Thursday, 5 July 2012

Entertainment: Pocket Planes - the 'Class A' drug of the app world

I have spent far too much of my time jetting all over Australia, shipping cargo and people on my little planes made of pixels - finally I think it is high time to put down my busy flight schedule and tell the world what I think.

Pocket Planes – it’s time for rehab

It has taken me approximately a year to untangle myself from the sticky web of Tiny Tower, and now Nimblebit has struck me with the world in a 9.7in (diagonal) screen. This highly addictive, but somewhat basic little game has got the world transfixed and burning away at time like there is no tomorrow.

This game, like Tiny Tower, is what I like to call a farming game - you essentially stock your planes with the correct shipment (of either people or cargo) and jet them off to a destination with tasks being completed in allotted amounts of time. The more you fly, the more money and experience you gain - which in turn allows you to advance through levels and expand your global empire. At this point I would usually be ridiculously bored of this type of game, but somehow Nimblebit seem to have my attention span in a chokehold - every time I pick up my iPad I am eagerly checking to see the status of my flights, seeing if the market has any new plane parts and taking a look at the current 'global events'. 

Unlike Tiny Tower, the events that come with Pocket Planes come in the form of two separate strands – with the first strand you have 'global events' which as the name indicates are global. I, for one, think this is one of the more intriguing aspects of the game because you can team with other players to form a ‘Flight Crew’ (regardless of whether you know them or not) by simply putting in the team name and joining the battle for the top team in the global events chart. Being at the top isn’t without its rewards – there are prizes ranging from plane pieces to fully built planes for simply being in the league table. In some ways it brings out competitiveness (and more than likely addiction or compulsion) within an 8-bit environment.

The second strand comes in the form of personal events – these events are individually assigned to players and can determine other aspects of gameplay. Personal events have targets of 1000 jobs – unfortunately, I am nowhere near 1000 to figure out what my reward will be.

Like all fremium games there are plenty of opportunities to spend your real hard earned cash on ‘Bit Bucks’. It seems that the game relies on these bucks more than its big brother game (Tiny Tower) ever has. Every airport upgrade and plane upgrade costs mega bucks, but luckily Nimblebit stays true to their fans (and although it can be time consuming to collect all of those flying bucks or shipping passengers with bucks) it remains free play… until you get bored of waiting that is!
So the concept is simple. The gameplay is simple. The graphics are simple. On the whole, it is an enjoyable game that in many respects I wish I had never laid eyes upon.

Right, now I must see if my plane made it to Sydney. Bye.

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