Recommend me some flying games!

And by ‘flying games’, I really mean ‘flying and shooting’, not flight simulators as such. And I guess I’d prefer sci-fi, space-combat type games, but I’m open to alternatives, perhaps something in WWI-type planes.

As background, I used to love the old X-Wing/TIE-Fighter/Wing Commander type games, but I haven’t had even a basic joystick in a decade or two, so I haven’t played one for years. But recently, I got a copy of Star Wars: Squadrons when it went on sale, and a basic Thrustmaster soon afterwards, because playing with mouse and keyboard turned predictably out to suck.

So, I loved flying around in an X-Wing again, and now that I have a joystick again, I can also have a look at all the games I missed! But I don’t really know what to look at first, so I’m looking for suggestions. One difficulty: I don’t really like multiplayer, so a strong single player campaign is a bonus. Also, I don’t exactly have a high-end gaming rig.

I’ve been looking at Elite Dangerous—what’s the single player mode like, there? How about No Man’s Sky, is there a substantial space-combat aspect to it (and generally, is it worth playing)?

Basically, I’m looking for something that might be a spiritual successor to Wing Commander and its ilk. Alternatively, I also used to enjoy Red Baron-type dogfighting games with lots of historical planes to try out. I never really was much into flight sims using current-day planes, strangely, but I’m thankful for all suggestions.

Elite Dangerous is a bit of a disappointment but if you have the inclination you might consider Oolite which is an open source free alternative. What makes it great is a very long list of expansion packs which add a multitude of features including the ability to join the navy and fight aliens.

No Man’s Sky seemed to involve exploring planets and I gave up before I got into any decent space battles. Not sure if they would have ever come.

Elite Dangerous is a huge time sink. It’s fun and single player is fine. You can just do pirate hunting if combat is your thing.

The Ace Combat games are good fun for arcade flight combat.

If you liked Squadrons, Battlefront II has some X-Wing / Tie Fighter combat along with the First Person Shooter stuff.

I can’t comment on No Man’s Sky.

I have yet to go back to my heavily modded Oolite since I started playing Elite: Dangerous.

Pirate-hunting missions can be obtained from any occupied space station. Pirates can be also be found as random encounters – either after your cargo or fighting a freighter and her support ships. Successfully fighting off the pirates attacking a freighter means you can obtain the freighter for free.

Fair warning: space combat can be quite difficult until you get the spaceship shotgun and upgrade your shields to last long enough to get in shotgun range.

I found playing No Man’s Sky to be a barren lonely experience.

Everspace 2? There’s a free demo you can try out to see if it suits you.

If you’re not looking only for very recent games, then I can recommend Bob Polin’s Blue Max, where you take the role of a WWI flying ace. The controls are fairly simple but the game is quite addictive. I can win it in a single session of play (maybe 20 or 30 minutes) but only about 10% of the time, which keeps me playing after all these years.

I’m guessing that was more than two years ago.

So I just discovered that threads you open don’t go to the ‘tracking’ URL I use to keep track of where I’ve posted (obviously, in retrospect, because they’re in the state ‘watching’ rather than ‘tracking’). Sorry for taking so long to return.

Anyway, thanks for the responses so far! I’ll definitely take a look at Oolite, and look into Elite Dangerous and Everspace. Something about No Man’s Sky is tickling my fancy, but I’m not sure I want to take the plunge—perhaps I’ll go watch some YouTube videos about its recent developments.

Looking around the wiki lists for space flight simulation games and combat flight simulation games, I have to say I hadn’t really noticed how scarce the genre has become. I knew I hadn’t been paying attention, because these sorts of games didn’t have much appeal without some flying equipment, but it seems there also hasn’t happened all that much… The only recent WWI game I’m seeing is the one from the IL-2 Sturmovik-series, does anybody have experience with that?

It’s a bit old at this point, but I always thought Tachyon: The Fringe was a good successor to the Wing Commander playstyle, plus it’s got Bruce Campbell as the voice of the protagonist.

Just so you’re aware: Oolite has much more in common with Elite Plus than Elite: Dangerous. The former is more of an arcade game which takes place in eight fictional galaxies whereas the latter is more of a simulation which takes place in the entire Milky Way galaxy – plus a few star systems from the original game.

Steam has E:D and NMS on deep discount fairly often so you might want to wait for a sale to take the plunge. E:D is more newbie-friendly these days than it was when I first started playing, in terms of default ship technology and starting area.

I would definitely recommend Elite Dangerous, the flight looks and feels great and it models the entire Milky Way galaxy. You can still be the first to explore new star systems (after a big leaning curve.)

These are all worth looking at:


Frontier Pilot Simulator

Between the Stars

Rebel Galaxy

Rebel Galaxy Outlaw

Starpoint Gemini 3

And if you are good with computers and remember the oldschool classic space sim Freespace 2, there is a fan-made enhanced edition called Freespace Open. You will need a copy of Freespace 2 from

I have this one on my Steam Wishlist. Looks like you liked it…what’s the best thing about this one?

If you ever get tempted to by an Oculus, then “Warplanes: WW1 Fighters” sounds perfect for you. I have it and I love it. It’s realistic enough that it will give you motion sickness until you get used to it.

Youtube link with obnoxious audio.

It has a unique look and feel, models logistics of getting stuff from point A to B to C on an interesting planet. You decide what to transport and where for the most part. The best thing about it is the flight model, wind is a factor and the ships really feel like they have weight, especially if you are near the cargo limit. Fuel is also a big factor at times depending on how much/far you are going and whether you have a headwind.