in the harbor.  The game is deceptively simple, and while the concept is very basic, the execution is not.  Cargos ships of all sizes converge on the screen, impatient for you, the revered harbor master, to direct them into an empty dock.  There are two purple docks and 4 orange docks, and you have to match up the correct color boat to the same colored dock.  To make things harrowing, different boats travel at different speeds, and some boats have to visit both color docks to offload their cargo.  Not to mention their propensity to crash into each other if left unattended.

There is a lot of strategy that comes into play as you try to successfully maneuver boats into and then back out of the harbor.  This has also got to be the busiest port in the world, because the stream of ships is endless.  Keeping them from colliding, and therefore ending the game, is a challenge; it’s exciting and really keeps you involved in the activity taking place on the screen.  To mix things up a little, whirlpools randomly appear to throw a ship off course and more than likely into harm’s way.

The game looks beautiful on the iPad, with vivid hues and detailed animation to keep the action flowing.  Even the music is addicting,  and the sound effects are helpful.  Hear a horn blaring?  Better intercede before two ships collide!  The game play is so easy!  Just draw a line with your finger to the dock you want the ship to dock in.  Tracing the routes on the iPad sends the boats in whatever direction you choose.  Get ready for some frantic line drawing as the ships stack up in the harbor.

I didn’t think another game would get me hooked like Lab Pixie’s Flood-it!  I love that game, and have been playing it for over a year.  It’s my go to when I have a few minutes to spare.  Harbor Master, however, with its busy boats and fast paced game play, is giving Flood-it! a run for the money.  Gotta run! Gotta get back to unloading cargo!