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Game Review: Pocket Planes


Steffan Hooper reviews the highly addictive airport simulation game for iPhone and iPad.

Review by Steffan Hooper, senior lecturer game programming.

Pocket Planes (NimbleBit LLC, 2012) is a casual simulation game where you get to manage an airline, this might sound dull but it is actually highly addictive!) The game is iOS based and it is available for both iPhone and iPad.

Created by NimbleBit, whose previous work includes the also highly addictive Tiny Tower (NimbleBit LLC, 2011). Pocket Planes has refined the grinding gameplay further to alleviate the gradual boredom which slowly forms after months of playing Tiny Towers. Pocket Planes lets the player run an airline, purchasing airport and airplanes of increasing capacity and range. There are more than 250 international airports available within the game. In typical simulation fashion, the player must make as many “coins” or “bux” as possible to continue buying new planes and airports. You fill your planes with cargo and people, and send them off to their destination, while optimising travel routes to make the most profit. Planes can be upgraded for range, capacity and weight, all allowing for further profit optimisation.

The game itself can be freely downloaded from iTunes, and you can play without paying anything, however gameplay can be accelerated by in-app purchasing of “bux”.

Pocket Planes also supports iCloud saves, meaning you can play on your iPad at home, and then pick up the game while on the move with your iPhone. It’s a really nice feature, which is only slightly buggy; I had to load and quit the game on one device a few times to ensure it uploaded the save to the iCloud.

Overall, the game is great for simulation fans if you enjoyed Sim City (Maxis, 1989), or just grinding away at the accumulation of profit, the game is well worth playing. You might find your evenings and weekends quickly disappear without you noticing though – it’s a great time waster!