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3DS  header logo

Aero Porter

For: 3DS
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Sling it in your bag

Product: Aero Porter | Developer: Level-5 | Format: 3DS | Players: 1 | Networking: wireless (adhoc) | Version: Europe
 
Aero Porter 3DS, thumbnail 1
Initially part of the Japan-only Guild01 collection, Aero Porter has – like Liberation Maiden before it – been split off into its own release for the West, as a downloadable game on the 3DS eShop.

The game, which was created by Yoot Saito of Seaman fame, puts you in the role of a baggage handler for an airport, sorting through baggage of different colours so that they are loaded onto the correct planes.

It's a slightly off-kilter concept from a man who seems to revel in off-kilter concepts, and Aero Porter is a really interesting game, with a couple of mechanical flaws but such a degree of love in the overall package that you're inclined to overlook them.

Flight control

You're introduced to your new work environment by the Sorting Manager, one Bob Saito. He walks you through the basics of how the sorting room works, making it all out to be very simple.

This could not be further from the truth.

Mechanically, yes, it's very easy to operate the luggage carousel. There are multiple levels stacked on top of one another, and pressing the R or L shoulder button drops the chute to allow baggage to drop from one plane to the next, or climb back up a level.

You score points by loading the bags, suitcases, holdalls, and what-have-yous onto planes arriving at the various levels, which are colour-coded to show which items need to go where. You need to separate them out and load them up, gaining combo bonuses for completing multiple loads within six seconds and sending full planes off on time.

The game then throws in extra challenges, such as ensuring a VIP's luggage is loaded first, or diverting a suspicious-looking package to a bomb disposal squad. This is incredibly tricky when there are dozens of items to keep track of at once.

Later on, things become even more complicated: you can speed up how quickly the belts move, how fast the chutes operate, and whether you want the carousel flooded with light or shrouded in darkness – all of which affects the amount of fuel you use. Use up too much fuel and things stop working, making your job that bit more difficult.

You can add more fuel, of course, but nothing's ever straightforward with Aero Porter.

You call on a fuel drop with a tap of the Y button, and it's then added to the carousel along with the rest of the luggage. You then need to get it to the very bottom of the screen, hopefully avoiding sending it off on a chartered flight, or dropping luggage in with it.

Baggage

This all adds to the chaos that you need to contain, and things become hectic quickly. Like the very best puzzle games, the goals are always obvious, but achieving them within the time allotted during your working day is tougher than leather.

Aero Porter isn't flashy in its presentation, but it's definitely clear, which is a blessing since the constantly moving, multi-coloured luggage on multiple levels can overwhelm the eyes. By contrast, the ambient noise of a busy airport that accompanies the action is curiously relaxing.

The main issue Aero Porter has is that it gets too difficult too quickly. Within the first couple of levels it introduces almost all of its core concepts, leaving you little time to get to grips with its action-puzzler rhythm.

If you can get past this then you'll relish its challenge, but it's an abrasive start to the game that really irks after you've failed the first few missions several times without really knowing where you went wrong, or how you could improve.

Yoot Saito once again proves that he's no slouch when it comes to making quirky yet endearing games. The strange setting really could have been any location, and the difficulty level will simply be too abrasive for some, but this is another quality puzzler for your 3DS.
 
Aero Porter
Reviewer photo
Peter Willington | 12 December 2012
Who knew sorting out luggage would be so hard, or so much fun? Saito's skewed view on the world strikes again in this top-notch puzzler
 
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