The Average Gamer

Aero Vacation Review (iOS)

You’re in charge of an airship. Not just any airship though, your ship is destined to be the greatest pleasure airship experience known to mankind… should you want to:

  • a) pay rather a lot of money for in-app currency, or
  • b) spend the rest of your life checking in on this game.

Aero Vacation from Chillingo and Black Pearl Games is a micro-management simulation somewhat in the style of Tiny Tower which Josh reviewed last year; it’s just that, instead of being an incredibly addictive, charming waste of time Aero Vacation feels like a rip-off from the start.

Floating from one city to another, across a world map, you have the somewhat expected complement of mildly dissatisfied passengers all wanting something from you. The tutorial will lead you through the basics of building them rooms, eateries and entertainment and matching up the various blocks to get an “ideal neighbours” bonus.

Then the rest is up to you as quests are provided in the vein of “build Bob this and get less than you put in as a reward”. I struggled to find a reason to keep playing other than a grim determination to see if it got any better.

Sadly, it didn’t. I suspect this was mainly because there are three game currencies in play: Coins, AeroCredits and Energy. You’ll need to use various combinations for each action and none of them regenerate independently over time.

Most games of this ilk will have an energy bar which depletes and can be topped up with cash or waiting a bit. Not so in Aero Vacation, as energy must be generated via a generator block, coins gained by paying customers on-board and AeroCredits occasionally awarded for completing quests. Income trickles in from your rather humble ship as it pootles through the blue skies and seeing as energy costs coins I found a lot of time was spent doing precisely nothing whilst waiting for enough of everything to do, well, anything.

One of my quests was to build a Rock Climbing Wall. This costs 30 AeroCredits or just under £1.50. Should I want a Ballroom, that’ll be 300 AeroCredits or nearly a tenner. Whilst I totally understand that as a free-to-play game the bottom line needs to be fed, this game has got the balance wrong.

You need to make me want to spend money on a title not haveto spend money to play the actual game in any meaningful way. If you’re going down that road then just make me pay for it upfront and we’ll be square.

There are some nice touches with a “Who’s got the best airship?” competition giving you the opportunity to win customisation options for your hull and I quite like each city having different blueprints so you can discover more airship building blocks as you voyage around the world. But really, unless you’re happy to play this game for the very long term it’s not worth your time.

Aero Vacation is “free” for iOS 4.1 or later.

Curious about the verdict? Read our review policy.