Infinite Flight Simulator began its life as a Windows Phone app and today also occupies the Apple and Google app stores. This app offers players the chance to experience the kind of realism and high-fidelity simulation that mere arcade-style games do not come close to recreating. Many true flight-simulator purists will rightfully be sceptical of any app that claims to be a flight simulator (considering the kind of hardware that PC-based flight sims need to offer the kind of realism required) but Infinite Flight Simulator does a remarkably good job in spite of the tilt-based controls and hardware limitations.
Getting started in this game is pretty simple thanks to the detailed tutorial, without which many casual players or beginners may struggle to pick up the hyper-realistic physics and multiple flight systems native to most flight simulators. It is highly recommended that you take the tutorial if you’re not experienced with flight simulators as you may need to fine-tune the accelerometer calibration as well as learn how to use it in conjunction with the controls in the first place.
Now, avoiding hardware limitations for a minute to focus first on the gameplay itself, it has to be said that Infinite Flight Simulator comes up with some impressive goods considering you’re playing a flight simulator in the palm of your hand. After playing through the various flight lessons, you get to select one of the roster of planes you have available (there are over 20 in total, though those available vary by operating system) as well as the area you’ll be taking off from, the local weather systems, and the time of day you’ll be setting off.
The number of options available allows you to customise your flight experience to a satisfying degree and is particularly useful for beginners as it lets you choose whether you begin on the runway, mid-flight, or at the start of your descent with view to landing your plane.
The small details that effect your flight experience make all the difference. Things like the temperature directly impact the performance of your aircraft, for example, though the number of weather options available aren’t as extensive as many would like. Much like in Microsoft’s Flight Simulator and DCS World, you are able to trim your aircraft in Infinite Flight Simulator. This relieves a lot of the pressure that would otherwise be put on the user to constantly work the tilt controls in order so simply keep the aircraft level.
Autopilot plays an important part in this flight simulator given the right situation, and the introduction of the vertical flight speed system allows you to maintain a certain speed as you ascend until you reach a designated altitude.
One of the disappointing aspects of the gameplay that puts in stark contrast with PC-based flight simulators is the limited nature of the regions you can fly in. It seems you can quite easily fly out of bounds and this causes your throttle to enter idle mood, just to drill the message home that you need to try and stay within the rather limited enclosure of the game’s playable regions. Realism also hits a disappointing low if you happen to encounter water up close.
The controls will always be a drawback in mobile-based flight sims – and this applies to any mobile flight sim app such as Real Flight – because flight simulator veterans will be used to using keyboard input as well as specialist joysticks that aim to make the experience as realistic as possible. Infinite Flight Simulator involves a mixture of tilt controls (using the accelerometer) and on-screen buttons. Tilt controls are simply unavoidable with mobile flight games, but they are nonetheless irritating, particularly if you’re used to the luxuries of joystick-controlled flight.
One thing that must be said about Infinite Flight Simulator is that what it lacks in the like-for-like features in the PC vs Mobile department, it makes up for with its graphics. You’re looking at some seriously detailed aircraft models here, particularly if you’re indulging in the iPod/Ipad version of the game and benefitting from the retina display of modern iOS devices.
Infinite Flight Simulator definitely ticks many flight simulator boxes: its graphics are impressive, it has a grand selection of aircraft, its physics are more realistic than any arcade-level flying game you’ll play, and it’s got some nice customisation options for those looking to tailor the experience to their personal preferences.
Conversely, this app suffers from the limitations of the hardware. The main limitation is definitely the fact you’re stuck with accelerometer-facilitated tilt controls, but you’re also limited in terms of the regions you can explore in any one mission, as well as the realism of the physics compared to PC-based offerings that have mountains of power available to them.
Still, you’re not going to be disappointed if you adjust your expectations to a level that is appropriate for playing a flight simulator game on a platform that even five or six years ago wouldn’t be able to handle such detail. It is undeniably enjoyable flying a 747, taking off in a Supermarine Spitfire, or even landing a Space Shuttle! Infinite Flight Simulator is an enjoyable experience, but it’s best to not expect too much of it by comparing it to PC-based flight sims.