Flight simulators are airplane games that provide a great way for aviation fanatics and airplane enthusiasts to get their fix, especially in this time of limited global travel. Players can challenge themselves by taking to the skies and experiencing realistic weather conditions, navigational systems, and 3D graphics, and even take control of their favorite airplane with a true-to-life cockpit. There are many flight simulators available, ranging from easy and simple airplane games to more challenging options. Some offer VR capabilities for a truly immersive experience. Regardless of which one you choose, you’ll be able to enjoy the thrill and excitement of flying any time you like — all from the comfort of your home!
#1 Microsoft Flight Simulator
Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of the best flight sims available for purchase, and in 2023 it will still be at the top of its game. With top-notch graphics, world updates every two months and Virtual Reality compatibility, the flight simulator creates an immersive gaming experience that few can rival. To make it even more attractive, all the flight simulator’s DLCs are free – so no added cost for extra content. The downside of all this is that each update ranges from 30GB to 60GB, so those with less than great internet should think twice before downloading it. Although there is an option to improve the Internet if you setup a VPN for gaming. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a great flight simulator, Microsoft Flight Simulator sets itself apart with its combination of stunning visuals, frequent updates, and no additional charges.
#2 Aerofly FS
Aerofly FS is a PC game that offers players an incredibly realistic flight simulator, complete with realistic flight physics, highly-detailed aircraft and terrain, and smooth frame rates. 200 different airport destinations await you, providing opportunities for sightseeing in the Robin DR-400 or performing aerobatics in the Extra 330. Experienced pilots can take on more thrilling activities by trying out aerial stunts with the F-18 at high speeds. Aerofly FS puts an emphasis on creating the most realistic experience in PC gaming so you can test your flying abilities without ever leaving your home.
#3 X-Plane 12
If you are looking for a flight sim to play on Mac then X-Plane 12 is a great competitor to Microsoft Flight Sim. This game delivers stunning graphics and ultra-realistic flight mechanics, recreating the feeling of being a real pilot. You can explore over 1,000 different locations from around the globe and feel more immersed in enhanced weather features such as fog, storms, and more. Unfortunately, X-Plane 12 lacks multiplayer, however, there is endless content streaming into the game every day thanks to its modding community which means that the base game should never get boring! Understanding the control system may take some time so it’s recommended to remap the controls while playing unless they feel comfortable already. All in all, X-Plane 12 is an excellent choice for any Mac user looking for a spectacular flight sim experience.
FlightGear stands out from other flight simulator projects with its impressive level of detail and realism. The realistic time-of-day modeling ensures each flight accurately represents the lighting of its real-world counterparts, while the variety of airports puts 20,000 worlds at your disposal. But what truly sets this platform apart is its open-source nature: players aren’t just restricted to predetermined controls and settings. Anyone familiar with programming can make changes and suggestions to customize their experience as they see fit, whether it’s tinkering with minute details or overhauling major components. FlightGear offers complete freedom for creative pilots.
#5 Aerofly FS4
Aerofly is an excellent flight sim for anyone looking for hardware compatibilities such as virtual reality and flight joysticks. What sets it apart from other sims is its enjoyable career mode, although basic. With that being said, compared to more modern flight sims, the graphics in Aerofly are outdated. Suitable for hardcore fans due to its more complex flying system than other sims like Microsoft Flight Simulator, Aerofly undoubtedly provides a unique user experience and incredible compatibility with hardware.
#6 War Thunder
War Thunder is an exciting free-to-play experience for gamers looking for a unique player-versus-player air combat simulator. Players can choose from a plethora of aircraft and go head-to-head in a series of thrilling dogfights. What gives the game its charm are all the little details, not just the satisfying feeling that comes from winning but also the frustrating losing battle as well. On top of that, War Thunder takes cross-platform gaming to another level with its seamless transition across devices. Players have access to several servers, divided by region. However, it should be noted that certain aircraft require special purchases to access them and are often more powerful meaning that players may have to pay to win more often than not. Despite this, War Thunder remains an engaging and fun game experience filled with chaos and adventure.
#7 Ace Combat 7
Ace Combat is truly a gem in the world of flight games. With its arcade feel and outstanding visuals, it offers an immersive experience that almost no other game of its genre can match. The campaign mode of the game is packed with great content, which is made even greater by its pulse-pounding soundtrack. Despite its incredible amount of detail, the complexity level is still appropriate for seasoned veterans of the series in addition to newcomers. On top of all this, the modding community around Ace Combat gives players virtually unlimited customizations and new content to explore and enjoy. For gamers looking for something extra, Ace Combat matches their wishes through multiplayer options such as 4v4s, 8-player free for all, or one on one duels. All in all, Ace Combat has set itself apart from competitors by delivering an experience not soon forgotten by players who are lucky enough to play it.
No matter what type of flight simulator experience you’re looking for, there’s something out there that can meet your needs. From detailed simulations like X-Plane 11 and FlightGear to entry-level sims like War Thunder and Ace Combat 7, these games offer a wide variety of options for everyone from novices to experienced pilots.