Best Flight Simulator
Pick Your Ride: The app gives you a choice of six small planes to fly. (There are also separate X-Plane apps for fighter jets, airliners, helicopters, and, yes, giant fighting robots.) You can also set the time of day, weather conditions, visibility, and region.
Heads-Up Display: The app imposes basic gauge info: Flight speed on the left, altitude on the right, bearing at center. Steer by turning your phone, climb by tilting it back, and descend by tilting it forward. Throttle and flap controls are at the side edges but appear only when you tap there.
How Do I Look? Step outside the plane to see how you're doing. X-Plane offers three camera angles, including one that lets you zoom and pan around the plane. In this shot, the Beech King-Air is cruising over Hawaii. Other locations include Austria, Alaska, and three California landscapes.
On The Map: X-Plane gives you a map of the region. Pinch to zoom in and out, or rotate the map to match your current bearing. Tap a button to teleport your plane to new location.
Version reviewed: 9.10
Categorizing a flight simulator as a game is typically a stretch, since the genre is less an escape than a technical recreation of piloting. X-Plane for iPhone comes from a family of just that type of serious sim, the venerable X-Plane desktop software, but it's been leavened to fit the iPhone. The result is a game that provides a "real enough" experience that's forgiving and fun as you soar over your choice of six beautiful locales.
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