Ever since X-Plane first came out on the iDevices, we’ve been waiting to fly fighter planes really fast. Happily, with the release of X-Plane Extreme, it’s time to take it into the danger zone in some sweet, high-performance hardware. This version brings the kind of energy-drink-swilling adrenaline rush we’ve been waiting for in iDevice aviation… but it’ll cost you.
The key player generating all the excitement is the F-22 Raptor, with its amazingly agile handling, super cruise performance, and effortless power. It was easily our favorite. Our second favorite was every plane-happy kid’s dream’”the SR-71 Blackbird. For your precision-bombing “shock and awe” needs, the B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Stealth Bomber are also included.
Like the previous versions of X-Plane, X-Plane Extreme makes great use of the device’s accelerometers, providing some of the best control feel that we’ve seen in any offering. The program uses that control to build a feeling of realism in control which really comes into sharper focus with these high-speed aircraft. The program’s smoothly responsive controls’”which react appropriately to speed, aircraft attitude, and other factors’”shine when you’re piloting the SR-71 through rocky canyons.
The other arena where the program’s performance shines is our favorite new feature’”other aircraft. As you pilot your way around, you’ll see other aircraft just like yours. Trying to chase these computer-controlled planes is fun, and can be challenging when you don’t know where they’re going. Keep in mind that these are aircraft that can turn on a dime (by aviation standards, anyway) and go more than twice the speed of sound.
X-Plane Extreme also pushes the bar when it comes to graphics realism on the iDevices. This release (9.0.7) brings even better ground textures across the whole line, as well as slightly cleaned up menus. The existence of other aircraft, a feature currently limited to Extreme, also raises the bar even further, as it adds more detail to the environment. However, we’d still love to see some more detail in terms of man-made landmarks. The Bay Area bridges would be a nice start’”we’ve always wanted to fly under the Golden Gate!
As much as we’ve enjoyed flying in X-Plane Extreme, we’ve got some reservations about how this new game is being sold. We can’t help but feel like all of these releases should have been updates to the original program. In fact, at this point, if you’ve bought all four iDevice X-Plane titles, you’ve spent as much as $40.
That’s what the full desktop version costs’”a version that allows you to design your own aircraft, and download (for free!) aircraft made by the simulator’s dedicated fan-base. So, it seems to us that the value proposition of the X-Plane family is precarious; unless you’re a dedicated flight sim enthusiast, we can’t really recommend that you buy more than one. At this point, however, if you want to see the most impressive and realistic flight sim on any mobile device, X-Plane is the program to get, and X-Plane Extreme is the version to choose.