Sunday 9 September 2012

Today's Review: Airport Scanner

I decided to peruse the Top 25 apps the other day (the free ones of course), and actually found one that might be worth a look. It is Airport Scanner, in which you, average citizen, can assume the role of that guy who sits watching X-rays of bags all day. In the airport from hell.

You see, this game couldn't reflect the average day in the life of a real airport scanner, because that would be boring and probably racist. So instead the aim of the game is to pick out one of a plethora of deadly weapons that are hidden in about half of the passengers' bags. Things like this axe:

Looks easy, right? Well, it may be at first. But soon enough the illegal items get smaller and more well hidden, plus there's another aspect in which you have to change the queuing system in order to fast track flight crew and first class passengers, and yes, even the flight crew can be carrying illegal items. 

The eeriest thing about this game is the random insertion of TSA all over the description on the App Store. "Join the TSA" it cries, boasting about the inclusion of "Real TSA prohibited items", as if axes, morning stars and bombs are perfectly acceptable on flights outside of America. It seems like there's some kind of propoganda/sponsorship deal going on here, perhaps reassuring Americans that clearly half of the passengers on domestic flights are trying to kill us all, and the TSA is the only thing stopping them. Still, they certainly missed a trick with the bonus games. I don't see the ones where you pat down toddlers or try and differentiate between a knife and a penis while looking at full body scanner pictures. It does accurately represent how they treat suspected terrorists though: 

Sorry, that was too good to pass up. Let's talk about the game. It's an nice little time waster. The levels are short, but require good observation skills and multitasking. Thankfully the money you earn from discovering drugs and fining passengers can be used to buy upgrades for your scanner that make items more visible, or slows down the conveyer so you have more time to search. This adds nicely to the replay value, and takes the heat off when things get more difficult. 

Unfortunately there's not too much variety. You get taken to different airports, but the layout is the same. There are new classes of passenger with potentially more items in their bags, but I couldn't see myself playing for too long without getting a bit bored. Still, it's fun, and for free it's certainly worth a try.

My rating: 4/5

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