Approximate Release Date: February 2, 1993
Koei finally gets it (mostly) right with Aerobiz.
I’m not convinced that any Super Nintendo strategy game will top the fantastic SimCity. That game is about as complicated as a 16-bit strategy game can get without requiring a manual or hours of practice just to decipher what the player should be doing. Just look at how baffling Romance of the Three Kingdoms II or Populous are!
Aerobiz gets around this by not being especially complicated. The game more or less pushes you in the right direction on your quest to run your own airline to profitability. And what it doesn’t hint at, you can kinda intuit just from knowing what airlines do in the real world. You want to open as many routes as you can afford with as many planes as you can afford while marketing your offerings to potential customers and do it better than your competition. I can’t speak on the depth of the simulation here, but it seems adequate.
My main concern with Aerobiz is the interface. It’s very sluggish, making an already slow-paced game feel glacial. The number of button presses and screen changes required to do something basic like negotiate for and open flight routes at airports is painful. Since Aerobiz is turn-based, being deliberate won’t give your opponents an advantage. It’s more of a personal test of patience when everything is this laborious.
This is a weird thing to say, but Aerobiz might work better as a real-life board game. During my limited playtime, I saw nothing that couldn’t be replaced with card decks or die rolls, or even adapted into something like the fantastic board game Ticket to Ride. What’s here is fine, though, especially with liberal use of an emulator’s fast forward key.