Developed by Black Pearl Games and published by renowned app publisher, Chillingo. Aero Vacation is a simulation (yes, another one) based game which involves you taking control of an airship and maintaining your airship by building, cleaning and expanding in any way possible. The building side of the game sees you choose exactly what you want to go ahead and add to your own airship which includes; guest rooms, restaurants, billiard rooms, gyms, gardens, bars, ballrooms and a hot spring to name but a few. There are tons of options to go through and the game within the building side of things defiantly has a lot of variety going for it. By building and adding elements to your airship, you earn money so the more you build, the more cash you will receive to spend on better building projects.
The games main focus is straight forward with you being set tasks from the off and by completing said tasks (set by your in-game assistant), you are rewarded with level ups (which means the higher you level up, the bigger and more alive your airship can become) and of course money. The main mode within Aero Vacation revolves around a map and your task is to travel around the map to various cities that are dotted around Europe including London, Barcelona and Rome to which you will receive various bonus items, cash and of more level ups to make your game progress and of course, for your airship to get closer to becoming the best of the best. Various cities give you the option to buy 1 of 2 blueprints for new building projects and once you have both parts of the blueprint, you can then go ahead and start building the new project if you so wish to do so.
When you first start the game, your airship is much an empty shell with nothing inside, but boxes and trash cans but by building a guest room at the start, this will give you the stepping stone to start your empire off with funds coming in. You then have the option to clean various sections of the airship if you so wish but this will cost money which is in limited supply at the start. Once you have a few business up and running (like a restaurant for example), the money will start to come in quicker and more frequently. One problem I have with the game is that from the start it’s very well balanced at showing you exactly what to do, but within a short amount of time later, you are really pushed and confused about exactly what you are doing due to so much going on at any one time. Collect money from the guest room, from the bar, visit another city, build something else etc etc. It really can start to feel a little bit tedious after a while and I personally feel the game needed to be slowed down a tad in that respect.
Aero Vacation does keep you very busy and features some very cool little features. One of the nicest little touches is that the online side of the game has a mode in which you can visit other players airships and see that their game looks like and you can also add friends so you can interact with them and they can also repay the favour by visiting your ship as well. Its quite limited what you can do within its confinements but its still a nice little touch and something that the younger audiences will love I’m sure. The game also features both Facebook and Twitter integration which allows players to upload their new level status and score when they level up.
Another cool little touch that the developer, Black Pearl Games has added is something called ‘Quest List’ which ultimately is very similar to what we get on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in the from of achievements and trophies. The quest list has a list of tasks for you to complete and if successful, you are given bonuses like cash, Aero Credits and energy. Regarding what these do are as follows. Cash will allow you to buy most of the main items like new rooms, a new billiard room or a spa for example. Energy is used to upgrade rooms and make them more appealing and the Aero Credits are used to either speed up the building process and have your new room or element finished instantly rather than having to wait an age for your builder to finish. One part of the game that really did grate me was the building side of things. When you start off, your new rooms are fitted and finished instantly without you using any of your hard earned Aero Credits but the further you progress and the bigger your ship and its rooms become, the longer it will take for your builder to finish the job. There was one instance when I assigned my builder to start work on a gym, but the time the game allocated me as to when it will be finished (in real-time I might add) was 2 hours and 14 minutes and the timeframe becomes even longer the more you progress.
There is also an option to expand your airship and make it as big as you want and this causes even bigger problems with the amount of Aero Credits you will need to either save up or buy with real cash. That is ridiculous and if you run out of Aero Credits then you either have to wait it out or buy some more from the app store so you can then use them to speed up the building work. Most titles like this use this system and I’m aware of that but the way that this is implemented in Aero Vacation is far too fierce and really makes it a frustrating experience at times. For children that don’t have or are not allowed to spend money on add-on buys, this will detach them from the experience very quickly and I don’t know many children that have the attention span for that long and even most adults will not bother with the lengthy wait either.
Aero Vacation is very easy to control and works very nicely indeed. To build for instance, you click on a section of the ship where you want to add your new building and then click to add it to your selected place on the airship that you have chosen. All of your main tasks and menu items are located along the bottom of the screen and are very easy to navigate through and easy to understand. Pinch to zoom is also featured in the game that lets you zoom in when things start to get busy and congested in your airship. As a whole. it all works very smoothly and wont cause you any problems.Your airship can also be customised to your hearts content with you be able to name, change its colour and also change the logo. As much as its a nice touch, the basic abilities that you are given from the off are very limited and if you really want to go to town on your airship, then you will most likely have to buy more in-game credit and this is something (like I have mentioned above) that happens to frequently. The amount of credits you receive as standard when first starting the game up is far too little and at times, it feels as though the development team were more interested in players buying more in-game credits than letting them enjoy the game for a while which is disappointing indeed.
Bright and colourful, Aero Vacation features fantastic detail for such a reasonably priced game and the style sits perfectly well for the genre that it sits in. There are a huge amount of simulation style titles available on mobile devices and all come packaged different to the next, but Aero Vacation is defiantly one of the nicer looking titles that is available to buy right now and the effort that the development team has put into the graphical side of things is clear to see once you start playing the game. Sound wise, Aero Vacation is very mellow and subtle in its tones and although at times it sounds like the style of music you will hear when in a lift at a hotel or while on hold during a telephone call, there isn’t nothing wrong with it in its general implementation.
Whilst Aero Vacation is a fun game, it does feature some major flaws. The main problem with it is the fact that so frequently, you have to buy in-store purchases with real life money if you really want to progress in a big way. You don’t have to go down this route if you don’t want to, but if you don’t, then you really are limited to what you can achieve with this game. Its a good little game that will keep you occupied with its variety and depth but unfortunately, there are far too many titles on mobile devices that are very similar to this and the simulation genre really is awash with titles like this at present. If you don’t mind paying for in-game add ons such as more credits and money then this is a great little title that will keep you occupied for a very long time, but if you don’t have money to throw at this, then it might be in your better interest to stay away. Aero Vacation is an addictive game and fun to play, but the flaws cannot be overlooked and because of this, it really spoils the experience as a whole and detracts you from what could of been a great mobile title.