I've written before about how terrible airplane travel has become. You can't get from one side of an airport to another without taking off your shoes, unpacking and maybe booting your laptop, and being yelled at by red-faced goons. (Sometimes the goons are members of airport security and sometimes they're ham-fisted passengers, but they always yell.) Despite vowing to never ever ever ever cross the sea by plane again, I had to get to a junior high school graduation in Tokyo so I broke down and went by plane. From Newark to Tokyo. All the horrors of airport security came rushing back to me like a bad inflight movie. Surely it won't be long before people give up on airplane travel completely. And don't call me Shirley.
(Speaking of inflight movies, there are some in this game, but more on that later.)
If you were born in the last ten years or so, you might imagine that humming, cooing male and female airplanes with giant eyebrows are something out of a science fiction novel. Actually, they're your "customers" in Airport Mania: First Flight, a game that places you right in the control tower directing planes. Russell Carroll and Reflexive Entertainment are doing their part to keep the good, happy, carefree and simple image of airplane travel alive with this newest time management game, one of the cutest to come along since Moppin Toppins Waits Tables. Believe me, airports used to be this fun... before terrorists became boogeymen and shoes became alarming.
You start out in the tiny regional airport, Happy Valley Municipal Airport. Complete enough goals and levels and you may make it as far as Great Lake City International Airport or the fiendishly difficult Desert Flats National Airport.
Your job is to get the planes in, unloaded, refueled and refitted if necessary, filled with new passengers, and out! The faster you accomplish these tasks, the more money you'll earn for your airport. As planes appear in the sky, you click on them and assign them runways to land, then gates to taxi to so that they may unload their passengers. After unloading, some planes may need to be repaired. Others may need to be refueled. Actually, until playing this game, I was under the impression that all planes refueled at the gate before taking off, but in Airport Mania I learned that only some need refueling. And they do it at a nearby fueling station. Once a plane is ready to head back to the skies, click on it and then click on an available runway and away it goes. Sayanora, suckers!
Gameplay in Airport Mania is simple at first, but naturally the difficulty rises as more and more planes arrive needing directions from your control tower. If planes end up waiting too long, they'll leave your airport in a huff. (Someone who's an expert on airplanes told me this rarely happens outside of computer games.) Luckily you've got layover spaces (they look like giant supermarket parking spaces) to park your waiting planes in. Planes are happiest when waiting in these spaces, but they still lose patience quickly! Sometimes I spent too much time trying to get a gate color bonus only to end up with some very unhappy planes. Unhappy planes = no money. It can get hectic when every possible place has a plane parked and a few more are circling overhead waiting to land. Luckily the planes themselves are excellent at avoiding collisions as they taxi around the airport. There were a few close calls where I screamed out, "OH MY GOD, NO!!!!" but to my relief no crashes took place.
There are many different types of planes, from puddlejumpers to jetliners, and every one of them has a color. If you can send back-to-back planes of the same color to the same gate, you'll get 2x, 3x, and 4x bonus multipliers. Likewise, you're awarded multipliers if two or more planes use the same runway within a few seconds of each other. As you make more money for your airport, you're able to buy upgrades like additional gates, gate upgrades, a short range radar device that lets you know what colored planes are about to enter your airspace, and the most useful upgrade of all: a special layover space that allows you to repaint planes while they wait (and there's nothing these adorable, cuddly planes like better than being repainted).
Earlier I mentioned inflight movies. You can buy inflight movies to keep circling planes happy even when there's no open runway. This flies in the face of everything I have come to know about air travel.
Airport Mania is an excellent time management game - one of the best and cutest I've ever played. And I've played many. The more advanced airports are challenging indeed. If you like games like Sally's Salon or Cake Mania 2, you'll be right at home in Airport Mania. Airplanes hum, whistle, and grrr to let you know their feelings. I especially like the "WTF" sound they make when you ask them to move (needlessly and uselessly) from one layover space to another. The pastelicious graphics are beautiful and vector curvtastic (hint: click everywhere on the wonderfully animated backgrounds). Isaac Shepard's light, lounge-inspired music doesn't get old no matter how long you play, which is rare for a game like this.
The only problem I experienced while playing was accidentally clicking on one airplane when I meant to click on another. Planes express their wishes via word or thought balloon, and sometimes those cover up nearby aircraft in a busy airport. Occasionally when I wanted to click on a plane, I clicked on another plane's word balloon, selecting the second plane instead of my intended target. That can really mess you up when the Airport Mania pace kicks into high gear!
Every time a helicopter flies over your airport, you can click on it and it will drop great big bags of cash. Click again on any falling moneybags and the $cash is all yours!
Download from Google Android Play Store Now.