Aero Porter is the brain-child of Yoot Saito of SimTower, Seaman, and Odama fame. This puzzle-sim was released onto the Nintendo eShop by Level-5 as part of the Guild01 series. In Aero Porter, you sort luggage at an airport. So...is it fun?
The game starts out simple enough. You manage two luggage carousels in the tutorial level and it teaches you the basics. Colored bags drop onto the first carousel, and you need to sort them and get them to their respective planes. Easy enough when you're just managing two carousels.
Check out the neat box art!
Luggage travels clockwise on each baggage carousel. Hold R to lower the ramp on the right, allowing baggage to drop from carousel one to carousel two, and hold L to lower the ramp on the left to bring luggage back up to the top. Once you've got all of your colors set, load them onto the planes. Choose your plane with the d-pad and press A to load all of the luggage on a carousel onto a plane. The plane takes off, and a new plane lands. The color bags you need to load onto a plane is shown to you on the carousel.
Once you complete the tutorial level, the real challenge begins. A third carousel is added, planes are on a schedule, and you have to load a certain number of passengers on your planes to expand your airport.
But wait, there's more! Each level has its own challenges on top of loading X number of passengers each day. These range from simple tasks, such as loading the mayor's luggage onto a plane before anyone else's or sending a bomb into a Haz-Mat truck, to more complex, such as loading Air Force One with the President's luggage (the color of his tags determines which luggage is his) while dealing with a suspicious piece of luggage on six different carousels. There is also the potential to use gyroscopic controls when a round package arrives, and you'll occasionally need to blow in the microphone to identify suspicious luggage.
If you fail to complete the challenge and load at least x number of passengers per day, you'll have to repeat that level. Don't worry, your boss, Bob Saito (where have I heard that name before), tells you how many people you need to load and will address you once the challenge arrives at your airport. On top of all of this, you need to manage your generator's fuel level. Every action uses a little bit of fuel. You can turn on and off lights on carousels that you aren't using by pressing up or down on the analog stick to save some fuel.
This picture makes it look too simple, doesn't it?
Fortunately, you do get a few upgrades to help with the chaos once you can pull off some combos. You'll get the ability to stop up to five pieces of luggage at a time by pressing X, you'll earn the ability to speed up or slow down the speed of the carousels by pressing left or right on the d-pad, a power-boost to the ramps allows them to move up and down quicker, and carousels will automatically load themselves if you enable it.
Oh yeah, combos. Basically, once a plane takes off and it's full of the same colored luggage, a timer starts. You have a few seconds to load another plane correctly. If you can do this twice in a row, a combo starts. In theory, you can get a hexa-combo, but it's incredibly hard to do (I could only pull off a penta-combo). Once you unlock the two carousel upgrades, a double-combo unlocks a plane in your hangar. You can assign this to StreetPass with others, but what happens when you StreetPass is unclear (since I didn't get one). You can unlock up to eight planes to hold in your hangar.
Graphics are good enough. There's very little 3D going on at all, but that's okay since you'll be moving your eyes a lot to play through the game. There's little music. Most of the game is filled with ambient airport sounds.
Aero Porter is not overly complex on the surface, but it is not an easy game, especially if you're a perfectionist. You're going to screw up. A lot. But don't worry. As long as you load some luggage onto a plane, you'll earn some money (which pays for fuel) and your passenger count will go up. You only lose money if you fail to load a single bag onto a plane before it's scheduled departure. It can be "beaten" relatively quickly, but you can keep playing once you unlock the last airport if you so desire.
Well, that's Aero Porter in a nutshell. It has its good moments. Pick it up if you're looking for something a little different, but know that it will drive you crazy before you're done with it.
What a strange concept for a game! Thanks for the review Lewis. This is the kind of game I would like to play a demo of, if there were one.
Those extra challenges, like Air Force One, or the mayor's luggage, sound like they add some variety to the mix.
I'm not sure I would get into a frantic game like this, as much as I have liked puzzle games in general. I mean, does this game fall into the puzzle game genre? You call it a puzzle-sim, which makes sense.
Wasn't there another airline industry game out there, or was that Japan only? One where you have to make your airline a success?