Airport CEO is the most complicated and complex management sim I have ever played.
I am by no means an expert on management sims but I have played plenty of them and I can get at least a basic grasp of them after an hour or so. Two hours into the game and I find myself still on the tutorial and struggling! I don’t mean this to color the game in a negative light by any means. I am simply trying to illustrate how complex and nuanced this management sim is over all the others I have played thus far.
The reason for its complexity lies in the fact that the game does an excellent job of capturing the difficulty of building and running an actual airport. There are so many areas that you have to design and build yourself, all of them interconnecting in very realistic ways. You design the airfield itself and the road network for the planes. Next is the road system for the vehicles needed, such as the fuel truck and etc. And finally the airport itself and designing a system of terminals and offices that lie within and the list goes on.
Designing each element of the airport takes a lot of time and consideration in order to keep costs as low as possible. It feels like playing multiple management sims at the same time. Managing the planes, vehicles, customers, employees, and so on will challenge even the most veteran of management sim players.
Overall, Airport CEO is a fantastic and well built management sim. It is an order of magnitude higher in complexity and depth than every single sim I have played thus far. This is both a pro and a con as fans of management sims will find a very deep experience whereas those who aren’t the biggest fans of management sims will probably be turned off by the complexity of this game. It definitely has a very steep learning curve and learning even the basics properly takes time and concentration. That said, if you are a fan of management sims, this game will be right up your alley, or should I say, runway.