Nimblebit has sure come a long way as a development studio starting off with excellent $0.99 casual games, then switching gears to freemium. They have been a trend setter of sorts beginning with just a frog pond, then building into a tower, and now expanding to a global airline. Pocket Planes is their newest game wherein you begin with a few planes, and three airports, and you expand from there in an attempt to travel to over 250 cities worldwide. The game features the same art style and time management gameplay as Tiny Tower, but really expands it in all new ways.
You begin at an airport, and there are jobs at each airport with different passengers & cargo to fly to desired locations. Your plane can only hold a certain number of passengers and cargo, and your goal is for each flight to make a profit. For example, you can be in San Diego, and you can send a passenger and cargo to Las Vegas, or send one to Las Vegas, and one to Denver, since they will stop over along the way. Each trip earns you coins, and you can use those coins to unlock new airports and new jobs.
As you play, you can unlock new planes with larger capacity and greater range to complete multiple jobs across multiple cities in one flight. When you’re starting out though, you’ll want to focus on smaller airports as they give you more to do, and chances to unlock new plane parts. For the freemium style, the game relies on bux, like Tiny Tower, and the bux can be used to speed flights, or buy new planes. Pocket Planes has a much more deliberate pacing to begin with since you earn so little coins relative to the cost of new airports. With that said, the game is still oddly alluring, and you’ll no doubt be hooked with an increasing incentive to use bux.
Pocket Planes offers up so much more to unlock and do, but it also feels like it’s geared much more towards getting you to actually buy IAP as compared to Tiny Tower. You can play the game for free though, and it’s made to be mobile as you can jump in when you have a few spare minutes, set up some flights, and then come back to it later when you get a little more time. The game is perfectly designed to be played in short bursts, and there’s such great incentive to keep you coming back as you build up your airline with more and more planes, traveling to further and further locations.
There’s also a deluxe menu system with 15 different options, which can be a bit overwhelming. The menu mainly provides access to new planes and events, with the latter being a real neat addition. There are different things happening around the world, and when you unlock an airport with an event, you will then have special passengers and cargo to pilot around. You can team up with others in Flight Crew to jump up the leaderboards to complete the most tasks related to an event. It’s just another incentive to keep you playing, and that goes along with unlocking new locations, leveling up, and responding to push notifications.
Pocket Planes offers up so much to do each and every time you open the app, and there’s such long term replayability. The game is packed with personality as you would expect from Nimblebit with the Bitbook, costumes, plane customization, changing backgrounds of each airport, and various details on cities, events, and cargo. The process is the best part of the game as you see your airline expand step by step, and have more of the map opened up to you. There’s also the nice strategy elements of combining different cargo elements to go in as a direct route as possible across multiple locations.
Pocket Planes (Free, Universal) has all the makings to be another hit from Nimblebit as it expands greatly on Tiny Tower, though it’s less free friendly. It’s an extremely worthwhile download, and if you’ll excuse me, one of my planes just landed. Also, you can join our Flight Crew ANAT.