The chance to become an airline emperor, by building up an empire of planes, airports and passengers. (More fun than it sounds.)
You’re at a divergent path in your existence. Either you have already turned up your nose at the words ‘airline strategy sim’. Or you’re about to spend at least the next three years of your life checking and re-checking your phone for Pocket Planes notifications, sneaking off to the toilet to re-load and re-send your fleet on its way. We hope you follow the second path.
So that’s the premise. You begin with a handful of small prop planes – cargo and passenger – and you’re given a limited network of airports in your chosen area of the world. Load your planes up with available flyers or boxes and once they land, you start earning money. Money buys you more airports and more planes… and so it begins. The action, so to speak, happens in pseudo-real time – once in the air you have to wait a few minutes for your plane to arrive. Once they do – and you’ve clicked out of the game – you get an iOS notification.
It’s a beautifully paced system that initially seems tedious but builds up progressively as you build your network. You can spend money (the game uses a system of ‘Bux’ and smaller coins) to fast-track your planes to their destinations, and you can buy more Bux as an in-app purchase, but you don’t really need to. There are things to do, even if all your planes are loaded: buy parts for new planes, check the stats, and deconstruct out-of-commission airplanes. Or, as you watch your plane travel, you can paint it, or change the outfit of your bitizen pilot.
Bitizen - what? Anyone who has played Tiny Tower will be aware of developer Nitbit’s work – the game is designed in an 8-bit style, a charming tribute to the early days of video gaming. The thought that's gone into the passenger outfits and names adds amusing depth to a game that would otherwise be for strategy-heads only. Oh, and their friends – there’s an online element called Flight Crew where, by simply sharing a username, you can team up. This just adds yet another addictive element to an already captivating game.
Absorbing gameplay and amusing retro design – ignore the word ‘strategy’ and get involved!