Checkpoint Studios' AviNation takes flight in closed beta on Facebook

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While farming, city-building and other simulation games have already found strong footing on Facebook (mostly thanks to Zynga), Checkpoint Studios wants to make these games more enjoyable, with depth and complexity not often seen on the platform. To do that, the company has developed AviNation, a game that offers players a history of modern aeronautics as they are challenged to build and grow an airline starting in the 1930's.

Launching to the public sometime this summer, AviNation has already released in closed beta, allowing us to learn more about the game. Its 3D graphics use the Unity engine (which you'll need to download and install if you've yet to play a game that also utilizes it), making this environment more detailed, and also giving you more options to interact with your growing airport. You can zoom into ground level, rotate the camera in four directions and so on, as you watch individual passengers depart planes, luggage being loaded or deplaned and so on.

A quest system will keep progress moving ever forward, as you'll be able to access dozens of planes, airport buildings and more, using either free or premium currency as is the standard setup for such games. All told, this doesn't appear to be too much of a departure from other simulation Facebook games, except when it comes to the game's use of the 3D graphics engine, a day and night cycle and apparent focus on a storyline. The gameplay appears to be pretty standard for the genre, but of course, that could all change come the game's official launch.

"We've seen a lot of games that were flat and linear, " said Brian Wiklem, co-founder of Checkpoint Studios, in an interview with GamesBeat. "We were bored with point-and-click gameplay and virtual chores. They're glorified activities, not games. You are led from one activity to the next, with no sense of discovery."

If you're interested in trying out AviNation for yourself, you can jump into the closed beta by logging onto the game's official website, connecting with your Facebook account and then entering code "REDEYE." We'll make sure to give you an in-depth look at everything that makes AviNation tick as the game launches in full.

Have you tried out the beta of AviNation? Do you think this flight-themed Facebook sim has what it takes to take on the largest games on the service? Sound off in the comments.
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