Warplanes: WW1 Fighters Review – A Versatile Flight Sim

Though it’s just a little on the scrappy side, Warplanes offers enough versatility to suit flight fans of any skill and discipline. Read more in our Warplanes: WW1 Fighters review!

If I’ve learned anything from the last five years of reviewing VR games it’s that everyone wants something different. Okay, I probably should’ve already known that but, when it comes to this platform, it’s especially relevant. Be it comfort options, movement styles, reload systems or practically anything else, one man’s trash always turns out to be another’s treasure.

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters recognizes this. It’s solution? Make enough treasure for everyone.

From practically every angle come at it — and there are a lot of angles when you’re in an aircraft — Home Net Games’ flight combat simulator accommodates. If you want a full, single-player campaign with different mission objectives, that’s here. If you want to team up with friends against AI in drawn-out dogfights? That’s here too. In fact you can do that last one either as a team of planes or, in some specific models, together in one craft.

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters Review The Facts

What is it?: A flight simulator featuring 2 campaigns and hundreds of user-made missions from WW1.
Platforms: Quest, PC VR
Release Date: Out now
Price: $19.99

And then there are the controls. There’s really no perfect way to control a flight sim right now, especially on Quest where there’s no HOTAS support. And so you’re given options. For those that want immersion at no cost, there’s a virtual joystick — a touch slippery but quite intuitive given time — whereas you can also just rely on the Touch controller sticks. This extends to the weaponry, which you can customize to make as simulated or as accessible as you want, and there are even different shortcuts to streamline the fuss if you want to get right to the action, like auto-aim options.

In other words, Warplanes is about as versatile a VR flight game as you could get, and — thanks to user-generated missions — offers an ever-growing playground of content to lose yourself in. Any element of WW1-era flight combat you think just might be fun in VR has found its way in here, from dropping bombs by hand to firing off flare guns as you swoop past the enemy.

This isn’t a game where perfectly-structured missions are waiting for you, so much as it is one where you can make those missions for yourself. Do you want a 30-minute one-on-one dogfight in which you and your opponent constantly twirl around each other, one side barely scraping the other with bullets until the other falls? Then turn on Simulation mode and either jump into one of the campaign missions, or set the rules yourself with the community-made level options.

Or perhaps you want a more cinematic level of action, taking on a swarm of foes with generous auto-aim options making quick work of them? That’s an option too. Ultimately, Warplanes isn’t a tailored-made game – it’s one for you to tailor.

How much fun you get out of the game is up to you, then, and it’s a shame not to have a bit more in the way of direction as you find your way through the experience. Between levels, you’ll simply be reading off documents in menus, for example, and it’d be great to retain the immersion by getting briefings delivered in-person from superior officers, or to explore hangars and bases to root you in the world that bit further. That said there is a progression system that allows you to buy new vehicles with money earned, and you’ll find a lot of variety in the different plane types, be it quick and nimble fighters or much more plodding bombers.

And, while the game certainly isn’t ugly, it’d be great to have a little more spectacle added to the experience. Audio falls flat when engines should roar in your ears and you long for a more visceral rattle of gunfire and smoke when you come under attack or squeeze the trigger.

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters Review – Final Impressions

Warplanes: WW1 Fighters might not be the most flashy flight spectacle you’ll find in VR — or even on Quest — but its winning strategy of offering a variety of control schemes and play modes to suit just about everyone’s tastes, then launching user-made missions for a rich supply of content, makes it a real treat. Whether you’re looking for co-op hangouts with co-pilots or simply seeking the authentic thrills of a lost era of warfare, this has something for you. Here’s hoping for a sequel that doubles down on the presentation and fully realizes this particular theater of war for VR.

For more on how we arrived at this rating, read our review guidelines. What did you make of our Warplanes: WW1 Fighters review? Let us know in the comments below!

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