Airplane Mode – low-cost air travel in the era of coronavirus

Airplane Mode is a comic airplane passenger simulator from Lebanese game designer Hosni Auji. However, in a period when air travel is practically inaccessible, it is not so funny.

Genre: Simulator
Platforms: Windows, macOS
Language: English
Developer: Bacronym
Publisher: AMC
Websites: Steam

Airplane Mode invites you, as a passenger, to fly the fictional airline PanAtlantica New York (JFK) – Halifax (YHZ) or New York (JFK) – Reykjavik (KEF) for 2 hours 35 minutes and 5 hours 45 minutes, respectively. No save buttons, no downloads. If you got on this plane, you will have to fly to the end.

The passenger must take his seat (near the window!), Fasten his seat belt, and throughout the flight he has access to entertainment that is traditional for all flights. You can look out the window (not recommended, the graphics do not stand up to criticism); you can watch movies on the built-in entertainment system (they are old, but they have an interesting history, especially Atlantic flight (1937) and Flight to nowhere (1946)), read a book (boring and in English); read the Stratosphere magazine (good articles, especially about the developer’s native Beirut, but there are only two of them!); listen to music from your gaming smartphone (it is not enough and not everyone will like it); play solitaire or Black Jack on the screen built into the headboard (so-so); press random buttons (almost everything works !!!); listen to podcasts on your smartphone; watch photos of cats from the Internet; solve crosswords and sudoku; draw in notepad.

At the right time, you will be asked to listen to the flight safety instructions (it is stylized as a real one, but actually comic); They will bring snacks and take away dirty dishes. If you wish, you can go to the toilet, but this is not a walk around the cabin, but teleportation. But talking with fellow travelers or flirting with the stewardess will not work. Maybe it’s for the best, the passenger and crew models are extremely scary here, at the level of the games of the early 2000s.

As mentioned above, the view from the window in Airplane Mode is also not a fountain – this is not even the beginning of the 2000s, but rather the end of the 90s, after Microsoft Flight Simulator it is simply painful to look at this. It’s a shame, for me personally, 95% of the pleasure of flying comes from the view from the window. The saddest thing is that Airplane Mode performance on my PC sometimes drops lower than MSFS at high settings.

Surprisingly, a lot of buttons and devices work in such a simple toy in the aircraft cabin: you can lower the blinds and the table in its place; take out the screen control panel and charge the smartphone; lower the changing table in the toilet and remove the napkin from the pack. Damn it, even a button-hanger for clothes on the chair works here and simulates the appearance of frost around the hole between the windows of the porthole. The pen that is in your bag (you can lift it from under the chair to the next seat), you can draw in a notebook or fill out a crossword puzzle, you can change the wallpaper in your virtual smartphone, etc. And here you can take pills for motion sickness, vomit in a bag and listen to the crying of a child for 5 hours (this event is accidental and I did not come across).

On the other hand, the same wing avionics, which can be clearly seen from the window, works very conditionally; the aircraft can navigate tail-first; neighbors (they change from flight to flight) are like robots dreaming to kill you; you cannot walk down the aisle and queue for the toilet. At the same time, for all the weakness of the graphics and the mass of restrictions, Airplane Mode has some strange therapeutic effect. Sitting in one place for 2-5 hours, reading a magazine, listening to music and watching an old stupid movie … there is something of meditation in this. Yes, after completing the two in-game flights, return flights will open for you! Halifax (YHZ) – New York (JFK) and Reykjavik (KEF) – New York (JFK). You look, the author will add new directions.

The Airplane Mode idea seems silly and negligible until you remember that some airlines in Asia have started selling tickets for “ground” flights. Passengers can pay a rather large sum to arrive at the airport, go through passport control and check-in, take their place in the cabin of an aircraft standing near the gate and spend several hours in it. No flight. They say that the queue for tickets on the very next day after the start of sales stretched for several months.

Interestingly, the modders are planning to add functionality similar to that in Airplane Mode to Microsoft Flight Simulator. Already, virtual pilots can install a mod that moves the camera to the cabin of some aircraft and allows you to take a seat by the window. It remains only to turn on the autopilot and enjoy the views. But that’s not all, the creators of the free mod A32NXimproving the Airbus A320NEO already available in the game to a new, as close to reality level of simulation as possible, are discussing the possibility of moderating a fully functional passenger compartment and creating a passenger simulator on its basis!

Well, for many, for example, for the author of this article, travel and air travel have become a kind of drug, and now, when real travel and flights are impossible, games like Microsoft Flight Simulator, Euro Truck Simulator 2, American Truck Simulator and yes, Airplane Mode in including, they allow you to somehow deal with the withdrawal syndrome.

Airplane Mode is ugly in places but fun not-quite-game. Rather, it is a meditation aid in the era of the coronavirus. She would also have graphics from MSFS …

Pros: Simulation of many actions available to the passenger on each flight; most of the buttons, levers and switches in the game are working; humorous elements; the unusual relaxing effect of playing

Cons: Not the most modern graphics; view from the porthole; ugly models of passengers; free movement around the cabin is impossible; not the best performance

Conclusion: An odd but highly therapeutic play. She would also have graphics from Microsoft Flight Simulator!

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