SimAirport review (Xbox)

Simulation games are generally very popular, from civilisation building, town planning, and warehouse logistics. SimAirport has been on PC for a couple of years now and just landed recently on Xbox. Here, you manage, build and grow every facet of your airport empire, from baggage handling and bank balances, all while ensuring your partnered airlines and passengers have the best experience possible. Build the customer journey from ticketing to take-off.

On Steam, SimAirport was reviewed highly positively for its micromanaging and depth. On Xbox, that experience is completely lost – just like a plane flying across the Bermuda Triangle.

Similar to the recent Ships Simulator on Xbox, it falls foul of an abysmal PC-to-joypad control scheme. There’s no other word for it – except perhaps for swear words – and it ruins the entire experience. Whoever was responsible for mapping the keyboard and mouse controls to an Xbox controller really needs to play more PC-to-console conversions. Simulators, preferably. Or perhaps the recent Age of Empires II re-release.

Around 90% of SimAirport is played through its menus, sub-menus, and overlays. They don’t interact well at all with the camera which is also keyed to the same buttons. While you’re trying to manoeuvre around looking for the right option, things are going on in the background, the camera is zooming in and out and it’s a huge distraction.

The planning and construction menus are just as awkward to navigate, which makes the experience unpleasant and dull. Scheduling staff is frankly a mystery. I had to replay the tutorial lessons about scheduling a number of times before I understood what I was doing wrong, and it wasn’t exactly down to me not doing it right, but because it’s actually really unclear and doesn’t work as intended given the control scheme.

These things essentially add up, making it incredibly difficult to make money as you waste it keeping staff on overnight for no reason because you can’t schedule them off. Progress feels almost impossible right from the get-go, making for an experience that never gets off the ground.

UltimateGames’ SimAirport is out now on Xbox One/Xbox Series. It first launched on PC.