Review: Infinite Flight (Dec 2012)
Let's be fair, we've already reviewed Infinite Flight - Steve looked at it back in October 2011. But that was over a year ago, and since then Infinite Flight has been through countless iterations. The October review was on one of the earliest public versions of the game. So it seems fair to give Infinite Flight a go-around and bring it in for a second review after a quick circuit.
Version Reviewed: 2.8
In version 2.8 of Infinite Flight, the iterative changes have been subtle, but looking back at the original review, the most noticeable are around terrain, aircraft, and controls.
Infinite Flight now ships with a third region. Joining the San Fransisco peninsula, and the Los Angeles country area, is Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Home of the Experimental Aircraft Association's AirVenture air show, the new landscape has a central regional airport and a number of small runways close by, with challenging short field approaches and precision flying needed to fly around the area.
Oh, and don't bother trying to take the A380 into a 3000 yard asphalt landing strip, it's not going to happen. But if you really must try, you can. The Airbus A380 double decker aircraft is one of fifteen aircraft that are now available to the pilot in Infinite Flight, and to add to that number you have various liveries available. With the new options to view your flight from various camera angles around the aircraft (as well as an in-cockpit view to go along with the HUD forward facing view that you would normally expect), these livery choices are a welcome feature that I didn't expect to enjoy as much as I did.
Infinite Flight has a "request an aircraft" system and the aircraft that topped the poll earlier in the year was the Bombadier CRJ-200, which seats around 44 passengers. That's a good choice from the community, because it's still light and responsive enough to feel a bit like the Cessnas and light aircraft that you can easily learn, but has the heft and the profile to be a good stepping stone to the larger Boeing and Airbus passenger heavies.
And here is where I have a problem with Infinite Flight, but only as a reviewer. The development team have not supplied a huge amount of information in the application on how everything works. Neither are there guides to the aircraft. While they are very well simulated in the app, details like stall speeds and performance information of the aircraft need to found from external sources. If you're looking for details on what exactly 'trim' does, you won't find it in here. And when you are sitting at the end of a runway, if you want to take off, do a circuit, and land once more, you need to know how to do that yourself.
That puts people new to flight sims at a disadvantage, and makes Infinite Flight a tough title to love if you've never done this sort of thing before. But if you have, you're going to be able to jump right in. You're going to see the touch-based controls around the heads up display and feel at home, and more importantly when you start to fly the aircraft you'll feel the different flight models in operation, the differences between a light aircraft, a World War 2 fighter, a modern ground attack aircraft, and various passenger jet liners.
Infinite Flight doesn't leave you in the cockpit. Although that's the easiest way to fly the aircraft, there are multiple cameras and viewpoints you can use. From a camera in the chase aircraft position, a viewpoint mounted on the tail of the aircraft, or even from the Air Traffic Control tower of the airfield, you'll be able to watch your flight in (dare I say it), an almost infinite number of ways.
This is helped by the replay feature. Let's say you make a really good landing, you can hit replay and watch it again, but this time using all the camera angles like a film director to get the best view of your flight.
More controls have been added in the last fifteen months. The primary controls were always there but you now have spoilers (air brakes) depending on the type of aircraft, reverse thrust, trim tabs for the elevators (which work in conjunction with the accelerometer based controls for the flying yoke), more autopilot modes, and a generally polished experience from an app that has had a huge amount of testing by the public.
There's still an issue with taxi-ing, the airframe rocking about to excess, and getting wheels stuck under the digital ground level after a rough landing, but with so much going on in the air, I can (just about) ignore the issues on landing - and let's be honest it could be that I'm just rubbish once the wheels hit the ground.
Why is the latter an option in this critical review? Because Infinite Flight is not easy. And that's fair, because flying a plane is not easy. There are liberties taken here, and it will take some getting used to, but it's a very rewarding application in terms of personal satisfaction. When I nail a great landing, I just know it, and that's enough for me.
That's good, because Infinite Flight is more about the personal challenge. There are some basic achievements in your logbook (for example, "achieve 500 landings" is something you are going to be doing anyway) and the occasional mission to fly a Spitfire in formation at an airshow, but taking up an aircraft, navigating, approaching, and landing is the core of the simulation.
If that's your thing, then Infinite Flight is even better value for money than it was in 2011. The key word is simulation. This is not a 'game' to pick up for a few minutes, this is something you learn, and something you should enjoy learning. There's a lot of value in the £3.99 Infinite Flight price, and I still think it's a steal of a price for the amount of detail, ongoing support, and accuracy that's in this application.
Steve rated it 83 in October last year, I'm going to inch that up very slightly to 85. More aircraft and scenery, better controls, more camera views, and a commitment to quality are behind that - although I think it still needs to be a little more accessible to a novice sim-pilot.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at