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Airport Mania: First Flight puts a fun, refreshing spin on the traditional air-traffic-controller game. These planes have faces and feelings — and it's your job to take care of them and keep them happy.
In Airport Mania, instead of controlling planes while they're in flight, you're directing planes while they're at the airport: in from the air, to the runway, to the gate to drop off and pick up passengers, into repairs and refueling and back into the sky.
These planes remind me a bit of that PBS children's show Jay Jay The Jet Plane. They have smiling faces and full, green health bars when they arrive, but if you don't help them quickly enough, they'll get more upset by the minute. Turn a plane's bar red, and you'll have a very angry plane on your hands.
While the animation style appears to be very kid-friendly, adults shouldn't be scared. While the first few levels are pretty basic, things quickly become more advanced. You're suddenly dealing with more planes, and a lot of these will need to be repaired and sent out more quickly. You'll even start getting some special requests from your boss and passengers.
The way you play Airport Mania is quite easy. It's mostly a matter of tapping the plane, and then tapping where on the screen you'd like your plane to go. But, if you just drop into a new game, you'll probably be a little confused.
It's best to attend air-traffic-controller school — which is what the game calls its involved tutorial. There are a handful of training "days," which are basic breakdowns of how the game is played. It takes a little longer than your average tutorial, but it was effective. It's extremely user-friendly and easy to follow, and I didn't have any questions by the time it finished.
Once you have the hang of the game, you'll find it's difficult to put down.
The game crashed on me once, but I didn't encounter any programming issues or freezing while I played. A minor annoyance was that Airport Mania wouldn't let me capitalize my name. Since I'm nitpicking, that's a sign that this is a pretty great download.