Jet Set Go is an enjoyable airport-themed time management game, if a tad on the easy side
Some gamers might still remember Airline Tycoon, a silly and charming yet very challenging simulation released at the end of the 1990s. I loved that game, and I am happy that developer Big Stack Studios managed to create a very entertaining and polished casual game for this interesting sub-genre with Jet Set Go. It also proves that the classic time management formula still works wonderful if executed correctly.
There is no specific number of levels to be completed in Jet Set Go. There are three different airports you can open and manage, however the second and third ones are only unlocked when you reach four stars at the previous airport. Furthermore there are eight varying achievements to earn at each location, some will be reached automatically, others really require some dedication and work.
The gameplay of Jet Set Go is divided into two very different styles, which makes for a very rewarding playing experience. At the airports you can help tourists plan their vacations, and the mechanics there are very similar to the Sally series. By clicking and dragging, people can be moved to different stations where you can increase their patience (and what they will pay in the end) by playing short mini-games, such as choosing the right meals or destinations, adjusting every necessary detail for a passport photo, or clicking their favorite free-time activity.
By doing that you fill an excitement bar, which is one of three aspects that make each agency successful, the other two being appeal and satisfaction. The appeal bar can be filled by purchasing upgrades at the shop which are mainly restricted to better chairs. Finally, the satisfaction bar can be filled by individual, stand-alone levels at the varying destinations passengers can choose from. Those destinations change from airport to airport (there are four at each), but the four styles of levels stay the same.
That second aspect of the game feels more like Club Paradise. Sometimes you will be serving lunch and drinks to people, or you have to prove how good your reflexes are by pushing appropriate buttons so that people can dance, at other times you will have to collect different shells at the beach to deliver them to the tourists. Those different mini-games are not too challenging or unique, but they are a very welcome distraction from the general gameplay and definitely add to the general atmosphere of Jet Set Go.
As soon as all those aforementioned bars are filled your current agency will earn a star, and you have to fill the bars of each agency four more times to reach the aspired five-star-agencies. With each new star new upgrades, customer types, destinations and stations are unlocked, which provides a very rewarding feeling in that each new star really unlocks a satisfying number of new features.
The only downsides of Jet Set Go are that the upgrades at the airports could be more varied. You will upgrade the same chairs over and over again, but the effect is limited with regards to both gameplay and graphics. Moreover the game feels a tad too easy in general. There are no specific goals for individual levels, the customers are extremely patient, and particularly some of the levels at the destinations are way too easy and should be more complex and interesting.
The graphics, on the other hand, are extremely crisp and beautiful. The tourists are animated nicely, and it is a fitting touch that the game does not take itself too seriously. Moreover the player is able to choose between three different grades of difficulty so that even absolute beginners will enjoy this game without any pressure.
Jet Set Go definitely is a game worth your time if you are into this genre. It might be a tad too easy, and the mini-games at the destinations could have been more distinct between different airports, but aside from that there is not much to complain. Really classic time management games with an interesting twist have become a rare thing, and Jet Set Go delivers exactly that rather flawlessly.