Like an AH-64 Apache screaming over a ridge to surprise a tank convoy, rotor-sim Heliborne has launched out of Steam Early Access and into full release. The inaugural game from developer JetCat Games, Heliborne covers fifty American and Russian/USSR helicopters over the past seventy years.
We previously covered Heliborne‘s release announcement, and will have a full review coming Soon!™
The game features twenty-seven American helicopters, and twenty-three Soviet rotorcraft, split across the Scout, Attack, and Transport roles. All airframes are armed, which leads to some interesting choices, such as the ACH-47A Guns A Go-Go variant and a rocket-armed OH-13S for the Americans, and the Yak-24 Horse twin-rotor helicopter for the Soviets.
Game modes feature single-player, four-player co-op, and sixteen-player competitive multiplayer. Six large, open world maps provide good terrain variety, from the rice patties of Vietnam to the mountain ridges of Afghanistan. The multiple helicopter types have different mission roles which compliment their real-world jobs.
Publisher Klabater is overseeing the worldwide digital release on Steam. Polish helicopter fans can also get a physical copy packed into a stylish case and containing extras such as stickers, a poster, in-game Polish camouflage patterns, and what this writer hopes will be a substantial printed manual.
JetCat has already started talking about their post-launch support plans as well. Both free updates and paid DLC are planned, and will hopefully see the addition of some European helicopters, or possibly some additional American Naval helos. Steam Workshop support is also planned. On launch, a number of additional camouflage patterns are available for purchase, including civil, police, and search & rescue liveries.
According to the developer, the flight model is based on over seventy different factors, and can be adjustable to range from arcade to fully immersive sim difficulty. Gamepads, flight sticks, and keyboard & mouse are supported control systems.