Air Bucks is a business simulation game which tries to capture the ins and outs of the airline industry without bogging the player down with details. It starts in 1946 and the goal is to build up a successful airline with a small starting budget. There are many details in the game, e.g. the player can buy rights to airports, arrange seats on the planes to carry more or less first class passengers, decide on the quality of in-flight food or entertainment, and more.
The game features "special events" similar to Sid Meier's Railroad Tycoon, which require quick changes in the plane operations to accommodate them. Other important industry-specific activities include designing global routes and paying for landing rights, tinkering with plane layouts and determining fares for each leg. All those decisions are made inside various menu screens. Competition consists of up to three human or AI controlled opponents and the world map is randomly generated with every new game.
Air Bucks is an excellent business simulation game from the company now famous for Caesar series. The game succeeds in capturing the ins and outs of the airline industry without bogging the player down with details. It is not a realistic business sim by any means: it is clear that Impressions place more emphasis on the fun factor than on financial accuracy. Impressions' notorious "spreadsheet syndrome," i.e. too many statistics presented in unattractive format, stil persists in Air Bucks, although to a much lesser extent than their earlier titles.
There are many fun details in the game-- you can buy rights to airports, arrange seats on the planes to carry more or less first class passengers, decide on the quality of in-flight food or entertainment, and more. The game even has interesting "special events" similar to Railroad Tycoon, which require quick, astute changes in your plane operations to accommodate.
My only gripe is the economic model is somewhat flawed-- that it is often difficult. Nevertheless, the game's attention to industry-specific details is excellent: you will design global routes and pay for landing rights, tinker with plane layouts, and determine fares for each leg. The 1.2 version (the one on this site) improves upon the original release significantly with better graphics, the ability to zoom in to watch your planes following their routes, and better cargo model.
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