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I am a preview of Air Traffic Chaos!

IGN's hands-on of Sonic Powered's Air Traffic Chaos reveals crucial information about the simulation game -- is the guy on the cover an air traffic controller how do you simulate air traffic control in a game? We had a general idea, but it's an uncommon subject for games.

Players tap on planes to see their status and options, and issue commands related to flight speed and choice of landing lane. In this way, monitoring the planes' status on the bottom screen, you guide planes taking off and landing. Each successful move awards points, and each level has a score quota to meet.

Chaos also features a glossary of air traffic control terms, in case you want to write angry comments about what the game does wrong, using accurate language.

Boxart battle: Air Traffic Chaos U.S. vs. Japan

We happened across the American boxart for Air Traffic Chaos, and we couldn't help but notice the speech bubble. "I am an air traffic controller!" the character (who looks a lot like one of those "premium" (pay) emoticons, whose pop-up ads we see occasionally) exclaims, confirming the theory that a game called Air Traffic Chaos is about air traffic control. What we thought at first to be simply a banal explanation of the game is a little more: we remembered that the Japanese name of the same game was Boku wa Kuukou Kanseikan DS, which translates to ... "I Am an Air Traffic Controller DS." We don't understand why the Japanese title had to be plastered across the box like that, but at least it seems slightly less random.

Speaking of that Japanese boxart, it's interesting to see the differences in marketing strategy evident from the contrast between the two. Majesco's box is very kid-friendly and cartoony, suggesting a casual, simplistic experience. But the Japanese box is all business: stock photos of airplanes and air traffic controllers hard at work, with a text bar at the bottom stating "You also become an air traffic controller on the DS!" It looks more like a training game than anything.

Taxi past the post break for larger images of both boxarts, as well as a couple of examples of what other boxes would look like with the Air Traffic Chaos exposition.

Continue reading Boxart battle: Air Traffic Chaos U.S. vs. Japan

From the Abyss, to North America

Remember From the Abyss, Sonic Powered's Secret of Mana-esque ARPG? The title debuted in Japan earlier this year to little fanfare, and it didn't seem to have much potential for a North American release. Publisher Aksys thought different, however, and has announced that it will be localizing From the Abyss for "Q4 2008." If Eco-Creatures, an environment-conscious RTS with hardly any mass appeal managed to find a home in the US, why shouldn't From the Abyss?

As we discussed before, From the Abyss features a randomly generated world, capturable souls for stealing enemy techniques, and a two-player local co-op mode (separate dungeon, not main campaign). Hit the gallery below for screenshots from the Japanese release.

Gallery: From the Abyss

[Via press release]

New screens help make sense of Air Traffic Chaos

Work on Air Traffic Chaos seems to be flying along -- according to the latest screenshots, Majesco has got the whole English-text thing going now, which we find important in games like this. That's not to say we'll have any better luck understanding how to play this game in English than we would in Japanese; from the appearance and genre of the game (and the nature of the profession on which it's based), we're expecting a level of complexity beyond pure button-mashing.

The bottom screen shows all of the planes in the air under your guidance, with little icons showing whether they're taking off, midflight, coming in to land or on the ground, along with the gate to which they're headed. There's also a text crawl under each plane's information bar that writes out your directions.

It appears that the Japanese airports in which the original version of the game took place will return, or at least Nagoya will; but it looks like other airports (Honolulu and Seattle, that we can see) will also appear -- though they may just be renamed versions of the original levels.

Secret of From the Abyss

We initially dismissed From the Abyss when Famitsu announced the title last October -- partly because it seemed like a drop in the ocean of generic RPGs coming out in Japan, and partly because we saw that the studio developing the game is "Sonic Powered." To be honest, we're not familiar with any of Sonic Powered's previous work, but we took its name as a signal to immediately bail out.

It turns out that Sonic Powered has nothing to do with the hedgehog of the same name, and From the Abyss actually has some interesting merits -- it's a 2D ARPG in the same vein as the Seiken Densetsu (Mana) series, styled to look very much like Children of Mana, though with less polish. After answering a set of questions to create your pseudo-personal character, you'll be able to fight enemies with a variety of weapons/magic and capture their souls to gain their skills. Apparently, some ancient seal has been broken, monsters are now roaming the land, and yadda yadda story.

There's even a two-player cooperative mode, but it's limited to local play, and it appears that you'll be playing in a special dungeon as opposed to the main campaign. Hella lame, we agree. From the Abyss hits Japan early next year on January 17th. You can see the game's boxart and some screenshots in the gallery below.

Gallery: From the Abyss

[Via GAME Watch]

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