3DS

North America

Aeroporter

by Tyler Ohlew - December 3, 2012, 5:41 pm PST
Total comments: 2

7.5

Like coach seating, it does the job, but could be a bit more comfortable.

Aero Porter is frantic, hectic, and too much to take at times. It's busy at it's best, and overwhelming at its worst. If you were to generalize the game as a puzzler, this isn't the type with which you can unwind. There is no feeling of Zen. There is only calamity.

Flying in the face of all this (pun most definitely intended) is how fun the game can still be. Aero Porter's gameplay is unique, and sure to keep you interested. It just gets bogged down with complexity that comes on far too soon.

Aero Porter casts you as the operator of six conveyor belts. Each one coloured, each one leading to a like-coloured plane. Your goal is to funnel the oncoming luggage onto the proper flight. The luggage is also color coded, so there's no difficulty in knowing where each piece goes.

As the operator, you control a set of arms on each circular conveyor. The rightmost arm lowers luggage to the conveyor below and is controlled by the 3DS's R button. The arm on the left allows bags from the carriage below to be lifted up.

Each plane is scheduled to depart within a couple minutes of arrival. You load the proper baggage onto the plane and set it on its way, managing your fuel as you do so (you can purchase more fuel, but even that needs to be shifted down all the conveyor belts into the "floor" of your workspace). Your shift, only a handful of real-time minutes, determines how many passengers flow in and out of your airport. As you play, your airport grows, but so do expectations. Bob Saito (hmm, seems familiar), your boss, demands more from you with each successful day.

The core objective of managing the flow of flights in and out of your airport is undeniably fun. It's the landslide of options that become the burden.

During the course of a day's work, the player can speed up or slow down the conveyor belts, turn off the lighting systems of each conveyor one at a time to conserve fuel, slow down the sorting arms, have the game automatically load matching luggage, and stop up to five packages from being loaded onto the belts. All these options aren't even doled out over a long period-they're all immediately accessible within the first half hour or so. Even with these abilities in your control, the game’s special objectives can make things complex.

As your day progresses, the game throws curve balls in the form of bonus tasks you must complete to evolve the airport. An already busy day gets tense as the American president needs his special luggage loaded onto Air Force One, a challenge made even more difficult by the fact that his luggage comes in many different colours, with only a small, often obscured tag  distinguishing it from the rest. While this is asked of you, a suspicious package needs to be loaded onto a special van. And of course that package is only distinguishable from the dozens around it by the fact that it doesn't shake as you blow into the 3DS's microphone.

In combination, these challenges make the game’s enjoyable mechanics far too cumbersome. At times, I had to pause the game to take notice of each flight’s departure time. With so much to keep track of, you're bound to lose sight of one important aspect or another.

In an odd but appreciated move, the game reminds you that accuracy isn't as important as getting customers onto their flights. As a puzzle game, it's easy to forget this. You want to succeed by performing perfectly, not just by doing well enough to see another day. However, Aero Porter places the most importance on the special tasks, as no matter how many passengers you move in and out of your airport, failing these tasks results in a failed day.

Aero Porter is certainly fun, but loses its way in trying to keep the player on the edge of his seat. New concepts and additions make the experience feel fresh, but they come on far too fast. If you can stick with it, coming to grips with what is asked of you becomes easier, and in turn, the fun returns. I enjoy my time with Aero Porter, but it's not a game of mounting difficulty. You're immediately expected to perform well at your job, with no time for dilly-dallying.

Summary

Pros
  • Core gameplay is very strong
  • Creative concept
  • Terrific ambience
Cons
  • Additions to gameplay come on far too fast
  • Difficulty spikes far too early

Talkback

John KreeseDecember 04, 2012

Man, you were way more generous to this game than I'm willing to be.  I spent the better part of Sunday evening with Aero Porter, and I couldn't shake the feeling that someone in Japan was playing a practical joke on me. 


It doesn't start out fun, and it never gets fun. I'm a huge fun of puzzle games, and I don't see much of a puzzle in the harried sorting of colored luggage.  You're dead-on in your complaint about the immediate piling-on of increasingly complex tasks, too.  The player doesn't get the opportunity to become comfortable with the primary game mechanic before confusing variants are tossed in their lap.  And right when you're beginning to find a flow, you're jarringly interrupted by pop-up dialogue about how the TGI Friday's Express in Terminal F has run out of jalapeno maple ranch glaze, so now you have to move the ramps rhythmically to "flavor-fy" the food. 


Okay, that might be an exaggeration.  But only a slight one.


The bottom line for me was that this game doesn't feel like a game, it feels like work.  Worse than work, even.  And I spend a lot of time in PowerPoint at my job, so that should tell you something.

noname2200December 07, 2012

I'd say the review is spot on. It's a fun arcade-style game, but it gets bogged down by adding on too many unnecessary layers. The way you refuel is one such example, as getting the can all the way down to the final level while still juggling all the luggage is simply a chore. Disguising luggage was also a facepalm worthy decision.

In spite of all that, I liked the time I put into it. If it had been over $5 I might be singing a different tune, but for what I paid I got my money's worth.

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Genre Strategy
Developer Level-5
Players1
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Aeroporter
Release Nov 29, 2012
PublisherLevel-5
RatingEveryone
jpn: Aeroporter
Release Dec 05, 2012
PublisherLevel-5
RatingAll Ages
eu: Aeroporter
Release Nov 2012
PublisherLevel-5
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