Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips Review

Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips (v1.15) (Android/iOS)
Players: 1
Genre: Simulation (airport)
Developer: Lemon Team
Marketplace/Apple Store Price: $.99
[Apple] Release Date: December 17, 2011
[Android] Release Date: December 23, 2011

Game played on HTC Thunderbolt running Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread)

Parent Talk: Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips is a sequel to the November 2010 Airport Mania: First Flight. There isn’t a reason for moms and dads to be concerned regarding this experience. A young gamer might struggle with its micromanagement requirements, but that’s the only conceivable obstacle for minors to play.

Review Basis: Achieved Perfect scores on all but one stage in areas 1 through 9. Finished a handful of stages in the final area.

Mobile gaming has exposed a fascinating, never-before-considered willingness in yours truly to play certain types of titles. Robo Defense drew me in to tower defense, Modern Combat has helped me enjoy touch screen-only first-person shooters, and then there’s Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips. If it was suggested prior to fall 2011 that I would play a simulator…an airport simulator, forget about actually taking pleasure in it, I would’ve likely worn one of those “Are you for real?” kind of looks. Nonetheless, it has happened, and I’m not ashamed in the least to admit that both concepts were indeed fulfilled.

The Great:

Addictive challenge. It’s never easy in game design to provide the perfect challenge and motivate the player to return. Lemon Team’s Wild Trips succeeds with flying colors on both fronts. Across ten pleasantly unique landscapes, you act as an air traffic control operator, with the goal of communicating to cutesy planes when and where to land, approach a drop-off/pick-up gate, receive any necessary service (fuel, repairs, luggage), and finally take off again. Every leg of an individual plane’s journey is intended to add points to your overall score, and achieving a Perfect on every stage is no cakewalk. It’s a fun and frantic experience that anyone with a quick brain and finger can appreciate.

The Good:

+ Adorable. You can call me a sap or question my masculinity, but I’ve no problem praising the adorable presentation of Airport Mania 2. Each plane bears a cute set of eyes, a nose (the actual vehicle’s), and a grinning mouth. Each landscape is also beautiful: rich in color, appropriate detail, and distinct plane type designs. There’s not a reason to complain about how the game looks.

+ Audio package. You probably won’t hum the stage themes away from the game, but they’re appropriate and encourage you along. The sound effects especially cracked me up at times. You’ll hear all kinds of planes singing ‘doo doo doo’ melodies throughout the game, and varying intonations help the noise not become too repetitive. And for you American gamers that love their country, wait until you play the airborne airport!

+ Interesting awards. It’s neat to be recognized for quickly landing planes carrying a pregnant woman, impatient old-timer, organ transplant, or even the stinkin’ President of theUnited States! The colorful ribbons that represent each good deed don’t do anything but sit on your personal profile wall, but each instance is at least tracked. You’re also acknowledged for maintaining maximum color multipliers on all your gates upon finishing a stage, amongst other tasks worthy of note.

+ Upgrades. Each major airport comes with several stages to conquer, and you’re encouraged to score high in every one. If you don’t, the money available to spend on improvements to your airport is more limited, as it’s directly tied to how you previously performed. Amenities like a VIP layover, faster gate(s), improved gas station, serving refreshments, showing a movie, and more, greatly increase your chances of nailing consecutive Perfects over time.

+ Child’s play. Like most other casual iOS or Android games that require only the touch of your finger, AM2: Wild Trips tasks you with tapping a plane, then tapping where you want it to go. That’s all there is to it.

The So-So:

+- The color palettes. Four different sets of plane color palettes are available to choose. The problem is that while they’re overall distinguishable on the menu screen, they aren’t so much in the heat of chaotic traffic control. I think a default primary color scheme would’ve been best. Let the player customize the colors if it was his/her desire.

The Bad:

– Selection difficulty. With a squadron of planes on the ground, it’s likely that in wanting to move them around quickly that you’ll have occasional difficulty pinpointing them. It’s especially problematic when all your gates, layover spots and service stations are occupied. It usually doesn’t mean the difference between a Supreme or Perfect score, but can be frustrating. Taking extra-long might make some of your customers a bit unhappy!

– What radar? I’ve read in every article I’ve scoured for Airport Mania 2 that there’s radar that forewarns you about what plane color is coming next. You know, like Tetris. Now I know about the obvious radar-looking partial circle in the upper-left side of the screen, but someone will have to educate me on just how it’s ‘cluing me in’. If the blue, yellow and orange lines are some kind of code, I haven’t deciphered it. It hasn’t been helpful yet.

The Ugly:

Having your progress wiped. Lemon Team committed a terrible blunder issuing one of their recent updates to the game. Many customers, possibly everyone, who downloaded it without a second thought became victim of the ol’ memory wipe. Every last bit of progress you made vanished in an instant, with no means of recovery. I recall having achieved Perfect scores on at least every stage through area 5 at that point. Justin wasn’t happy, and this is partially the reason he lost interest in finishing the final area.

The Lowdown:

Despite my Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips progress being nullified in mere seconds, I’m not about to contest that the game deserves low marks as a result. It was a mistake, and I’m blessed that something worse didn’t happen. It was painful to be on the receiving end, but life goes on. Despite the flaws of this air traffic control simulator, it’s a wonderfully-entertaining game that sells I believe at under value. It’s content-appropriate for anyone, and brings a balanced challenge that you don’t encounter often. If managing a handful of airplanes across a vast array of environments sounds interesting to you, by all means drop $.99 on Airport Mania 2.

Average Score Scale: 9.0 (+/- 0.5) out of 10

Personal Final Score: 9.0/10 (Neutral)

Reason for +0.5 Inflation: You experience little to no trouble selecting planes and/or you understand the radar’s signaling.

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