Pocket Planes (Free) by NimbleBit LLC is a fun and addictive 8-bit simulation game that puts you in control of your own airport.
Remember the Tiny Tower craze from last year? Yup, the same guys that brought us that charming game are at it again, except this time you are building an airline, not a tower.
The game starts out pretty simple, and has a short tutorial that will guide you on the basics of the game. More tips will be shown to you as you play, though the basic premise of the game is rather elementary.
You’ll start out with a handful of airports. At each, you will be in charge of filling up your small planes with cargo or passengers and getting them to their predetermined destination. If you take on multiple pieces of cargo with a common trait you will earn a bonus. Once you load up your plane, you’ll then pick the next waypoint (they blink for your convenience) — if you have multiple destinations, just tap on each airport that you need to stop at. Then it’s time to fly.
As a plane is in flight, you can either watch the aircraft go and collect gold coins and “bux” along the way, or you can exit the game and come back to it later. If you are the impatient type, you can use your bux to speed up the travel time. The time remaining until the plane reaches the destination is shown at the top. When the airplane lands, you’ll get your payment.
As you keep delivering your cargo or passengers, you will get new jobs to pick up (sometimes you’ll have to wait, depending on how busy an airport is). The coins and bux you earn will allow you to buy more city airports, upgrade your planes and stations, and even get new planes or parts from the market. These allow you continue to do what you’ll be doing best: delivering goods and travelers. Advertising is also an option, which will help attract people to your terminal for more business — cha-ching!
Pocket Planes features a nice RPG-style method of progression: leveling up. Each level will get you a few rewards to help your journey to become an airline tycoon. Events will occur in various locations, which will certainly affect business. If you decide to no longer use a plane, you can place them in the hangar, where you can store or scrap them into pieces to sell or gift. The Parts section allows you to see your individual parts that you’ve collected, where you can use them to build a plane or get coins or bux from them.
There are several other fun things in Pocket Planes, such as your Stats and “Bitbook,” the 8-bit Facebook-clone that originated in Tiny Tower. Game Center is supported for leaderboards and achievements, so there’s always a reason to be coming back to this fun simulation game.
While you can always buy the bux if you are low on supply and are rather impatient, the game definitely doesn’t require you to. There’s a lot of fun to be had in the game without spending any money, since you can find bux floating around and you’ll earn some with every level.
I enjoyed Tiny Tower last year, but got tired of it after a while since it got stale. However, I feel there is a bit more depth with Pocket Planes, so hopefully this will keep me entertained longer.
Pocket Planes is free, so give it a go on your iPhone or iPad.