App Reviewed on: iPhone 5
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
There's a lot of potential for a game about airport security. Potential for being interesting, potential for satire, and potential to be horrible or mired in social/political commentary. I'll admit that I was fairly concerned about the latter, but it only took a few levels of Airport Scanner to put my fears to rest.
As the name implies, Airport Scanner puts players smack-dab in the middle of an airport security checkpoint. They'll have to swipe and tap their way through several bags of luggage as they make their way through the x-ray machine, trying to identify illegal carry-on items while also keeping the line moving so as not to delay the flight. Also while keeping an eye on the line and the barricades so that they can fast-track flight crew (to avoid time penalties) and first class passengers. Cash earned from completing each level can be used to purchase more airports, new x-ray machines, and special upgrades that do everything from making hazardous items easier to see to slowing down time.
As I've said, I was worried about Airport Scanner being nothing more than a potentially taboo piece of shovelware. However that's most definitely not how it ended up. This is a fun and frantic arcade game with a simple interface and some clever ideas, not a poor attempt at capitalizing on semi-recent events. Each flight is trying to leave on time, and the clock is always ticking, however flagging the wrong piece of carry-on will hold things up and missing a forbidden item will cause the security rating to tank. Having to strike a careful balance between speed and accuracy makes each level a challenge, and the quirky little metagame of line management adds just enough chaos into the mix to keep things exciting.
Even with a bunch of helpful upgrades, Airport Scanner can be a tough game. When things really get crazy it can feel like the luggage belt is moving way too fast, but slowing it down can do more harm than good if it's held up for too long. I'm not saying it's impossible but interested players should know that it's no walk in the park. The near constant introduction of new items to look out for can also make things a bit too hard to keep track of, especially since they can be added in the middle of a level with only a small indication on the logbook in the bottom corner to let players know something's up.
Airport Scanner is a deceptively brutal arcade game, and I've been enjoying it thoroughly. It's not preachy and it's not inappropriate; it's just fun. Lots of chaotic, cartoonish fun.