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1st January 2013; By KnucklesSonic8
What if, now, in the face of actual danger that has escaped detection, this individual was without proper equipment? What's changed, would you say? Well, besides the odds no longer being on their side, any control of the situation has largely been revoked. With this now shifting to a place that would trigger feelings of helplessness and unease, the ill-equipped enforcer must now rely on whims and an elevated level of anxiety, rather than the measure of comfort preparedness would bring.
Trying to fend for itself in a similar fashion is Aero Porter, a puzzle game with a simulation basis that is adapted with a root of organization. As if the game similarly didn't prepare for what it was seeking involvement with, consistency is a bit of an issue in the game's design. While there are fixtures put in place for influence sake, the effect that the game's core system has isn't a reflection of strong efficiency. And instead of empowering players through a capable management system, when things get tough, the lack of well-tuned and reliable mechanics will leave you pouting more than rejoicing.
Aero Porter has you assuming the role of a luggage handler, responsible for overseeing that all baggage is delegated to the right flights, under the direction of your supervisor. Dividing up the bays leading to each aircraft is a roundabout, multi-level carousel system where lifts can drop down or be raised with R and L to guide colour-coded luggage to where you need it to go. It's a systematic organization that serves as a blessing when you have a rush of passenger materials to monitor, all under the time restraint of an upcoming flight take-off. Should it come to a point where not all of the baggage has been loaded onto the aircraft before its designated departure time, any stray cases will be left behind at the scheduled time, subsequently inflicting dues that must come out of your own pocket to pay for the inconvenience. In a similar manner of paying financially for any mistakes made, there are times when new conditions are applied, such as a VIP needing his luggage delivered ahead of everyone else's, a bomb that must be dealt with on its own, as well as special containers that move according to tilts of your 3DS. Completing these successfully prove crucial if you hope to see your business thrive.
As the airport witnesses more growth in its consumer base, small expansions will be added, including more carousel stations, lifts that respond more quickly, and the ability to adjust the flow of parcels to an automatic or manual limitation. To facilitate these adjustments, a second yet equally vital component to the management of the system involves keeping a close eye on the fuel gauge that relates to the overall operation. It turns out the facility is on a budget and must conserve energy whenever possible. A principal way of doing so is by turning off some or all of the lights that brighten each conveyor, done with the use of the Circle Pad. If your fuel gauge depletes to a level where it becomes counter-productive to continue at the current pace, a pack can be purchased and must be escorted down to the basement level where the generator lies.
Beyond this and the odd measure for energy conservation, there aren't many struggles that take place in this apparently well-maintained airport. If there's any sort of drama taking place amongst the staff or over the service and business practices of direct competitors, they certainly keep it well under wraps. And as a consequence of this, the entire experience feels really ordinary, perhaps to the point of becoming monotonous once the lustre of its deceptive challenge moves to a less harmonious light. What exactly do I mean by that? Well, let me explain.
Stemming from the way Aero Porter has been designed are several connected faults that prove meddlesome and confuse the performance quality. The way luggage appears on the different automated carousels prompts you to raise and lower lifts at intervals, so as to help separate which luggage must remain on the current tier against those that must be distributed to lower compartments. Unfortunately, it is regularly the case that the different carrying cases are found brushing up against others not meant for the same destination, and when they're close together in this formation, it becomes a source of irritation trying to, first of all, isolate everything and divide your focus across the different stations, and then to try and make the distinctions necessary for ensuring customer satisfaction.
As the rate of additional bags increases, the system struggles to maintain a level of composure in the manner players can influence the system. You'll quickly find yourself making more work for yourself in trying to limit your attention to one set of bags, where another problem surfaces as one is corrected. I see this as being, not a timing issue, but more to do with the design itself, where controlling these turntables can rarely ever be done reliably and thus don't form a solid basis for believing that everything will turn out fine and to your supervisor's expectations. And when those aren't met, you'll get lambasted for your mistakes in a rather humorous display. Related to that, you're always given clear outlines as to the effects of your actions, but thankfully these can be turned off. Choose not to, and you risk being harassed by some potentially annoying dialog boxes.
One of the best ways to theoretically make the best of the situation is by doing really quick lift drops (or raises, as the case may be), but even when acting swiftly to avoid another one from heading down the wrong path, these still end up falling down or rising along with the target cases. There are even times when a piece of luggage will, depending on the timing of your motions, fall down two levels instead of one. The system, while putting on this show of being rather orderly, is designed with intent to create a bit of chaos, and to be fair, that's an understandable principle from a conceptual point of view. But that this doesn't play out too well in practice and gives rise to frustrated initiatives is a sign of a flawed setup.
In some cases, players are doomed to repeat known mistakes or err without even realizing it, either on the top levels while your attention is fixed on the bottom or by, for example, having some luggage fall down to the generator level (and thus get disintegrated). Even when keeping your wits about you and given the ability to adjust speeds of intake, the fact that you're being hindered at nearly every turn can feel like a nightmare in disguise.
As far as presentation, there isn't much to discuss. Sound effects are true to the nature of the game, but there's generally a minimal amount of audio presence throughout. The movement shown on the top screen with passengers being greeted by the stewardesses are very simple in creation. In this area, there are two counters to track profits and the amount of passengers you've serviced, and just underneath this rectangular section is the work clock for determining how much time you have left on your shift. The display is unsurprisingly organized, but it has effectively traded in personality for it to have this trait.
With overruling cases of unsteadiness, Aero Porter can become maddening, not because of the process tied to its mechanics, but because of a system that disrupts your work ethic. I'm sure there's much more to be gained in the way of satisfaction by what already exists in your library. Not a great deal about the execution has an especially dedicated quality to it, and the ideas, while not bad in concept or design, don't mesh together too well or produce a tangible addiction. And when you consider the havoc that is created as a result of these instituted flaws, there are certainly better uses of your time.
16/30 - Below Average
Gameplay 6/10 - Method of control isn't very reliable in connection with the proximity of luggage, variations on the luggage distribution present
Presentation 6/10 - A bit bland and lacking in personality even with the colour choices, on the quiet side in terms of audio, simple setup with no 3D use
Enjoyment 2/5 - Somewhat manageable but design doesn't lend itself to satisfying results, frustrating to be constantly moving backwards as you advance
Extra Content 2/5 - Can customize aircraft in the Hangar area, StreetPass allows you to send customized planes to 3DS systems you connect with
Equivalent to a score of 53% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating) - Our Rating System