148Apps Network Post
Developer: NimbleBit
Price: Free to Play
Version Reviewed: 1.0.1
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Playtime: Rating: ★★★★★
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

NimbleBit is the best social game creator on Earth, and Pocket Planes only cements that title. Pocket Planes has players managing their own virtual airline across the globe. Building their fleet of planes, players fly to and from various destinations, earning money for flying people and cargo. Planes have a certain cost for flying certain distances, so finding the most profitable routes becomes key, along with increasing the fleet size and number of airports that get serviced. As the airline expands, players will need better planes that can hold more people and cargo, but will also come with additional flight costs, so a balancing act must be performed to keep making money, in order to become the biggest and best airline in the world!

The game is a lot more involved and complex than Tiny Tower is, but it’s still simple enough to get hooked into. Navigating plane routes and figuring out the best strategies for the most profitable flights become apparent, such as using layovers strategically to help get the 25% bonus for all passengers going to the same destination. The bitizens are back and are still cute looking, with plenty of funny quips in the Bitbook. As well, there’s new costumes that can be bought for the bitizens with Bux, and they are the best. NimbleBit will make so much money off of people buying Bux just for these costumes, like a giant frog suit.

Yet, Pocket Planes still does a fantastic job at making the Bux a legitimate second currency and not just a moneymaking excuse. Yes, it’s possible to accelerate progress by just buying a ton of Bux. But there are many ways to earn Bux via normal game actions or collecting them while watching a plane fly through the air. I never felt like I absolutely needed to buy Bux in order to progress, even while some items require Bux to be purchased.

Pocket Planes is all about what the player puts into it. Is waiting involved? Yes, but it feels like it makes sense, especially with planes having to fly to their specific destinations, and the waits aren’t very long. The game rewards actually being in the app while the planes are flying, and new jobs come in while the player is actually playing. The short wait times mean that progression is determined largely by how much time the player wants to put into the game, and there’s no penalty for letting the game sit for a while.

Pocket Planes addresses the main concerns I had with Tiny Tower in the long-term: that there wasn’t much of a point to the game, and little goal to attain. Pocket Planes is much more involved, with concrete goals, but still keeps the principles that make NimbleBit’s social titles so fun and addictive. Even haters of ‘social’ games need to give this a shot.

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