"World of Warplanes"
Free with Microtransactions
ESRB rating: Teen
Review rating: 4.0 stars
Flying games tend to either frustrate virtual pilots with full-on simulations or eschew realism in favor of fast-paced action. Wargaming.net straddles the fine line between the two with their free-to-play WWII-era flying game titled "World of Warplanes." While this game won't appeal to die-hard realists, it does provide endless hours of fun for players willing to fly the unfriendly skies.
After a handy tutorial, ten tiers of airplanes from five countries are at the player's disposal to fight in 15 v 15 PVP-only matches. As players advance, higher tiered warplanes that are significantly more powerful become available. Tiers are also used for matching players with other pilots of similar skill.
Three types of deadly warplanes are at the player's disposal. Fighters are the most maneuverable, so they're used strictly against other planes. Ground-attack planes are made for taking out ground targets, and heavy fighters can be used for both. These planes can also be customized with useful modifications like more destructive weaponry and faster engines.
Controlling each warplane is fun and intuitive, but the controls won't appeal to "Flight Simulator" fans. For starters, there is no throttle, so the plan stays at a constant speed that is altered by climbing and diving. A boost button offers a temporary speed increase, and ability to stall the plane throws in a welcome bit of realism. I also like the handy crosshairs that show where to shoot in front of each target to achieve a hit.
In addition to enjoyable game play, this title offers some of the best visuals I've ever seen in a flying game. Not only are the airplanes themselves extremely detailed, but the gorgeous ground scenery is a joy to behold.
For a free-to-play MMO flying game, "World of Warplanes" is flying high.