Free Airplane Games: The Games that do it Wright
Ever since Orville and Wilbur Wright pioneered aviation technology and created the world first successful airplane many of us have no doubt dreamed about taking to the cockpit ourselves and take to the skies. In the free to play market there’s a nice handful of games that focus around combat, allowing you to don your aviator sunglasses, adopt your cool pilot moniker like Maverick or Iceman and generally rain down bullets on fleeing ground troops or flying around in acrobatic mid-air dog fights with your rivals. Thrilling!
A couple of games do this, and each of them do it pretty well, here’s just a short list of games that will put you in control of your own “plane” (yeh we’re going to be using the term loosely on this one) making you a true bonefide pilot… or at least the closest you’re ever likely to get whilst still keeping one hand free for your Doritos and Mountain Dew.
World of Warplanes
Heroes and Generals
With the first three free to play plane games we have what I believe most people think of when you say “plane video game”, which is the classic World War simulator type games where you pilot your own fighter plane. In World of Warplanes, War Thunder and Heroes and Generals players get to unlock various different planes and wreak havoc upon their enemies in a rain of machine gun fire with old-school fighter planes. World of Warplanes and War Thunder focus specifically on letting players control various types of aircraft, with a huge selection from World of Warplanes as is mirrored through the other franchise games like World of Tanks and World of Warships. However, there are still elements of air to ground combat, but always from the seat of the cockpit.
Both games offer different types of airplanes to choose from, typically switching between those that are good for air-to-air combat and those that are more proficient at ground bombing runs. War Thunder offers a particularly detailed and impressive damage system, where your planes can take all manner of damage at different points on the plane, each of which have different negative effects for flight, combat, etc.
Heroes and Generals allows players to switch between ground and air vehicles, but flight is still a major part of the game and offers a much more rounded World War theme experience. Whilst different in theme Heroes and Generals probably has more in common with Planetside 2 insofar as gameplay, as here players can also change between ground infantry, armoured vehicles and flying craft. Whilst a futuristic theme and some of the “planes” take on more spaceship type scifi styles (though some still look like helicopters or large bombers) air-to-air and air-to-ground (or a three way air-to-air-to-ground) combat is a massive feature and pulling point of the game and many players will exclusively focus on playing a pilot in game.
As we drift further afield from what might traditionally be seen as a free to play airplane game we take a look at Allods Online and the flying craft players are able to take control of later in the game. This later game feature is a large part of Allods Online where players can man their own Astral ship and engage in PvE and PvP, creating their own crew each of who have their own position and role within the ship. Is it a ship… is it a plane… in all honesty it’s probably neither but it flies and it’s pretty damn fun so we thought we’d give it a mention!
Finally, when all is said and done, not every free to play plane game has to end in a fiery death, and popular browser based f2p game Skyrama has earned its place on the list just to show that. This management strategy game allows players to run their own airport, arranging flights between players and transporting cargo across the world in a uniquely social MMO where players get to unlock new planes like in World of Warplanes, but whereas in the popular war MMO you have to worry about being blown out of the sky in Skyrama your biggest concern is whether or not that storm cloud is going to delay your arrival time!