Dec 29, 2013Sold as a simulation but has practically zero depth and you can easily go around the whole game in a few hours. There are only 4 airlines to choose from, which are rigid and uncustomizable. The aircraft customization options themselves are laughable; only 8 aircraft to choose from regardless of any realism (the Concorde becomes a short haul, high passenger, profitable aircraft) with verySold as a simulation but has practically zero depth and you can easily go around the whole game in a few hours. There are only 4 airlines to choose from, which are rigid and uncustomizable. The aircraft customization options themselves are laughable; only 8 aircraft to choose from regardless of any realism (the Concorde becomes a short haul, high passenger, profitable aircraft) with very limited options. The indoor cabin design is a joke: the developers wouldn't bother to make the different indoor environment for the different aircraft, so the inside of your jumbo jet is the same as that of your small propeller airliner. Furthermore you just choose preset items for the whole aircraft and can't for example have multiple class aircraft, but this doesn't change anything anyway since the price for all tickets is always the same.
Also personnel management is ridiculous: you hire people with the skills they come with and you can't train them further, so your only way to improve your staff is to fire them and get new ones. You can only assign one set of staff to an aircraft, so basically it's the same pilot flying that airplane 24/7 for a whole month. Call the worker's syndicate!!! For those of you who are politically minded it's also nice to notice here that the game is stereotypically sexist: all pilots are males and all flight attendants female.
The main part of the game and where you will spend the most time with is the scheduling; it looks intricate at first, but after a few hours you find out it totally lacks any realism. The amount of passengers only depends on the demand and you can program your flights at basically any time of the day, hello 2AM departures! Basically your success at the game just depends on cramming the biggest number of route and charter flights in the schedule rather than making regular flights (the flight numbering system is automated and wonky).
The user interface is atrocious in the whole game, you have to physically walk to different offices, with loading screens, to get going. While the idea is commendable, it will soon become a chore and you will soon give up booking charter flights just because they require constant walking outside your office (loading screen), to the elevator (loading screen) to the charter office so you can grab a few contracts, and then the same annoying way back so you can schedule them.
The options are so limited and not user friendly at all, the tooltips are inconsistent and unclear over the board. The scheduling board is extremely poorly designed. It's hard to place the flights with precision, the "repeat schedule" option, which is meant to allow you to hold regular flight is the most user unfriendly ever and simply doesn't work. Any flights that take off before midnight and land after midnight will break this feature. Also you are forced to do some makeshift workarounds, like setting the schedule you want to repeat for tomorrow, then waiting a whole day before deciding to repeat it, because the game doesn't let you modify today's schedule, but it only allow you to copy today's schedule, not another days... so user unfriendly it's a crime. And did I mention the annoying "clear flight schedule" button located next to other buttons, which will wipe all the work you did without a confirmation screen?
The game itself is also full of bugs. The schedule locks itself frequently for no reason, the text doesn't match your actual objective, you get teleported back to your office when looking at a competitor's aircraft, the tutorials (which are themselves rather useless) get stuck while in progress, so you have to repeat the same actions twice.
The game does have a cute little design feel to it with some pretty cool airplane models (the airbus 380 with full ringed wings and 8 engines for example, or the cute curvy Concorde), but this doesn't save it from the abysmal depth, or lack of depth, that it sinks into. Most people play simulation games because they enjoy some variety and custom options. In this game:
* You cannot rename anything (airlines, aircraft, staff)
* There is only 1 airport interior, all airports in the world are the same
* There is only 1 aircraft interior
* None of your choices has any real effect on the game anyway.
* Regardless of which mission you are in, or sandbox mode, you start each day at 9AM with a speech from the airport director, the speech is always the same and he repeats it 3 times as well for each of your competitor airlines.
Playing this feels about as fun as groundhog day happening to you...
PC Gamer UKDec 4, 2011Simply getting things done is a grating process. [Christmas 2011, p.107]