Aero Porter is a really bold piece of game design. Who on earth would want to play a game about managing luggage in an airport? Sounds like simultaneously the most mundane and stressful concept you could create.|
But it works so well, because it is tricky and involving right from the start. Because it is an example to other lesser indie developers of why thinking carefully about the way players interact with the game and how they control it can make the difference between the addictive and the boring. Because its aesthetics are admirably straightforward and at the same time, very charming.
You get to manage an airport by running a baggage carousel to organize customer's luggage into plains. This is the puzzle part and it is extremely addictive because instead of matching the colored luggage to the carousels in a by-the-numbers idea of puzzle gaming descended from Tetris, you only get three ways to control it. Lower the right lever to make luggage go lower, raise the left lever to make it go higher, tell planes the luggage is ready and its time to lift off. The controls are L, R and your voice to designate which carousel is ready for which plane (example, "number 2, load", I find it really fun and excellent use of voice control, but for those who can't stand it, button control is also available).
But of course there's a hitch. And this comes in the simulation part. Planes have schedules they have to follow, get the luggage ready before it lifts off or pay the penalty. Every day, you have a goal of customers and money to make. VIP passengers want you to load their luggage first. Buy fuel to keep the carousels turning and the lights on when the gauge goes down. Turn off the lights to keep the costs down. And so on and so forth.
You get the complexity of various real world elements colliding with each other that makes simulation games compelling and the mind-melding high-score challenge of color matching puzzle games combined into one very fresh idea. The addictive nature of a perfectly pitched puzzle game makes it so the airport simulation never gets dull and the feeling of doing well at your job, expanding on your successes and analyzing situations to manage them better that makes long-term simulation compelling gives the game some serious longevity.
Really, yeah, I know. Its a puzzle simulator about airport baggage, but Yoot Saito's mad genius really makes it work. After all, if somebody told you that you would find it compelling to build a Russian czar's castle by dropping oddly shaped blocks on it or throw kids into brutal civil wars where they mercilessly kill each other and smile about it, you'd probably be like, eh? But both of those were the premises of two of the most absolutely classic portable games ever.
I think this is one of the games of the year. If you miss the kooky off-kilter concepts that flooded the DS during its heyday, you should give it a try.
Edited by JinTypeNoir at 06:01:52 10-12-2012
Aero Porter is fantastic! You should try it!
JinTypeNoir 4,392 posts
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Phattso Best Moderator, 2014 16,210 posts
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No burly spacemarines and bromances; no sale.
Murbs 23,158 posts
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Pocket Gamer agree with Jin...
Monsieur_Blade 380 posts
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Anyone else given this a try?
It sounds like it could be a great little game but I'm just worried it might get really frustrating really fast cos it sounds like it's got a very steep learning curve.
I'm def tempted at under £5 though.