A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Airplane! is a flight-simulator app that removes some of the more difficult elements of other simulators but doesn't make flying easy. Young children will quickly get frustrated with the game, and older kids might as well. The game also locks most of the planes in its catalogue, which can be unlocked via in-app purchases or through currency earned in-game -- though earning enough to unlock the better planes takes a long, long time.
What's it about?
Players won't have to worry about things such as a fuel gauge or keeping the yaw straight in this flight simulator, but they will still have to monitor a few instruments. An accelerator on the left side of the screen is used to control ground and air speed, and a virtual thumbstick on the right controls direction and altitude. Players will have to reach a sufficient speed for takeoff and then navigate to their intended destinations. Landing manually is hard, but players can opt for an autopilot landing -- although they'll only earn half of their pay by doing so. (That money is used to unlock additional planes.)
Is it any good?
Ratcheting down the difficulty of the typical flight simulator would seem to be an effective way of broadening this app's audience. But, rather than focusing on the thrill of flight, AIRPLANE! sucks the fun out of the process, making landings nearly impossible and the actual flights monotonous. The scenery rarely changes, which is particularly noticeable when your flights are thousands of miles -- meaning you'll stare at the screen for several minutes.
That said, the visuals are fairly well done (if not diverse), and, although, players won't get any real knowledge about what it's like to fly a plane, the app could spark real interest.
Talk to your kids about ...
For kids who love simulation games and arcade games
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.