Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips is one of the best time management games of the year
Have you missed playing the job of an air traffic controller? If so I have great news for you: more than two and a half years after Airport Mania, its sequel Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips has been released. While the game lacks any sort of story, still features the same cutesy graphics, and does not get rid of the same old issues, it still manages to be one of the strongest time management games of this year.
Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips features a whopping 99 levels (excluding the tutorial, and the premium edition even adds 16 more levels), so this is easily one of the longest time management games I have ever played, even surpassing its predecessor. While the game only features one mode, there is still a high replayability due to the possibility to achieve a perfect score. There are four goals to reach for each level, ranging from normal to perfect score, which will appeal to newcomers and veterans of the genre alike.
Your main task is to organize the daily business at nine different airports, such as the North Pole, on a large ship, or even on the moon later on. Planes have to be directed to the runway, to the gates, and some have to be repaired, fueled or sent to the luggage station, just to depart from the runway as soon as possible afterwards. Apart from that every plane comes in a certain color, and there are naturally different types of aircraft. The latter aspect also determines how much money you will earn from any particular plane.
As in other time management titles, color-matching and stacking combos are the key to score really big points in Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips. The more planes you land consecutively, the more money you will earn, and the same applies to color-matching bonuses. The more yellow planes you direct to the same gate, the higher the multiplier at this gate will rise. While this sounds pretty straightforward and easy in theory, it is very complicated and hectic in practice, because you also have to take into account the patience of the planes, which also depends on their type.
Fortunately Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips features a huge amount of upgrades, and here it is extremely important in which order you purchase them from a strategic point of view. Don’t be fooled by the cute graphics of the game; there is rarely a similar game in this genre in which the correct use of upgrades is as crucial as in this case. You can purchase a station at which planes can be repainted in a different color, there is a radar that tells you which colors you have to expect next along with a “plane wash station”, new plane licences, and a chunk of equally awesome additions for your airports.
Admittedly, upgrades vary only very slightly from airport to airport, but due to their strategic significance, the ability to sell and repurchase them as required, and considering how differently each upgrade affects gameplay, this is an absolute non-issue. Additionally, each airport features quirky details in the background that you can interact with, as well as one special mini-game, such as defeating a large octopus threatening a ship, or collecting ten presents for Santa Claus. These features are a nice distraction and show how much thought the developer has put into the game.
Unfortunately the one major problem we had with the first part of this series still is in place in Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips. Most of the aircraft are hard to differentiate, which makes it nearly impossible to score combos as big as possible. Due to the fast pace of the game it is simply pointless and impossible to look for those small distinguishing details. Furthermore some colors look too similar, particularly on the radar, for example blue, light blue, and green, or yellow and orange as another example. This makes the radar, which is a very helpful and important upgrade otherwise, quite ineffectual at times.
But these issues pale if one considers the overall strength of Airport Mania 2: Wild Trips. The game will keep the average player occupied for at least eight hours, not to mention the high replayability. The upgrade system without a doubt belongs to the most interesting and motivating ones out of the whole genre, and the quirky details such as descriptions or background tasks only add to the game’s stellar quality. If you are normally hesitant when it comes to premium or collector’s editions, give this game a try, because it is really worth its price.