As a budget-priced flight simulator, R/C Helicopter Indoor Flight Simulation holds air fairly well, as long as you're not overly sensitive about realism and detailed control. Unlike Airfix Dogfighter, an indoor flight sim that focuses on combat aircraft from WWII, this helicopter adventure features less violent gameplay centered on collecting stars for points to unlock additional aircraft and rooms in the house.
The core of the game is Adventure mode, though you'll need to focus on practice rounds in the Challenge mode to get a feel for the controls and establish skill ratings. A minimum of 70 points is required to advance during the Challenge mode games, but after beating the first level you're not limited to playing the scenarios in any particular order. You can't select specific aircraft, though. This restriction seems a bit contrived and unnecessary, but provides some incentive to continue on through the mode.
Scoring ratings in Challenge mode run the gamut from good and very good to excellent. The time it takes to complete the objectives, the proximity of the landing to the heliport, and the smoothness the landing are all point-related. The problem is that once you've mastered the challenge missions, gameplay in this area becomes redundant and too easy, but there's always Adventure mode.
In terms of controls, the designers opted to keep the process simplistic rather than use every single key on the keyboard, as do some realism-based simulators. Helicopter movement (front, back, left, or right) is controlled by use of the arrow keys, while rudders and operation of the collective require only two keys each. Action is initiated by simply pressing the Spacebar when in the right place. The ease of control results in a non-demanding learning curve and makes the game accessible to the targeted audience of casual gamers, but those looking for a detailed flight simulation will be left wanting.
Flying your choppers through the many rooms of the house and around the grounds is enjoyable, the first few times through. Stars are often hidden in tough-to-reach places and, in those cases, you get a nice feeling of accomplishment when you manage to fly under that bed or track nicely through a closet without totaling your craft. However, crashes aren't spectacular and simply put you back at the last door you reached. Choosing between easy, real, and R/C simulation modes can make a big difference in the level of control needed, but R/C is the only real way to fly to get the most out of gameplay.
R/C Helicopter Indoor Flight Simulation has enough gameplay to keep you interested for a short period of time, but once the adventure is completed, there's not much reason to continue with the simulation since there's nothing to learn or improve upon. The game contains a good selection of aircraft, from attack to rescue, though the purposes are somewhat lost in the overall concept of the game. Still, the title offers a surprising amount of fun for the casual fan, especially at the value price.
Graphics: The scale of the helicopters seems realistic and the many aircraft are nicely detailed. The house environments are simple but representative, and the no-frills 3D-accelerated graphics keep frame rates high.
Sound: Diversity in engine noises isn't remarkable, and the uninspired music serves as a decent backdrop to gameplay.
Enjoyment: For a short-term project, the game fills a nice niche for casual gamers who don't want their gameplay interrupted by hundred-page manuals and gobs of hours spent on the learning curve. Adventure mode is fun as you explore the house and unlock areas and aircraft, but long-term entertainment is limited.
Replay Value: Once all missions and rooms are unlocked and completed, a replay or two for speed might be enjoyable, though stars remain static and the goals the same.
People who downloaded R/C Helicopter: Indoor Flight Simulation have also downloaded:
Red Baron 3D, Search & Rescue: Vietnam Med Evac, RC Cars (a.k.a. Smash Cars), Rowan's Battle of Britain, Road Wars, Rallisport Challenge, Pacific Fighters, Sabre Ace: Conflict Over Korea
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