X-Plane 9 for Apple iPhone, iPod touch review: ‘Truly impressive’ (with video)

“As we recently reported, Laminar Research has released a ‘mini-version’ of its hugely popular, realtime physics-based flight simulator X-Plane 9 for the iPhone [and iPod touch]. We’ve recently logged some flight time with this title and are anxious to share our thoughts,” Touch Arcade reports.

“Control is one of the best features of X-Plane 9 for the iPhone. As a flight simulation fan myself, and a long-time user of X-Plane for the Mac, I have purchased several USB flight sticks over the years to enhance the simulation experience. The iPhone, as a controller, has them all beat. Thanks to its accelerometers, the iPhone basically becomes a flight yoke. Tilt forward to dive, pull back to climb, and tilt side-to-side to control ailerons. Flight yokes are expensive “luxury” peripherals that are often part of hardcore flight simulation fans’ desktop setups–and the iPhone basically “has one built in,” in this context,” Touch Arcade reports.

“The X-Plane is one of–if not the–most respected desktop flight simulations available to consumers. Austin Meyer has done a truly impressive job of capturing the key elements of the full version and packaging them up to carry around in your pocket. At $9.99, flight simulation fans will find X-Plane 9 for the iPhone [and iPod touch[ to be a real value. Yes, the title has room for improvement, but already I have been helplessly drawn to spend more time with it than any other iPhone game and even in this first release it has become my favorite app in the App Store,” Touch Arcade reports.

“It should be noted that this is a simulator rather than a true game, in that the point of it is to enjoy the feel of flying rather than completing any tasks or goals,” Touch Arcade reports.

Full review here.

X-Plane 9 for Apple iPhone video:

24 Comments

  1. I have always wondered why there weren’t any decent flight simulators for portable devices. Palm, even in its heydey, never got anyone to develop anything. Let’s not forget; MS had their FS5, with photorealistic scenery, running on 100MHz machines with 32MB of RAM. Palm devices of early 2000s (The first Tungstens) had plenty of power, not to mention decent screens. For crying out loud, there were flight sims for Sinclair ZX81 (a 3.25Mhz 8-bit processor, 16kb of RAM!), and Spectrum (same processor, 48kb of RAM), then Commodore 64, Amiga, Atari ST… All these machines had significantly lower processing power than even the first, original Palm Pilot, and flight sims for them were quite decent, pushing the envelope and the limits of the hardware.

    X-Plane is unquestionably THE most realistic (in terms of flight dynamics) flight simulator out there. While MS (Windows-only) Flight Simulator X is prettier, anyone can land any plane with just a bit of practice there, and most planes fly in very similar manner. X-Plane actually models the aerodynamic forces.

    It is great that there is now an excellent flight sim for the best mobile platform out there.

  2. This is good. It’s really good. Best iphone app there is. I was flying it while walking around the house to show my girlfriend, and got nauseated. See it’s so good it made me sick. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  3. Long video; everything about the sim is quite impressive for a mobile device (but it actually looks much like the desktop original). The original reviewer (and, presumably, the author of the video) seems to fly this thing like a simulator (or RC model); not like a real plane. That approach and landing was sloppy and very, very long (luckily, the runway was even longer). The scenery looks like the default demo scenery for X-Plane 9 on desktop (Innsbruck, Austria, surrounded by the Alps), minus the buildings and the city.

  4. Lamar research enticed me into buying x-plane 9 with their email spam advertising they would soon be raising the price to 79 bucks. So I bought it at 59 and it’s great and all but now they are spamming it for 39 bucks!!! WTF?

    Once again they are advertising “Get it now at $39, before the price goes back up.”

    Back up to what? 59 or 79?

    Thanks but I’ll pass on the Touch version. You’ll get no more money from me.

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