“ Developer: Big Fish „
When I first got my laptop it had a number of games which were just trials and Airport Mania was one of them. Sadly that was only an hour long and when I looked to see how much it would cost to buy it I was surprised to see it was $19.99 (just over £12) and a further $7.99 (almost £5) if I wanted a backup CD. However, recently I found an offer on Big Fish Games which meant that I could get the game for just $2.99 (about £1.60). The normal price through this site is £7.70, which isn't too bad.
OS: Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7
CPU: 1.0 GHz
RAM: 256 MB
Hard Drive: 34 MB
Aim of the game:
The aim of the game is to keep the airport running smoothly. To do this you have to keep the planes happy which involves getting them onto the runway as soon as possible, letting the passengers off and picking the next passengers up. To keep the game interesting some will need to be repaired and refuel.
All you need to play the game is a mouse as you click the planes and then the place you wish them to go to. The planes all have thought bubbles above them with icons in so you know where they want to go. This means the game is quick to learn and anyone can play. You can direct more than one plane at a time, which makes it easier, especially when you have a few planes going to different places.
There is a tutorial which you can play and this shows you how the game works so you can practice before doing the main levels.
Overall you can control the planes perfectly well, but there have been times when I've tried to direct a plane to somewhere and it hasn't selected it. Instead when I've gone to select another plane it's directed the first plane there which is really annoying and can really mess things up, especially if you have another plane that is getting angry and should have gone first.
There's also been many times when I've directed a plane to somewhere, clicked a few other planes then noticed the first plane sitting still getting angry. So then I have to direct it again, which sometimes isn't possible if another plane has taken its place or it makes other planes angry because I've wasted time having to go back to that plane or that plane is still sitting where I told another to go. There doesn't seem to be any reason for them not moving, I know for sure I highlighted them and told them where to go and the game can handle you directing more than one plane at once.
Each plane is a different colour and whenever they go to a gate to drop off passengers and pick more up it colours the gate. The best way to get a high score is to send the planes to the matching colour gate as this gets you a bonus.
Each plane takes a certain length of time to do each thing and there are a few different planes so some are faster than others. You can see the progress of each plane and once it is half way through you can then give it directions to where it should go next.
There are different stages in the game with a number of levels and each level gets a bit harder. It starts out with a few planes that you must land, send to the gates and then send back to the runway and as the game progresses you get a fuelling station and a repair centre.
You can also buy extra features before each level. Each time you complete a level you gain money. The better you do the more you gain and the more you can buy. These features include extra waiting spaces, runways, a painting station, extra gateways or improved gateways, which all help you run the airport smoother. However, there are some obstacles to make it more interesting. One being that runways can become foggy for a short length of time so planes can not use it.
Mostly this is no big deal as the planes can wait a short time and still set off happy. However, there was once when I had loads of planes on the ground, all getting angry and no way to let any of them take-off, and a few planes up in the air getting angry that they couldn't land.
There are also bonuses like a helicopter that flies by. If you click it it drops a parachute and clicking that gets you more money. However, this can also be a bit of an obstacle as you have to be quick and clicking that can sometimes mean a plane becomes unhappy.
Each level has different score goals and these affect how much money you will make. The goals are goal, expert, master, supreme. To get these goals you have to keep the planes happy. So if you land a plane early you gain more points than if you were to land it on time.
Even if you've played all the levels there's still replay value as you can go back and replay any of the levels and try and get a better score. The better you score the more stars you gain and these are displayed on each level so you can easily see which ones you need to go back to.
Graphics and Audio:
The graphics are fairly simple and cartoon like. When I saw it my first thought was that it was like Budgie the little helicopter because of the various colours and the faces.
There are different backgrounds for each stages and most of this background is a still image. However, there are certain moving images such as clouds and birds which is a nice touch and makes the game look a bit more interesting. If anything else was moving it would be far too distracting so this works well.
The music is simple and repetitive. It's not too annoying, but I do always turn the music off before I start playing as I prefer to listen to my own music.
I do keep the sound effects on, but usually have the volume pretty low. I think it helps to have the sound effects, but they can get a bit annoying. For example, it makes a noise when you click. The planes also sing a bit of a tune when they're happy and moving on to the next thing (like take-off) which is fine. There are also other sound effects like plane noises, which aren't really realistic but it's clear what they are and it adds to the game.
This is a really fun game that will probably keep kids entertained for hours. Adults will probably find the game less challenging, but it's still fun to play and as there are a number of levels it will still take a while to complete it. As I said at the start, I wouldn't want to pay loads for this game, but it is worth a few pounds. Recommended.