Pocket Planes Review

By , on June 18, 2012

Pocket Planes: Airline Tycoon
Download on the AppStore
4 out of 5


  • Surprisingly nuanced, if ultimately simplistic Airline management sim.
  • Worldwide objectives and 'multiplayer' features give focus to your expansion.
  • Bright, easy to use interface and pixel-art designs.


  • Randomized 'market'; encourages teamwork, but can also limit your expansion due to bad luck.
  • Limited late-game complexity; fleet optimization possible, but not cheap or particularly challenging.


Pocket Planes showcases NimbleBit's deft-hand at creating miniaturized, yet still strangely addictive titles - keeping your fleet running is a more-ish exercise that will keep you entertained for days.

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There's something already naturally addictive about simulation titles no matter the level of complexity involved in them. From the largest cities to the lowliest of farms - if it requires efficient development, people will find themselves coming back for more. The freemium model has exploited this human weakness, but not all games are created equal and NimbleBit are back on the scene with their latest title, Pocket Planes.

Initially, players are handed the reins of a small, but well established company servicing flights in one of the starting areas of each of the major continents. The choice is up to the player as to where to begin, but beware, high populations may mean better airports, but also higher costs for expanding to new cities.

From this humble beginning you'll expand your roster of planes, be they cargo, passenger or a mix of the two, each with their own flight range and speed that will affect their ability to earn money for your company. Once your passengers and/or cargo are on board you can set the plane's route and set it off, incurring a delay of several minutes or more depending on the plane and final destination.

As you level up from completing trips, you'll be able to purchase new airports, possibly upgrade them to increase the amount of work available for your growing fleet. Parts can also be collected from a randomly changing marketplace that requires 'bux', a rare commodity that can be earned by completing special tasks or In-App Purchase. Spare parts can be donated to friends and you can also join a 'Flight Crew' to work towards special prizes from world-wide events.

Of course there is a catch - cash earned and the 'bux' required to sustain growth quickly spiral out and become a time-management nightmare. Given the brief, but all too repetitive interactions with the game once planes do land, it's hard to stay motivated after a few days of play, however given its free entry price and the somewhat ethereal nature of 'addiction', it's most definitely worth checking out to see if it tickles your fancy.


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