Pocket Planes iPhone Review

Does NimbleBit fly high again?

Note: I played the new version 1.1.2  which fixed previous problems.  Please take this into account when reading the review.

The company NimbleBit created one of the most addicting games last year in Tiny Tower.  The simple gameplay and graphics, along with the SimCity like ability to build and upgrade my tower hooked me from the start.

Now the creators venture into a new area with the game Pocket Planes.

I quickly downloaded when I heard the new game.  And as such, I enjoyed the game overall.

But what Pocket Planes does well also hindered the company’s goal of creating a simple app game in which people can tap and be rewarded instantly in only a mere minute (more if you have a lot).

There will be a lot of comparison to Tiny Tower, in which you may ask why?  Basically they both are the same game overall (which I will point out in the article) but slightly different.

However, I plan to keep the review solely on the game in review and what type of game the company presents.

First the similarities.  The graphics remain same with a 16-bit look that gives it the feel of the company’s visual style.  (I am not entirely sure so feel free to correct me).

The sound is decent, with little to no detection of any problems.

The monetary system is the same in certain aspects, where you can collect dollars in which you can convert to coins. As for earning coins, you select passengers or cargo (depending on the plane), select the destination and hit fly.  In addition, you can tap on coins while the flight occurs.

This easily retains the simple tap, tap style NimbleBit is great at using.

Where the monetary system differs from Tiny Tower is two-fold: earning dollars is easier and what you can spend dollars on.

There are two ways to earn dollars: either through the passengers themselves or watch a flight in progress and hope a dollar appears.  This sounds like a waste but more often than not I found a dollar or two than what I expected.

The monetary system is now spent on more than leveling up to better planes.  You can also upgrade airports to have more layovers and traffic.

The latter part is key to earning more money because every passenger/cargo has to have the same destination for the bonus.  It can be frustrating at times since planes may not be able to hold all the people or cargo, in which case you earn less money.

Furthermore, you have to constantly guess and have lots of layovers to have a better chance of earning more coins from each flight.

Not only that but planes and airports have three different levels (1, 2, or 3) in which planes can only land at airports with similar levels.  You must match the planes and airports with the classes that limit the type of passengers/cargo items the planes can carry.

Why does this matter? Organization of your flights and the times it takes to do this is a lot more than what Tiny Tower had you perform.

Unfortunately, the jobs or “events” take a hit as they are sparse because of the easier opportunities for dollars.  Furthermore, the jobs are more difficult to accomplish which seem only to support players who have the lots of plane slots, the best planes, or both to accomplish. (Or spent a lot of real money for virtual money, which is silly)

They do this to balance out how easy it is to earn dollars.  In doing so they take away a little bit of the excitement for earning achievements.

The gameplay differs in that you have to organize all your flights.  As I said, this game is really about micro-management.  I found myself many times having to note which airports my planes landed and the destinations of the passengers/cargo so I did not get too much traffic in one spot.

In addition, I have to constantly check each airport to see what jobs the airport has and see if my planes can make it in time to get those bonuses.

This took away the fun aspect of the game that is great for tiny breaks from work and made it more of a game to consume your time such as Farmville.

But here is the hook.  The game is still addictive.

There are many times in which a flight arrives once you finish a previous flight.  So you repeat the process over and over until you end up spending more time than you wanted on it.

Some features that help are the stats that track your progress and the fun facts about each airport that you buy.  These are small but nice things to have after spending so much time on the game.

Closing Statement

Nimblebit went in a different direction but still kept the core components of the gaming style it likes to present.  Although the micromanagement can be a bit of a deterrent, yet the addicting quality of improving your airline company still makes this a game to play.

Finally, I suggest downloading this for a tablet because the screen is easier on your eyes than looking on your phone.


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