Airport City HD
Considering how huge Airport City is/was on Android, with over 230,000 five-star reviews, we're surprised it took Game Insight several months to bring its freemium title to the App Store, especially with Nimblebit's superb effort, Pocket Planes, running amok. That said, now iPad users can see what all the fuss is about, as they build and then customize their own airports while sending passengers on trips to high-profile destinations like Shanghai, the Canary Islands and Turkish Coast. Fun? Sure, but as with most things free these days, there's a price.
Airport City HD is unique for two reasons. First, users not only create an airport filled with expensive-looking planes, terminals and air traffic control towers, but also a surrounding town, which ties into the second reason why we feel this game stands apart from the competition, that being its complexity. This goes far beyond laying more runways and hangars to accommodate aircraft. A thriving economy is essential to success, and it's your job to micromanage this money-making machine by doing all manner of things, from erecting an entire neighborhood to "farm" new travelers to constructing power plants, allowing random aircraft to land and planting businesses that'll accrue gold coins. Beyond that, the game has a plethora of bonuses that do all manner of things, from tripling income from flights to gaining more experience (otherwise known as XP) per flight; as you level up, more options become available.
If this sounds intimidating, fear not, because it is the exact opposite. Helpful tutorials walk you through just about everything, while the always reliable "Show me" button on mission windows shows exactly what needs to be done. Even if you set out on your own and just start pressing stuff, most of Airport City HD comes into focus relatively fast.
To that end, we feel this game provides a relaxing experience free of stress. You can obsess over your airport for hours, or visit friends' and/or random players' creations; don't forget to send gifts. All the while, the attractive 2D graphics provide a satisfying dose of eye candy, and the music should put your mind at ease.
Of course, Airport City HD follows the usual free-to-play route, ultimately forcing you to choose between excessive grinding or forking over real-world money to pick up more coins and/or Airport Cash. Case in point, expansion. Eventually, you'll need to buy plots of land to stick more homes and airport related things, but good luck with that, as relatively modest pieces of green cost 3,000 coins and higher. Using Airport Cash would seem like a cheaper alternative, but since it is tougher to come by, you should think twice or even three times before parting with it.
This basically means that you'll quickly paint yourself into a corner by doing things the natural and free way, where Airport City HD grinds to a halt until A.) a certain amount of time passes, or B.) you spend some cash. No big surprise, and if you play freemium games regularly, you've seen this all before.
With this in mind, it all comes down to how much you enjoy these types of apps, and whether you dream of owning an airport. If either sound appealing, Airport City HD will definitely keep you entertained. For how long will probably depend on how much money you feel the game is worth.
What's Hot: Airport and city builder in one, economy is a well-oiled machine, unlocking new planes and sending passengers to real world destinations, endless supply of missions, peaceful music, free-to-play.
What's Not: Tough to advance without spending money.