Get Ready for Landing and Takeoff in the Airport Mania iPod Game

I was browsing the iTunes App Store one boring afternoon when a lively blue icon caught my eye. It was of a smiling cartoon airplane with extremely bushy eyebrows headlining the Airport Mania: First Flight game, which belongs to the already-crowded genre of management and simulation games.

But I am of the belief that it never hurts to try something new out and the game was no exception. That, and the fact that the game was being offered for free on the App Store sealed the deal for me.

I tapped on that little "install" button and the game was good to go a few minutes later.

The Game

You may not own a real physical airport but you can manage one on your iPhone or iPod Touch with Airport Mania: First Flight. Land the planes and guide them across the tarmac to unload their passengers. Load some new ones on-board and send the planes soaring back to the sky for another flight. Aside from having to land and send the plans off, you are also in charge of making any repairs when the planes need fixing as well as fuel them up when they're running low on gas.

Like with most management games, there are upgrades to be bought and rewards to be earned. The upgrades include extra layover spaces and extra gates so you can keep have extra places to park the planes and unload the passengers, respectively. Other upgrades such as in-flight movies and beverage services help keep your planes happy and calm while they wait to land or unload.

These bonuses can be won by having the planes unload and load passengers at gates that are of the same color as the plane. Extra points can also be earned by strategizing and having scores of plans land on one strip and take off at another.

The Good

Airport Mania: First Flight was an interesting game that was executed well. The graphics leave nothing much to be desired especially if you're still a kid or just someone who adores cartoonish renderings (as I am). The game is also easy to follow and the gameplay is smooth once you finish the tutorial. The scoring system also gives you some incentive to do extra well for each level. There are four levels in the scoring: goal, expert, master, and supreme. Obviously the goal is to reach the supreme score so you can have three stars to crown the level off as well as have extra points that you can spend on upgrades.

The Bad

There is only so much that a person can do on an airport and to the airport. It might be a good idea to take breaks in between levels because things can get quite repetitive if you're thinking of finishing the entire game in one sitting. As for the latter point, there isn't much variation that you can expect as to the layout of the airport. Even though you will be managing flights over several continents, the basic elements will still be the same and the only thing that changes are the upgrades. This can make the game seem a bit boring and repetitive at times.

The Verdict

Airport Mania: First Flight is a good enough game to play with and offers a unique take on the management genre. Definitely have a go at it if you have the time.

You can get Airport Mania: First Flight for your iPhone or iPod Touch here: iTunes App Store.