Take On Helicopters is a helicopter simulation game published and developed by Bohemia Interactive. It follows the story of the Larkins, a family who has made their money in the helicopter flight business. Tom Larkin, the player character, is not a pilot and is brought into the business after a fatal crash of his father and a near-fatal crash of his brother, meaning they have no pilots left. The story follows their struggles with a problematic economy and problems with the helicopters and pilots themselves. The game has several modes that can be played, including various helicopter simulation challenges and sandbox play.
During the game you can walk around outside your helicopter and sit inside as the pilot. Missions generally involve going to target locations carrying cargo or taxiing people, can include taking off and landing, (which is accurately simulated as you can crash easily!) and talking to NPCs; these can vary from the people you are carrying to dispatchers. The mission I played the most of (which was one of the first missions – owing to the challenge level of the game) has you showing off a helicopter to a potential buyer and potential shenanigans as you attempt to complete his demands as far as maneuvering. The game accurately models helicopter flight and the challenges of not crashing while you attempt to accomplish missions. This is a hardcore sim and if you haven’t played one in a while you can send your helicopter spinning out of control.
It’s enjoyable to see a simulation have a story mode; from what I was able to see of it, it was done well given most simulations lack this feature. The tutorials are very in depth and do a good job of showing the mechanics of the game, however you will benefit if you’ve played other flight simulators recently and from having the correct control mechanisms available to you as the game does fully support joysticks and the like.
The graphics are serviceable though it is obvious that Bohemia mostly works on military sims. It’s not a fancy game but it has realistic graphics that feel like you are actually in a helicopter. Depending on your rig you can crank up the settings quite high but even on a 2GB videocard I still saw some lag at medium settings – this likely was due to my running a 32-bit OS though. For SimCopter and Flight Simulator fans it’s a very nice upgrade.
The voice acting and sound is very good considering simulations don’t generally have a huge amount of voice acting. Sounds are realistic and sound recorded from real environments. In reloading missions again, I noticed some sound lag even on a high-end rig. This might be due to the game being optimized for a 64-bit system. This review was completed on a 32-bit system however.
The game is definitely well done and accomplishes the purpose it sets out to do. It’s not for everyone but will fill the need of a SimCopter or Flight Simulator fan or someone who is looking for a very different story experience. Definitely be aware it’s a challenging and realistic game even in beginner mode, I spent several hours on some missions. It’s nice to see a SimCopter replacement after 15 years.
Disclaimer: All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.