The 10 best flight simulator games
Take to the skies from the safety of your sofa.
Flying a plane in the real world seems incredibly stressful. There are seemingly hundreds of buttons you might need to press and a whole new dimension to think about when compared to driving a car. Luckily, if you’re looking to get that thrill from your home’s comfort (and safety), you can play tons of flight simulators. Take to the skies with these 10 best flight simulator games.
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Il-2 Sturmovik: Battle of Bodenplatte
The game’s main emphasis is the Battle of Bodenplatte, a massive air operation undertaken by the German Luftwaffe in January 1945. It takes place during the closing stages of the war. The P-47 Thunderbolt, P-51 Mustang, Spitfire, Bf-109, Fw-190, and Me-262 jet fighter are just a few of the numerous aircraft the player can pilot for the Allies or the Axis.
Combat Air Patrol 2: Military Flight Simulator
For a more modern but equally detailed military flight-sim, Combat Air Patrol 2 has everything you need. It’s a graphically beautiful game and features aerial and naval combat options. It’s also surprisingly approachable in terms of controls and mechanics.
Flyinside Flight Simulator
You’ll still be “flying inside” your home with this one, but it won’t seem that way. With ten different aircraft and the entirety of the United States, you can see it all in virtual reality with Flyinside Flight Simulator. If you’ve got a VR setup, you’re not going to want to miss this one.
GeoFS is a unique game that offers a realistic flying experience, including day and night cycles, dynamic weather conditions, and various airports and runways to take off and land from. It is based on WebGL technology, allowing it to run directly in a web browser without needing additional software or plugins.
With mobile devices becoming advanced, it wouldn’t be fair not to include a mobile title on the list. Infinite flight might be your best bet if you are on a mobile device. It features real-world weather conditions, such as wind speed and direction, temperature, and precipitation, affecting the flight experience. The game also includes a multiplayer mode, where players can fly together and communicate through a chat system.
Microsoft Flight Simulator X: Steam Edition
It’s hard to go wrong with one of the longest-running, most popular flight simulator franchises of all time. While the original version might have come out back in 2006, 2020 saw a new edition with updated graphics released on PC and Xbox Series X/S. There are over 24,000 different locations you can fly over with 24 different aircraft.
Take on Helicopters
If you’re looking for the definitive helicopter sim, here it is. It might have been released back in 2011, but it still stands up with extremely high-fidelity flight mechanics.
Officially released in 2016, War Thunder is much more than a flight simulator. It’s a full-on vehicular war-sim with air, land, and sea vehicles. Nevertheless, the flying feels great, and with a robust multiplayer and thriving community, you can play this game for years. Many other players have. It’s also free-to-play, certainly making it worth a try.
If the ludicrousness mentioned above isn’t your jam, X-Plane 11 is a much more “grounded” experience with exceptional polish. It came out in 2016 and doesn’t feel like it’s aged a day. The graphics and level of detail go above and beyond even Microsoft Flight Simulator X. For the smoothest and most faithful flight-sim, we highly recommend X-Plane 11.
Is YSFlight the best-looking flight simulator? No. It pales in comparison to many other games mentioned on the list. That said, some players don’t have a high-end PC, and this freeware from 1999 will run on practically any computer and is still a joy to play. Check out this classic if you’re short on options—it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.