Unmatched Air Traffic Control is a game that I was introduced to over the course of the pandemic. In the game, you act as an air traffic controller and have to manage the responsibilities that come with that job from clearing flights to depart and land to handling emergencies.
One of the most apparent mechanics to the game is the aspect about the in-game time as this determines which aircraft requires air traffic control clearance at what time. The game designers also created the game in a way that as the time of day in the game goes on (as the player continues to play the game), there will be high traffic periods where there are more aircraft requesting to depart and arrive at a given time. This in and of itself creates a more high pressure dynamic as you will not only have to make sure that you clear aircraft to depart in a timely manner so that they aren’t delayed (which leads to a reduction in the total amount of points you gain), but you also have ensure that you’re clearing aircraft to land and assigning them open gates in a timely manner. Having to coordinate the arrival and departures of anywhere between 2-10 flights at a given time becomes incredibly challenging. That doesn’t even account for the added mechanics of weather which add new challenges (eg. In a severe thunderstorm, you’re not allowed to clear any aircraft to depart from their gate or to take off from the airport if they left their gate prior to the storm rolling in. Despite this, you must still manage arriving aircraft in a timely manner which becomes difficult when you have to wait for the storm to pass before allowing grounded flights to depart and open up gate slots).
Despite these challenges, the Unmatched Air Traffic Control is so fun for me to play as the designers made sure to make the game progress in a reasonable manner. When you first start playing, the interval of time between flights you must manage is pretty comfortable. As you continue to play, that interval of time between flights begins to decrease causing you to have to manage multiple flights at the same time, but the progression of the game prepares you for this. Additionally, after periods of high traffic, there will be periods of low traffic which allow you to recuperate before the next wave of flights. Beyond that there’s so much customization to the game such as unlocking new, larger airports as well as different aircraft and airline liveries which makes sure the game never feels dull.