Good helicopter sims are few and far between. But with Heliborne, newcomer JetCat Games brings to life a survey sim containing fifty years of combat helicopter history.
Featuring many of the most significant helicopters from both American and Russian/Soviet aviation, Heliborne gives players the chance to fly through six open world maps in single player, four player co-op, and sixteen player multiplayer. The flight model was developed with input from Major Mackevich Valery Genrihovich, an Mi-2 and Mi-24 pilot who ended his military career as chief instructor-researcher for the Mi-24 at the Army Aviation Center, training pilots in the Moscow Military District.
The flight model features over seventy variable physics aspects, and can be tuned for anything from arcade-style action to hardcore realism. JetCat Games also promises that the the flight model adjusts appropriately for different helicopters, something that has often been the major flaw of past survey (meaning sims not focused on a single airframe) sims.
Fifty helicopters have been selected, and include gunships, utility, and transport craft. From the iconic Bell 47 (in OH-13S garb) made famous in M.A.S.H.; to the menacing Soviet Mi-24 Hind and Kamov Ka-50; to the U.S. Army’s workhorse heavy-lift CH-47 (armed as an ACH-47), there’s something here to satisfy nearly any rotary-wing fan.
The open maps include Vietnam’s Gulf of Tonkin, and Operation Nguyen Hue; Afghanistan’s Badakhshan and Khost Provinces; and Kosovo. A training map is also included. Full support for gamepads, joysticks, and mouse and keyboard has been announced, though it’s this writer’s opinion that attempting to control a helicopter with keyboard and mouse is an endeavor that’s doomed to failure on anything beyond the most simple flight model settings.
Heliborne‘s time in Steam Early Access was evidently well spent, JetCat Games notes that a number of user suggestions and bug finds were incorporated for the official full release. Post-release support, in the form of both bug fixes and paid DLC (can we get some European helicopters, maybe?) have also been promised.
Heliborne officially hits full launch status on October 12th, 2017.