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Airport Mania: First Flight

Score: 90%
ESRB: Not Rated
Publisher: Reflexive
Developer: South Winds Games
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Puzzle/ Themed

Graphics & Sound:

Air Traffic Controllers make a great deal of money. This is, in part, due to the high stress their job demands of them. Controlling the skies is a life and death scenario. One wrong move and disaster can happen. This is no different than serving food in a diner or the high stakes world of cake baking. Ok, so maybe it isn't quite so heroic when you look at it in the context of a casual game, but that doesn't stop it from being a lot of fun. Airport Mania: First Flight is another fun offering in the genre of casual time management games. Where as this casual version may not portray the danger and seriousness of the job of an Air Traffic Controller, it does go to show that a happy plane will tip better than an angry one.

The look of the game has all of the characteristics of this genre. Cartoon cel-shaded planes that have come to life inhabit a world of never ending airports. Of course having a face makes it easier to tell if you are keeping the plane happy, or if you are taking too much time and making it angry. I don't know about you but if my plane looked mad before take off I would just catch another plane.

they use sounders to notify you of the status of your planes so it really does pay to pay attention to your planes. The planes also jibber, jabber, and coo if you will, to let you know what their mood is. All of this in an attempt to be cute as well as portray the emotional status. I personally liked the planes whistling "Wild Blue Yonder."


Like any good casual game, Airport Mania has the balance of procedure, time management, and decision making. First things first. The main focus of the game is to get your airplane landed, offloaded, reloaded, and on its way as quickly as possible. The key to keeping the plane happy is doing the above as quickly as possible so that the plane can be on its way again. Make a plane angry and it will leave you a negative rating.

The procedure is as follows: a plane circling your airport needs a place to land. You choose the plane you wish, and then instruct it to land on one of the runways. From the runway, it has two places it can go. If there is an open terminal, it can go straight to it if you want or it can be moved to a layover spot so your runway can be clear for another landing. Once at the terminal, your plane will begin to unload. Once you have offloaded the passengers, your plane will begin to load passengers if it doesn't need anything else. Planes may require fuel or repair and will tell you what they need. Once that need has been met and the plane is back at the terminal, it will then reload and look for permission to leave. Let it know which runway it is allowed to use and off it goes. This is easy with just one plane, but try ten.

So what do you need in an airport? The terminal, the runway, and a layover spot will get you started. As you progress through the game, you will receive other tasks like fueling and repairs to juggle. As planes land and take off, depending on how they were serviced, you will receive money. This money will go towards the purchase of upgrades for your airport to make it faster and more efficient.


I struggle to use the word difficulty when discussing Airport Mania. Once you have the process down, there is little more than the juggle. The one thing that can become difficult is striving for the best score each round. By matching the various colors of planes to gates, you receive a multiplier on the terminal. You can also earn multipliers on the take off and landing if you can get them to be back to back. You may find your self sacrificing the mood of the plane in order to achieve these multipliers. This is mitigated by the fact you can use purchased airport items like in-air movies and layover meals to improve the mood of your planes. The trick is to make sure you have all of your planes' next moves plotted out so you can concentrate on other planes.

Game Mechanics:

In Airport Mania: First Flight, you can preload instructions for the plane. If you tell it to land, you can also tell it what you want it to do next, like go to an available terminal. This preloading is the key to getting the highest scores, but it can also be a curse if you lose track of what you want a plane to do. These planes will follow out orders to a "T", so make sure you do not have a plane waiting to do something that is being blocked by another plane.

If I had any complaint at all, it is this. The planes not only audibly give you clues to what they need next, but big flashing indicators. These indicators get in the way of terminals and other destinations or instructions you need to click. This quite often led to me knowing I had clicked an instruction and the plane would just sit there looking at me to tell it what to do. This didn't distract me too much, but it could sometimes become annoying.

This game has everything you are looking for in a casual game. It has a good twist on a known theme making it fun and interesting to play. It also has that intangible quality of being extremely addictive. This is definitely a day-killer at work. As planes' satisfaction in your airport increases, your productivity at work decreases. Fair trade, I would say. This is one to pick up and enjoy.

-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Minimum System Requirements:

OS: Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows Vista Memory: 256 MB DirectX: 7.0 or later CPU: P 1.0GHz Video: 16MB Video Card

Test System:

Dell XPS DXP061, XP Pro, Intel Core Quad, 2GB Ram, Gforce 8800GTX

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