Review: Aviation Empire is a game about building and maintaining a global airline

Work your way through history to create an airline dynasty in this strategy game.

Aviation Empire is a strategy game that involves building your own airline from the ground up and turning it into a global leader. The game begins in 1919 and walks you through purchasing your first few planes and scheduling flights. A couple of helpful advisers provide tips, occasionally, on how to proceed, and although the instructions are not always completely clear, they'll eventually get you where you're trying to go.

There's a lot on the screen when you're playing this game. Across the top, you'll see your current cash total, as well as your next objective and a gauge telling you how close you are to achieving it. In the bottom left-hand corner of the screen are buttons to take you to your current aircraft fleet and your current lineup of airports; while on the other side, you can use the buttons to view your stats or to purchase aircraft, airport landing rights, buildings, and more. This information is all useful, but the buttons are pretty small to be useful on a phone, as is the text. In fact, even though you can zoom in and out, it's still nearly impossible to see everything presented. On the iPad, however, the controls are a little more accessible and the instructions are readable.

Once you begin to move beyond the first few rounds of buying planes, completing flights, and purchasing landing rights at new airports to expand your route options, strategy does begin to come into play. For instance, you have to take into account how much fuel you will use in flying to different destinations, and you want to purchase aircraft with maximum seating capacity in order to make the most out of each flight. The idea behind this game is good, but the execution could be better.

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