Airline Tycoon 2
Airline Tycoon 2 had the Kalypso tag on it…and being a huge, huge fan of Tropico 3 and 4, it didn’t take much convincing for me to pick this up during Steam’s summer sale. The trailer promised customization of planes and routes…which appealed to me the most as I really enjoy finding the most efficient way of doing something. Did it live up to my expectations?
Upon starting her up, I noticed a campaign mode and a free play mode. The addition of a free play mode is always a plus for me, as I enjoy building an empire without the annoying time limit that is sometimes present in the campaign. I enjoy testing myself in the campaign AFTER I have had a chance to play around in free play…though this is just my preference. I went against my better judgement and did the first mission anyway after completing the tutorial…I wasn’t expecting it to be tough after all. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m getting old, but I lost the first mission the first time around. The goal of the first mission was to get your image on a particular route up to 80%, and after enough trial and error, I managed to do it…but it was difficult because I didn’t know what was affecting my company’s image. I saw an increase in satisfaction when I hired more qualified personnel, for example, but the company image subsection seemed to go up or down without any indication as to why it was doing so.
The game lets you customize planes, but you won’t have any say in their direct design. Most of the time, you’ll be presented with a menu of different parts, planes, colors, additions, and etc. but have no say in their placement. Those wishing to build a plane that resembles the Enterprise from Star Trek will be disappointed. Every customization is a choice that is preset and placed for you…though you can customize the color of the plane using red, green, and blue palette sliders.
The office is the place I found myself the most…and I particularly enjoyed the nods to various pop culture / movie references through the memorabilia scattered about. My “end of day” costume was a Darth Vader suit, and the Eye of Sauron kept watch nearby as I planned routes. Route planning gives you the ability to select individual planes and tell them how you want them to fly between the routes that you are leasing. There’s a timeline for each plane, and you’ll be able to “drag” routes overtop time slots. The size of the time slot being filled depends on how fast your plane is…the slower the plane, the larger the blocks you’ll be placing.
You’ll be able to wonder around into different areas of the airport and you’ll need to if you want to win these scenarios. You’ll need to visit the hangar if you want to build planes…you’ll need to visit the personnel office if you want to hire staff…you’ll need to visit the bar if you want to provide catering…the list goes on. You can purchase a guide in one of the shops that will allow you to teleport or fast travel to the places listed on the guide…I make it a point to pick this up immediately. My character just doesn’t run fast enough for my liking and at times he’ll slow to a walk for no apparent reason.
Overall, the game is “okay”, and I say that not to discredit it in any way. I would have liked to have seen more customization options and a plane designer. I also would have liked a detailed almanac (like in Tropico) that tells me exactly what I need to know in terms of numbers and statistics. This game has the potential to be more than the sum of its parts, but as it stands, it’s a simplified airport tycoon simulator. That isn’t to say that it isn’t fun…but I know that Kalypso is capable of doing better.
Final Verdict: 7/10