Airport Scanner iPad Review

Airport screener is one of the world's more thankless jobs. You sit at security checkpoints on a day-to-day basis using an x-ray machine to search through luggage while dealing with people's crap, crossing your fingers that hidden contraband (be it bomb, gun or bottle of mysterious liquid) doesn't make it through and possibly bring down a plane. We're not saying the members of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA for short) are saints, but considering the stress some of them are under, we understand the source of their frustration.

Airport Scanner tasks you with spotting dangerous items, and not just guns. Try fireworks and aluminum bats.

That said, although screening baggage doesn't sound entertaining in real life, it does make for a surprisingly enjoyable video game in the form of Airport Scanner, a time management app from the Kedlin Company that's available for iPhone and iPad. If you want a small glimpse of what it's like working in an airport without passenger headaches, this title comes highly recommended.

Here, it's your job to man the powerful X-Ray 2000 and search for contraband, and believe us when we say there's quite a list. You'll come across pistols, crossbows, grenades, axes, brass knuckles, morning stars (otherwise known as a mace) and more throughout each level, and tapping the suitcases results in the burly TSA agents literally punching the offending scumbags out of the security line, who sometimes respond with the famous Wilhelm scream.

Clearing stages without mistakes results in more X-ray Bucks that you can spend on helpful upgrades.

On that note, viewing things through the scanner comprises just one part of the experience. You only have a certain amount of time to go through a flight's passengers, and the game challenges you to fast track the flight crew (who may also have suspect luggage) and the first class cabin. The clock never stops, which raises the intensity level several notches. You'll need more than a keen eye to succeed.

Thankfully, the game awards you with X-ray Bucks that go towards upgrading the scanner with useful power-ups, from the Super X-ray that makes objects easier to spot to the Turbo Scanner that speeds up the belt; some upgrades are better than others. Play Airport Scanner long enough, and you'll amass plenty of virtual dollars to spend at the in-game shop. Conversely, the developers included in-app purchases if you want more cash right away.

Airport Scanner features a full list of contraband so you know what to look for.

Meanwhile, each of the three airports (Honolulu, Las Vegas and Chicago) come with unique and catchy music, slightly detailed scenery and new wrinkles to the gameplay, such as red passengers with trickier luggage.

On the downside, seeing those in-app purchases made us groan (it would be nice for some developers to abandon this method), and the mini-game that forces us to "dispense justice" to offenders for more X-ray Bucks is a bit odd and not particularly good, but aside from those minor complaints, Airport Scanner is a refreshing change of pace from all the runners and tower defense games populating the App Store, and the neat x-ray effects look cool. As for the TSA, the game definitely highlights the difficulty that comes from being the last line of airport defense, and from now on, we'll bite our lips whenever they pull us aside for a spirited pat down.

Download Airport Scanner (iOS)

What's Hot: Sweet x-ray effect, fun and frantic time management gameplay, wide variety of weapons to identity, 11 x-ray 2000 upgrades, catchy music.

What's Not: In-app purchases, odd mini-game between levels.