Airport City review – Help your city take flight on Windows Phone and Windows 8

Russian publisher Game Insight produces titles in many genres (mostly on other platforms), but its specialty is city-building games. Their previous Windows Phone and Windows 8 release 2020: My Country impressed me with its futuristic setting and wealth of content (see our review). But still, I longed to see more Game Insight titles make their way to mobile Windows platforms.

As luck would have it, Game Insight has just released Airport City on both Windows Phone (1 GB of RAM or higher at present) and Windows 8 and RT. It comes from Innowate, the same team who bought us the My Country series. Although the two game look and play a lot alike, Airport City does a few things differently as well. Namely it combines traditional city building with airport management, which proves more interesting than you might expect.

Airports made easy

New players will start Airport City with a tiny village, a fledgling airport, and a dream: to build an international airport. A well-drawn stewardess and several other airport employee characters will guide you through the process of building both airport and town, as well as earning money by sending planes out into the world.

The first step towards a thriving airport is of course building a runway. Won’t be landing too many planes without that! After buying one from the game’s building and item store and placing it, you’ll then want to purchase a hangar. From there you can invest in a plane, at which point your airport truly becomes operational.

Once you can start managing flights, the game really picks up. Select the hangar and choose a flight from the available list. Players only start with one destination available, but more will unlock as they reach new experience levels.

Each flight costs a certain amount of fuel and passengers. Players gain fuel over time – just like energy in other city builders. You’ll gain coins and experience when the plane comes back. As you repeat the same flight, you’ll increase that flight’s rank from zero all the way up to three stars. Each new rank provides a bonus such as free passengers.

Having selected a flight, it’s time to prepare the plane. Select the craft to fuel it, load it, and then send it into the sky. The plane will return a fixed period of time later, which varies by destination. Impatient players can opt to speed flights along by spending extra fuel.

Later on, you’ll buy new planes and thus gave to build new runways. The more planes you send out, the more money your airport will earn. You’ll also receive occasional requests to land from visiting planes. As long as you have a free runway, they can land and add to your revenue. These visiting planes also have a chance of dropping valuable items.

Your airport also needs a repair base in order to keep planes from breaking down and a control tower to handle larger numbers of flights. After that, airport expansions consist of upgrades like better runways and even a few new ways to launch craft off the ground.

Growing airports need thriving cities

Airports in the middle of nowhere don’t tend to do all that well. Who’d want to go there, and where would the passengers come from? That’s exactly why players need to build up their cities in this game. Flights require passengers to run, and those passengers come from the surrounding city.

Residential buildings produce people (passengers) over time. Select a house with a suitcase over it in order to collect the passenger(s) it produces, much as in other city building games. If you find yourself constantly in need of more passengers, building new homes is a must.

New additions to your airport and city will cost money. Flights bring in some coins, but not enough to keep the whole city going. That’s where businesses like restaurants and stores come in. Each one produces coins over time, so you’ll want to balance out your residential expansions with commercial ones. All homes and businesses must be connected to roads, for better or worse.

Businesses and other buildings also require electricity to run, just as in the My Country games. As such, players will have to build power plants, turbines, and other power generators in order to keep up with their cities’ growing needs. The resource management is a lot to keep up with, although Airport City at least explains the various systems better than 2020: My Country does.

In-app Purchases

Casual city building games are all free to play, and that goes for Airport City too.  The In-App Purchases consist of coins and Airport Cash. As mentioned earlier, coins can be earned through normal gameplay. Airport Cash is the hard currency that you have to pay for.

Some of the nicer buildings cost Airport Cash, but players can always purchase coin-equivalent buildings instead. The more compelling premium items are boosts that provide production bonuses like extra experience or fuel production for a set length of time. These can’t be bought with coins.

Social features

Airport City has some decent social features, though adding friends could be easier. There isn’t any Facebook connectivity that I can see – normally a standard feature in the genre. Instead, you have to add a friend’s unique code in order to visit him or her. Friend codes are just as un-intuitive here as they are on Nintendo consoles. Why not stick to usernames? My Windows Phone friend code is wj1bvm1 if you want to add me, anyway.

Once you have a friend or two on your list, you can visit their airports and interact with a few buildings. The number of buildings that can be interacted with per day is limited, as you might expect. Players can also send gifts to each other. You get to pick what type of gift you send – a huge improvement over the random crap we had to gift each other in 2020: My Country.

Ups and downs

Although Airport City looks to have a lot of content at launch, it also has a few problems. The artwork on both phone and tablet is kind of low resolution, for example. Zoom in and everything looks soft and grainy. The music also stinks, but that’s casual games for you. The Windows Phone game also has a habit of crashing when my Lumia 1520 goes into sleep mode. Not a big deal when I’m actively playing, but still a mild nuisance. I’m sure the crashes will be fixed with an update.

Since Airport City has launched on both Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 and RT, it would be fantastic if players could hop back and forth between devices using the same save profile. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t support cloud saves. That’s always a concern with titles that expect us to play for long periods of time and maybe make purchases along the way. You’d lose anything you bought if you reinstalled the game or switched devices.

Thankfully, Game Insight is actually gearing up to integrate cloud saving into their games very soon. 2020: My Country will be the first title to get cloud saves; hopefully Airport City follows closely behind.

Airport City is another fine city building game for mobile Windows platforms. As usual, these games are not everybody’s cup of tea. You can never really win; just check in every day and watch your city grow over time. But that’s pretty fun, especially when you throw airplanes into the mix. Just don’t forget your photo ID if you want to make it through security!

  • Airport City – Windows Phone 8 with 1GB of RAM or higher – 40 MB – Free – Store Link
  • Airport City – Windows 8 and RT – 40 MB – Free – Store Link (opens in new tab)

QR: Airport City

Paul Acevedo

Paul Acevedo is the Games Editor at Windows Central. A lifelong gamer, he has written about videogames for over 15 years and reviewed over 350 games for our site. Follow him on Twitter @PaulRAcevedo. Don’t hate. Appreciate!

  • 1gb ram grr
  • Yeah, I really don't understand. You can cut that processor down to 1ghz Nokia but please make the ram 1gb for all devices. 1ghz is really powerful enough to run the OS but that 512MB of RAM sure is a big limitation to run apps especially for multitasking. I am saying here because 512mb will have more apps resuming that is really frustrating even you just opening two apps. Once it's 1gb, the multitasking is a beast.
  • Yea I agree with you.
  • They have already started doing that with the 525 and 630
  • 630 have 512mb ram buddy:)
  • Maybe 635?
  • Nah. It has the same spec as 630 only different is LTE.
  • Seems faster
  • F*** the 1G ram limitations
  • Why would you even buy a Phone with half a gb of ram anyways, especially when phones are soo cheap?
  • I know they claim to make these phone to be cheaper, but is an extra 512mb that expensive for them to put in?
    Just makes so many issues for the ecosystem and customer satisfaction.
    I am curious how many people have left WP8 because of failings like this.
  • What is your definition of cheap? I don't think you really know what you're talking about.
  • What the hell you mean ''when phones are soo cheap'' ? stop talking shit,it's unfair to microsoft customers.All androids can play this stupid game,all andorid can play the stupid temple run 2 and subway surfers ,but only we windows phone user with 512mb ram can't.The stupid nokia l920 a 2 year old phone cost in my country 240 euros ,the monthy earning in my country are 400 euros per worked.Not everybody lives in a country where the fu*** earning are 3000-4000 euros.I personally can buy the phone but i won't beacuse windows phone is stupid and dump.hate the UL .The only good on wp are the cameras ,nothing else.Microsoft is releasing l630 and l635  also wiht 512mb ram,and who the hell will buy those phones after so ugly expirience in l520 and l620 ?? i won't surely buy it and i won't recommend nobody to buy those dumb phones.
  • Apps requires 1gb arghhhh... N still Lumia 630 and 635 is going to get launched for half a gb.... Great going... Leave people with all confusion and doubts... And wp will take 50% of market share in future... Great work.... All d best morons
  • Same idiots who keep showing us all these new products and features and won't release them for months. Wouldn't it be smart to delay the build conference and make them available say a week after.
  • No, that's not how event scheduling works. It takes place at approximately the same time every year so that companies can plan their schedules around the event and attend it.
  • Boohoo. If you don't want restrictions then don't buy a phone with 512MB of RAM.
  • The best selling WP today has 512MB of RAM. I wonder how many of them will remain if they knew that they cant install a lot of available apps
  • If less than 1% is a lot then ok...
  • Again, not available here in Brazil. :'(
  • Yes it is, you just don't know it yet  In Settings, change the Region to United Stades for example. Then go to the Store and download what you want. And then you could change the Region back to Brazil if you want!   (Se precisares de mais ajuda diz!)
  • No cloud saves, no deal. Not just to be able to continue playing on my Lumia and Surface but also because I hate losing saves when my phone gets replaced.
  • At least they're coming eventually! And you actually can copy and restore saves on the Surface and other Windows 8 and RT tablets. Wish we could do that on Windows Phone as well.
  • Is it as hard and frustrating to play as My Country?  Where you cannot possibly proceed very far in the game unless you actually buy some IAPs?  That infuriates me.  I'll easily pay $5-7 up front for a good game (I used to pay $75 a couple decades ago), but forcing someone to pay an undetermined amount of money just to make progress in a game grates on my nerves like nothing else.  It's turned me off this development studio, though their games always intrigue me enough to ask if they still work the same, impossible way.
  • I disagree about not being able to progress in My Country - you just have to try lots of times to get the items needed for upgrades and missions. Admittedly it takes forever, but it can be done for free if you're patient. That said, Airport City is much less reliant on random item drops than the My Country games. There is a random drop mechanic associated with visiting planes, but it didn't prevent me from progressing during my time with the game. I haven't played it as much as 2020 My Country though, so we'll see...
  • Im sorry, but I played My Country for a good amount of time and I bought with the game's money all the expansions of land that I could. However, I reached a time where it was needed 170Country bucks (real money to get these bucks) to buy more expansions. And I bought even less than half of the possible expansions!
  • Oh wow, I played the heck out of 2020 and never ran into that situation. Maybe they didn't monetize 2020 as much, or I just didn't play it long enough.
  • Yeah, I just kept building like crazy hoping to get the right drops but it just wouldn't happen.  So I covered my map with all these buildings, but almost none of them opened because I couldn't get the drops to hire the right people to open up all the damn buildings!!  ^%*&$&^$  It was really frustrating and sucked all the fun out of the game.
  • Exactly what put me off the game. It was so obvious that certain drops were given a minimal chance of appearing to ruin the experience for those who don't pay. The game wants your money, not your enjoyment. =/
  • Honestly, I'm perfectly happy paying for a game.  They gotta get paid somehow, right?  But sacrificing enjoyment for payment is just an awful, awful way to do it.  This studio is obviously a higher quality outfit, but despite that, I am turned off of their releases right off the bat now.  :(    Just let me buy the damn game for a few bucks and be done with it!!!  That way I can play the game for enjoyment rather than in frustration.
  • Pretty much. If the game is fun I'll pay for it - I happily chucked a bit of money at Subway Surfers the other day because I was enjoying it and wanted to give the devs some credit.
    But the way My Country does it is the equivalent of Subway Surfers having an 80% chance that whenever you try to switch lanes that nothing happens. That isn't fun and just results in uninstalls. =/ Take note, developers!
  • i played This My country 2 on My pc and It was getting very frustrating at the point i threw It pff My pc and never looked back. This for now counts 2 for their new products.   Havent seen a review on pixelgun 3d a minecraft shooter My kids Love It. :)
  • The 1GB RAM limitation is doing a lot of you guys a favour tbh. If this is anything like My Country then the freemium model and RNG will cripple it beyond repair.
  • I bought my stupid limited l620 6moths ago ,payed 300 euro ,now i can't sell it for 100 euro beacuse microsoft makes so much limitation to the 512mb devices.They now release l630 and l635 but who the hell wants to buy those dummy phone ,no good camera,no 1gb etc.I'm starting to hate microsoft .Also i won't buy any 1gb lumia device because l920 is getting outdated and the new lumia icon is to expensive .Really ,now i'm sure i hate microsoft i hate windows phone and i won't ever again buy those dummy phones .Bought the phone only beacuse i like Nokia but now microsoft bought so i have no reason to buy it.Don't be fooled by microsoft and don't buy l630 beacuse it's more dummy and ugly than the l620.The l620 has at least a flash,l630 and l635 not.I can't even play subway surfers ,i don't know what's microsoft thinking in releaseing a new 512mb devices ? they are fooling people.HATE MICROSOFT ,HATE WINDOWS PHONE ,DON'T BUY THOSE F**** LIMITED PHONES !
  • The literally hate the person and the company who started this concept. I love to have inbuilt features in my phone such as bing services. Apps most of them are fart when compared to desktop apps. If your so keen for having 1 GB ram phone better invest that money in buying a small psp
  • Microsoft Nokia seems are not in sync with the developers. On one hand they are producing phones with 512mb ram and on the other hand developers are producing games for 1gb ram and higher. Seriously what are they thinking? What's their strategy to make people switch to wp? When will they understand the importance of apps+games and a rock solid application store? Even a cheap android and a discontinued iPhone can run apps and games smoothly on 512mb ram. Any one plz tell me why would anyone switch to hmm say from a moto g to Lumia 635?
  • Well put. If the views on this forum are are a representative sample of the user base, and I suspect for this topic they are, this situation does more harm for Windows phone than good. Amazing that not one intelligent person at Microsoft, with some sway, can't see that. Dump these low memory phones. They are a pain for devs (have been since 7) and a pain for users. The requirement that a Windows phone should have GPS, accelerometer, certain buttons and so on, for a consistent experience should apply to the damn memory as well, to keep the app/game consistency. Seems obvious, but...
  • One more thing. Just to promote the new offerings which are a mediocre 630 635 and a high priced Lumia 930 the wp 8.1 update will release for existing wp owners in june/july. Not even a proper date has been announced. It is like the most anticipated features are out there but we can not have them as yet. Of course the developer program is there. MS Nokia must be aware that when people will get it through developer program anyways why not launch it a bit quick? Nokia has always been late in providing OTA updates since Symbian days and the trend continues even at the time when they have been given a run for their money. No doubt why WP is and for a long time will remain a distinct 3rd ecosystem.
  • This is fucking unfair..Now to play these kind of games also we need 1gb ram.Its getting on my nerves,and they are releasing 512mb ram phones..seriously? And they still think they can match android..No subway surfers,no Tr2,no angry bird..Minion rush is there but without any update for a heck lot of time.Whatsapp update still not came..This is very disappointing Microsoft..
  • Windows phone is a stable Os..Unique experience.I agree but after 3years they came with a update just to match android and ios and still its half baked..Cortana is in beta,seriously what the hell?what makes them think that users will be these much loyal.I myself will stick to WP at the end of the day,but what about others?My friends have already determined to move to android,why wont they?Maximum apps are either not available or half baked and in beta..We still cant access audio and video,i know others will bash me for this comment but what I said is true and they also know that..
  • Don't worry about people bashing your comment. Say your opinion, its what this forum is for, even though many don't get that.
  • No cloud saving killed the fun out of My Country, and I will not play any of these type of games if its not cloud supported anymore.
  • The difference between 1gb and 512 is starting to look a lot like WP7 vs 8 and the 630 will be DOA .Was it that hard Nokia to knock down the processor a little and give it a gig of ram?No FFC,no flash.The 620 is much more appealing and the processor may be weaker but WP doesn't need it.The 525>630 at a even lower price point which is a joke. TLDR:Just discontinue the 512mb devices already Posted via the WPC App for Android!
  • Is it just me, or does this not appear in the W8 store? I cannot find it at all.. The text on the WP8 is toooooo small (NL920)     Win8.1(UK)
  • I played this game on my iphone before I saw the light and came to Windows Phone... IF I could get the progress from my old phone, as I had advanced a fair way into the game, it would be great... Other than that... I really don't feel like starting over
  • Please suport to 512 mb ram