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Pocket Planes is a freemium airline management simulation game with pixel-art and social networking integration. Players manage a fleet of aircraft as well as a network of airports, and organize each flight that occurs using those resources. There is a leveling system and two currencies to limit the player's freedom of action.
Each plane in a player's fleet has a different capacity for passengers and cargo, and may be painted differently for no charge. Airport purchases and upgrades, as well as scheduling flights, cost coins, the game's basic currency, but just about everything else, from pilot outfits to parts for new planes to instant flight completion, requires the more scarce "Bux". Both currencies can be purchased with real money, but both can also be earned by completing passenger and cargo deliveries, and by clicking them as they periodically fly past your planes in the air.
The airports are based on real geography, complete with daylight or nighttime environments based on the airports' timezones in real-time. Playing the game turns out to be a good way to learn situated city names, as their relative position becomes important when determining the most efficient flight paths.
There is very little audio, which may make sense for a mobile app intended for omnipersistent use, but which makes less sense for a desktop app.
Upon opening the app I was bemused by its apparent popularity. It doesn't have the overtly gamelike qualities I expected, opting instead for a more subtle, almost meditative gameplay style. I have to say that I've fallen for it; anyone who's a fan of freemium (or at least willing to try it out) should give this a download pronto.
Sam's Protip: The letter next to each plane model denotes the type of carriage it provides: P for passengers, C for cargo, and M for mixed. In other contexts though, M can stand for Million or Minutes, so keep your wits about you.
- Unpresumingly cute and humorous (but still business-oriented) gameplay
- Premium aspect more avoidable than in most freemium games
- Geographically educational
- Very little audio
- A bit buggy