Pocket Takes: Airline Tycoon Deluxe, Campaign The Game, and Genesia

By Owen Faraday 03 Jul 2012 0
Our three Pocket Takes capsule reviews today cover Airline Tycoon Deluxe, ad agency sim Campaign, and the board game-style 4X Genesia.

Airline Tycoon Deluxe

iTunes Store, $6.99. Universal.

Airline Tycoon is such a hasty PC port that the tutorial tips still mention keyboard shortcuts. Airline Tycoon is such a hasty PC port that the tutorial tips still mention keyboard shortcuts.

Airline Tycoon Deluxe is a PC airline business sim that's been ported to iOS, but it's an awfully rough port. The controls were obviously designed with mouse-overs and right-clicking in mind, meaning that you'll buy things without meaning to or get lost in a sargasso of nested menus. There's some menus in the game I still don't know how to exit - when I get to them, I just shake my iPad around wildly and touch the screen at random. Eventually, Airline Tycoon is appeased by my offering of dignity and deigns to exit the menu. I can't imagine what nightmare it is to play on the iPhone.

Even if it was a seamless iOS port, Airline Tycoon has some basic conceptual problems. The game takes place in a airport terminal where your tycoon works. If you want to hire a new pilot, you have to leave your office and walk down the hall to your personnel office, chat to your HR manager, and select a pilot after looking through a stack of CVs. If you want to open a new route, you have to pick up the phone to do it.

The joy of an airline sim is to pore over maps and move little model planes around, not pretending you're a bureaucrat. Airline Tycoon hides the maps and the planes behind the drudgery of actually being in an office. It's as if someone made Battlefield 3 into a boot-polishing simulator. I spend all day in offices with weirdos I don't actually like - that's not what I want to do when I get home.

There are some in-game items that will let you jump from one location to another (thank heavens they aren't IAPs) but even with these equipped it's a pain to get anything done. If you can play through the arduous presentation it seems like there's a lot of depth to Airline Tycoon's economic model, but it's a frustrating experience at best.


2 out of 5


Campaign The Game

iTunes Store, $1.99. iPhone.

I don't get it either. I don't get it either.

Campaign is a game that I desperately wanted to be good. The concept is a rarely-explored theme -- and one that seems ripe for a game adaptation, at that.

Campaign is an advertising agency sim that shamelessly apes Kairosoft's Game Dev Story. Visually it's almost a reskin of GDS, and the gameplay hits all of the same notes. For every ad campaign you devise, you are offered a choice of different themes and media to combine (ex. a dynamic comedy campaign on TV) with the goal of making a campaign that reaches your client's intended audience. After your campaign launches, you get evaluated on how well it did and how creative it was.

It should be pretty damn fun, but Campaign is so stingy about feedback that you're never quite sure what's going on. Why is this guy I hired better or worse than the one already on the team? Why does this campaign get a good creativity rating and that one doesn't?

It's also far shallower than Game Dev Story was. GDS wasn't exactly a deep sim, but you could micromanage the attributes of your games to emphasize sound or graphic design and train up your staff in certain skills. There's none of that in Campaign. It's so marginally interactive that after a while you feel as though you've been sitting in front of a PowerPoint presentation for a while. Though I suppose in that sense, Campaign does a perfect job of making you feel like you're really in an ad agency.


1 out of 5



iTunes Store, $6.99. iPad-only. Lite version available.

Genesia is eccentric, but fun. Genesia is eccentric, but fun.

Genesia is a 4X game that feels likes it's a board game conversion. You are the leader of a group of colonists competing to settle an uninhabited island. Besides the colonizing business, there's also a plotline involving some lost mystic macguffins, but the meat of the game is a bit like a city-builder. Plop down your meeples on a tree and they'll cut it down, giving you wood resources to spend. Set them on a farm and you'll get food. You can draft your citizens to take over the colony next door by force of arms, but the opportunity cost is that they won't bring home any resources that turn. The interface to navigate all of these activities feels a little over-engineered for what it needs to do, but once you learn you way around its not bad.

Genesia is a collection of fairly simple game mechanics that you've seen before, but they gel into a pleasing whole for the most part. The scope of the game is massive; once you've started to build up your settlement, a huge array of different units and buildings opens up, though the game's interface is much better suited to building things than it is to warfighting. There's enough random events and AI caginess that the long process of taking over the island keeps from getting stale. The end result is something like Axis & Allies: a game that might lack depth but certainly not breadth.


3 out of 5

Tags: Shooter, Hardware



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