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A follow-up to the popular Tiny Tower, NimbleBit's Pocket Planes offers a charming, well-presented take on airline management that kept me hooked for hours, ferrying passengers and cargo from one place to another in planes of varying capacity, range, and speed.
You choose who or what travels on a flight, from a list sorted according to fare, then plot out a route on the map. Everything takes a fair bit of real time, so you'll probably hop in and out of the game several times a day to set new batches of Bitizens off to the skies. Each trip earns you coins, which enable you to expand your airline's global reach with new or upgraded airports, with the number of airports you can own capped by your current level. Sometimes you also get bux, which can be used to buy more planes or parts from the market, upgrade your existing fleet, rush a flight to its destination, or deck out your pilots in swanky new costumes.
You can gain a few extra coins and bux (and, correspondingly, experience points) by tapping on them as they float past while you watch a plane fly. This is a great way to pass the time while waiting for a plane to land, but it's a little too easy. I found that blindly tapping on the screen while looking elsewhere garnered near-perfect success. Planning routes to maximize earnings likewise offers little challenge, but I found a compulsive enjoyment in picking the passengers or cargo and tapping out a profitable journey on the map. Layovers, trade-offs between travel times, and bonuses for certain conditions provide enough depth to keep you interested, but they won't give you any headaches.
The bottom line. An addictive and charming game, Pocket Planes suffers only from its lack of strategic depth. You'll find hours of entertainment watching your airline grow and customizing its minutiae; just don't expect to be challenged.
iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad running iOS 5.0 or later
Easy to learn. Perfect for playing on the go. Addictive and fun. Charming presentation.
Too easy. Limited strategic depth. Takes a long time to grow your airline without spending real money.