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Pocket Planes: app of the day
What is it?
A new game for iPhone and iPad by NimbleBit, that previously had a hit with Tiny Tower. This time round, you're building a globehopping airline rather than a skyscraper.
The beautifully characterful pixel-art graphics from Tiny Tower are here, complete with the little people. It looks great, but the gameplay is gripping too.
iPhone/iPad - Free
It's no coincidence that several of my friends had to force themselves to delete Tiny Tower from their smartphones. It was stopping them getting work done, making them miss stops on the bus, disrupting their sleep patterns... It was uber-addictive.
Now the developer behind the smash-hit tower building game has released a new title, Pocket Planes. It has a similar graphical style, and looks to be just as ferocious a time-sucker as the previous game.
The game is described as a 'casual airline sim', which alas doesn't mean one where the cabin staff wear manky tracksuits and burp their way through the safety instructions. Instead, it's an attempt to make a game based on becoming an airline mogul fun and accessible for as many gamers as possible. It succeeds.
So, you start with a couple of planes that can only fly short distances, carrying a few passengers or pieces of cargo. Your job is to build this into a global superco, unlocking new planes and locations as you go.
You earn money by sending your planes to other airports, although this being a freemium game, you can speed up your progress by purchasing 'Bux' - a similar virtual currency to that used for Tiny Tower.
Social is a big part of the gameplay too, as you compare your progress against friends, and even work with them on "Flight Crews" - collaborative journeys that can earn you more money to spend on your fleet.
Running an airline sounds a bit boring, but in Pocket Planes it's utterly charming. Be warned, canny use of push notifications will have you firing up the game regularly as you're pinged to say a flight has landed.
More night owlage lies in store for fans, it's fair to say. But when a game is this fun, it's hard to mind too much.