18 Best Helicopter Games Of 2024 | For All Platforms

Helicopter games have a rich history within the gaming industry. Early games like “Defender” and “Choplifter!” introduced players to the thrill of flying a chopper and rescuing hostages. They laid the foundation for what would become a diverse and enduring genre. 

As technology advanced, we witnessed a surge in flight simulators with titles like “Comanche: Maximum Overkill” and “Gunship 2000”. They offered highly detailed virtual helicopters, allowing players to interact with intricate controls and lifelike machinery. 

The genre expanded further with the introduction of more detailed and action-packed helicopter games. Titles like “Desert Strike” and “Soviet Strike” combined arcade-style gameplay with engaging missions, attracting a wider audience. 

What’s unique in modern helicopter games? 

Today’s helicopter games are nothing short of breathtaking. They allow you to explore intricately detailed landscapes, witness realistic physics, and marvel at the intricacies of helicopters’ aerodynamics.

The gameplay has become more diverse, catering to various play styles and preferences. Whether you are searching for a simple, pick-up-and-play experience or a hardcore flight simulator, there is something to suit your needs. 

This article features some of the best helicopter games that have captured the hearts of gamers worldwide. We have covered a range of titles, from iconic classics to hidden gems, each handpicked for their incredible gameplay, stunning visuals, immersive experiences, and exciting features that set them apart from the rest.

We have also taken into account user reviews and critical acclaim. While user reviews offer a glimpse of the player experience and satisfaction, critical acclaim reflects the assessments of professional gamers. 

18. Helicopter Flight Pilot

Platform: Android | iOS
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: Free | $26.99 to unlock everything 

This is an immersive and comprehensive helicopter flying simulator game packed with various exciting features and activities. It provides a realistic experience of piloting helicopters, complete with authentic controls and physics. 

Besides helicopter flight, you can engage in thrilling activities like paragliding and base jumping from high points. The game also includes a variety of missions, such as passenger transportation, firefighting, handling flight problems, and even police vs. robber scenarios. These missions add excitement to the gameplay. 

The simulator features high-resolution scenery and airports with satellite maps, runways, air traffic, 3D buildings, and true volumetric clouds. It has more than 150 square kilometers of area to explore. 

Plus, you get to experience dynamic weather conditions, including clear skies, thunderstorms, and snow. These weather elements add realism to your flying experiences.

17. Heliborne Collection

Platform: macOS | Windows | Linux
Mode of play: Singleplayer and Multiplayer

Price: $29.99

Heliborne Collection allows players to take control of various helicopters and engage in combat scenarios. It focuses on helicopter-based combat in various historical and modern settings.

You can pilot a range of helicopters, from historical models to modern military helicopters. Customize them with different loads and weapons as per your specific mission requirements. 

The game includes several missions and objectives, such as air-to-ground attacks, air-to-air combat, troop transport, reconnaissance, and more. Each mission requires different strategies and skills. 

It also has an Enhanced Edition that features a large roster of helicopters, more realistic flight physics, and a variety of multiplayer game modes. 

16. Dustoff Heli Rescue

Platform: macOS | Windows 
Mode of play: Singleplayer 

Price: $3.99

Dustoff Heli Rescue combines elements of action, helicopter piloting, and rescue missions. It uses retro-style pixel art graphics, which can evoke a nostalgic feeling and make it visually distinct. 

It is known for its fast-paced and action-packed gameplay, where you must make split-second decisions to complete missions and avoid enemy threats.

The game offers up to 25 unique missions, each presenting different challenges and objectives. This includes cargo transportation, hostage rescue, and stopping enemy convoys. It also has many war scenes, including swamps, jungles, mine systems, and hidden caves, which provide a diverse and challenging backdrop for missions. 

Unlike most other games, Dustoff Heli Rescue is 100% kid and family-safe, with no on-screen deaths (enemy soldiers always retreat rather than getting killed). 

15. Thunder Blade

A still from the game

Platform: Atari ST, Arcade, Commodore 64
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: Free

Sega’s “Thunder Blade” is perhaps the oldest combat flight simulator on this list. First released in 1987, more than three decades ago, the game remains somewhat relevant even now.

It is a third-person shooting game in which the player controls an armed helicopter with a single objective to destroy enemy buildings and military establishments. All levels are played in a top-down view. You can play it online.

14. Gunship 2000

Platform: DOS, Windows
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: Free

Initially released in 1991, Gunship 2000 is one of the oldest helicopter games/simulations you can play. It’s an enhanced version of its predecessor, the original Gunship game, released in 1986. The player begins the game by selecting a combat theater and then choosing between single or campaign missions.

In the early stages of the game, your helicopter options are limited to just one. However, as you advance through the game, your selection expands significantly. In the mid and late game, you’ll encounter an array of diverse helicopters that will keep your interest alive. 

You can use various real-life military tactics based on terrain, such as nap-of-the-earth (low-altitude flying) and pop attacks.

While the game has many flaws, such as inaccuracies in helicopter model descriptions, flight avionics, and less-than-ideal controls, it manages to compensate for these shortcomings with its wide range of weapons and an array of in-game features.  

13. Gunship Battle2 VR

Platform: Android, Steam
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: Free | $9.99

Virtual reality is taking the gaming industry by storm, and maybe it’s time to equip yourself with the right tools. Yes, I am talking about the VR setup.

Anyway, Gunship Battle2 VR is an immersive helicopter simulation game in which you play the role of a former secret agent/ pilot named Dylan. He lost everything — his family and his identity after a covert mission went wrong.

But now, with the nation’s security at risk, an experimental gunship is his only hope to recovering his grief and saving the world. The game provides a complete VR experience.

12. Enemy Engaged: RAH-66 Comanche vs. KA-52 Hokum

Platform: Windows, Mac OS x
Mode(s) of play: Single-player, multiplayer

Price: Free | $1.49

Enemy Engaged: Comanche vs. Hokum is one of the two original helicopter simulation games from the Enemy Engaged series. It’s a successor to Enemy Engaged: Apache vs. Havoc. For those who are wondering, Comanche and Hokum are NATO-assigned call signs for American and Russian attack helicopters.

The game was praised for its artificial intelligence and great flight physics. It was also nominated for the “Simulation of the Year” award in 2000.

11. Jungle Strike

Platform: MS-DOS, Game Boy, PlayStation Portable
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: Free

“Jungle Strike” serves as the direct sequel to one of the best-selling helicopter games, “Desert Strike.” While it maintains the shoot ’em up gameplay style, it also demands a significant amount of strategic thinking to achieve success in the game

As a player, your main objective in this game is to stop enemy assaults using an attack helicopter, typically the Comanche, and occasionally even a motorbike..

The game gained global acclaim for its exceptional design, flawless graphics, and responsive controls.

10. Take On Helicopters

Take On Helicopters Gameplay

Platform: Windows, Steam
Mode(s) of play: Single-player, multiplayer

Price: $19.99

“Take On Helicopters” is a civilian helicopter simulation game that offers players the opportunity to pilot three distinct classes of helicopters: light, medium, and heavy. In addition to the traditional career mode, the game includes features like time trials, challenges, and multiplayer modes.

The game’s narrative centers around a Seattle-based family-run helicopter business that is struggling to survive after the passing of its family head. Players assume the role of Tom Larkin, a civilian pilot, and work alongside his brother Joe Larkin to rescue the family business.

In short, it is a well-rounded flight simulator that has the potential to engage gamers, particularly those new to the genre. It is also notable for its robust mission editor, which allows players to create their own challenges and scenarios.

9. Air Missions: Hind

Platform: Windows, Xbox One, Steam
Mode of play: Singleplayer and multiplayer

Price: $16.99

Air Missions: Hind is a combat flight simulator in which players take control of a Russian Mil Mi-24 attack helicopter, also known as ‘Hind’ or the “Flying Tank,” and conduct missions across different environments and scenarios.

You have the ability to customize your helicopter with additional avionics and missile systems based on the mission’s requirements, including real-life combat equipment like MCLOS, SACLOS, machine guns, and a range of Soviet-manufactured missiles.

The game has excellent graphics for an arcade-styled combat flight simulator. There are three game modes — test fly, instant action, and campaign — to accommodate both casual players and experienced ones. Additionally, there is a mission editor for added customization.

However, one of the game’s significant drawbacks is its lack of depth. The maps are relatively small and not ideal for exploration. Many missions are simplistic and might not provide a very realistic experience.

8. Desert Strike

Platform: DOS, macOS, Amiga, Game Boy
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: Free

“Desert Strike” is a popular single-player shooting game from the 1990s. In this game, players assume control of an Apache helicopter and undertake various missions, ranging from hostage rescue to assaulting enemy installations in hostile territories.

The game draws inspiration from the Gulf War of the 1990s and portrays a conflict between the antagonist, General Kilbaba, and the United States.

The Apache helicopter is armed with a machine gun and powerful missiles. While it’s possible to enhance its firepower with more potent weapons, doing so comes at the cost of reducing the helicopter’s carrying capacity.

In other words, the deadlier the weapon, the fewer of them can be carried. As a result, you need to carefully select their weapon loadout to maximize the effectiveness in the game.

7. Apache: Air Assault

A still from Apache: Air Assault

Platform: Windows, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: Free

“Apache: Air Assault” is a combat-style flight simulator that gives you the opportunity to pilot various customizable Apache helicopter variants. Your goal is to combat fictional terrorist threats in unstable regions around the world.

It can be enjoyed in both single-player and multiplayer modes, allowing for solo missions or cooperative gameplay with friends. 

The game received favorable reviews, with IGN and GameSpot both awarding it a score of 7.5 out of 10. These positive ratings highlight its appeal among players and its quality in delivering an engaging combat helicopter experience.

6. Comanche 3

Platform: MS-DOS, Windows 95/98
Mode of play: Single-player, multiplayer

Released in: 1997
Price: Free

Another classic in this list, Comanche 3, is the third (sixth overall) installment of the acclaimed helicopter simulation game series Comanche. The series is named after Boeing–Sikorsky RAH-66 Comanche, a canceled military helicopter program initiated by the U.S. Army in 1991.

It was the first-ever flight simulation game to use voxel technology, allowing it to have a more realistic and enhanced terrain than similar games at that time.

The game allows you to control and navigate a military helicopter through different terrains, engage with enemies, and complete a wide range of missions.

The original game consists of four campaigns, each with eight missions, totaling 32 missions. Additionally, there are half a dozen training missions to help players become familiar with the game.

A year after its initial release, an enhanced version, “Comanche 3 Gold,” was launched. This Gold edition included the original four campaigns and introduced five new campaigns, each with eight missions. It also featured bonus missions under the ‘special operations’ tab, a mission editor for creating custom missions, and the inclusion of new vehicles, such as the Chinese Harbin Z-9 and AC-130U Spectre Gunship.

5. FlightGear Flight Simulator

Bell 412 | Image Courtesy: Stuart Cassie 

Platform: Windows, Linux, macOS, FreeBSD
Price: Free (Open source)

FlightGear is a remarkable open-source flight simulator designed with the primary goal of creating a sophisticated and versatile platform suitable for research and academic purposes. The beauty of this open-source software is that it’s accessible to anyone, and it’s compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, and FreeBSD platforms. 

The simulator features an extensive database of over 20,000 real-world airports, complete with accurate runway markings and elevations. It accommodates a wide range of helicopter models, making it accessible to both beginners and experts.

For novices, there’s the Robinson R22 trainer helicopter, while those seeking a bit more challenge can graduate to light utility helicopters like the Alouette III. The more experienced players can take on helicopters like the Sikorsky S-76C and the twin-engine super heavy lifter, the Chinook CH-47.

However, one of the game’s potential drawbacks is the absence of a realistic virtual cockpit, which some players may find limiting when aiming for the utmost authenticity in their flight experience.

4. Comanche 4

A still from Comanche 4 gameplay

Platform: Windows, Steam
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: $9.99

Comanche 4 would have topped any list of the best helicopter games if we were in the early 2000s. It encompasses all the elements you’d desire in a flight simulation game, including captivating missions, improved controls, and an overall excellent gameplay experience.

However, its age becomes evident, as it was released in 2001, and this is especially noticeable in its outdated graphics.

Nevertheless, this shouldn’t deter you from experiencing this classic game, especially if you’re a dedicated fan of military helicopter simulation games. Despite the outdated graphics, the campaign mode is relatively short and can be completed in just a few hours. The majority of the missions provide a satisfying level of challenge to keep players engaged.

When it comes to flight physics, while the controls and helicopter movement may not be hyper-realistic, they strike a balance that makes the game enjoyable and accessible, adding to the overall fun factor of flying in the game.

3. Microsoft Flight Simulator X

Platform: Windows
Price: $24.99

Microsoft Flight Simulator X (FSX) is an award-winning flight/helicopter simulation game developed by by Microsoft Game Studios exclusively for the Windows platform.

The original game only features two helicopters: the rookie Robinson R22 and Agusta Westland AW101. However, players have the option to expand their helicopter selection through add-ons.

While the helicopter simulation in FSX may not offer the highest level of accuracy, it still provides an enjoyable and worthwhile experience for enthusiasts. You can download several well-known helicopters from manufacturers such as Bell, Eurocopter, and Boeing. 

The downloads are available from trusted sources such as Nemeth Designs and Hovercontrol, allowing you to diversify your helicopter choices and enhance your gaming experience.

2. DCS: Black Shark 2

Platform: Windows
Mode of play: Single-player

Price: $49.99

DCS: Black Shark 2 is a standalone simulation in the vast Digital Combat Simulator (DCS) world featuring the legendary Russian single-seat attack helicopter Kamov Ka-50. The game is known for its realistic graphics and maneuverability.

The simulator comes with various advanced automation features, including a state-of-the-art targeting system, guided missile system, mounted targeting, and autopilot. These features enable you to easily adapt the helicopter for various roles, enhancing the versatility of gameplay.

In addition to the Black Shark, you can expand your experience by purchasing additional DCS modules. You can enjoy emulations of helicopters like the Mil-Mi-8MTV2, SA342 Gazelle, and UH-1H Huey. This further diversifies the available options and missions in the DCS world.

1. X-Plane

Bell 407 in X-Plane 11

Platform: Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS
Price: $59.99

Laminar Research’s X-Plane stands out from other flight simulators with its vast collection of both civilian and military-class aircraft. What sets X-Plane apart is its groundbreaking aerodynamic model known as the “blade element theory.”

Unlike typical flight simulators that rely on predefined data to emulate an aircraft’s performance (including drag and lift), “X-Plane” takes a different approach. It improves simulation accuracy by individually assessing every component of an aircraft, resulting in a more realistic flight experience, especially for aircraft with limited preset data.

In addition to its advanced aerodynamic modeling, “X-Plane” features a unique plugin architecture that empowers players to develop custom modules, expanding the software’s functionality. This capability allows enthusiasts to tailor their simulation experience and enhance the software’s capabilities according to their preferences and needs.

More to Know 

What are some classic helicopter games that every gamer should try?

If you are looking to explore the history of helicopter gaming, you should try the following options: 

Choplifeter! (1982): It is one of the earliest and most influential helicopter games that allows you to rescue hostages in a side-scrolling, 2D world. 

Gunship (1986) is a combat flight simulation game, focusing on realism and accuracy. In this game, you take on the role of a helicopter pilot and engage in several missions involving combat and rescue operations. 

Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf (1992): It is an isometric action game set during the Gulf War. It puts you in the role of a pilot controlling an Apache helicopter. Your objective is to complete a series of missions that involve destroying enemy targets, rescuing hostages, and gathering intelligence while navigating a desert environment.

Soviet Strike (1996) is part of the “Strike” series, following games like “Desert Strike” and “Jungle Strike.” It is known for its mix of action, strategy, and story-driven missions. 

Hind: The Russian Combat Helicopter Simulation (1996) focuses on the Mil Mi-24 Hind helicopter, a well-known Soviet and Russian gunship and transport helicopter. In this game, you take part in missions that include air-to-air combat, ground attacks, and troop transport.

Comanche Series (1992-2001) primarily focuses on the RAH-66 Comanche, a prototype stealth helicopter developed by the United States military. It was well-received for its realism and attention to detail. 

Are helicopter games only about combat and warfare?

Absolutely not! While many popular helicopter games feature combat and military missions, the genre is quite diverse and encompasses a range of experiences. For example, many games focus on 

  • rescue and humanitarian missions 
  • open-world environments where you can explore vast landscapes
  • tasks like crop dusting, firefighting, or sightseeing tours
  • puzzle-solving or strategic elements 
  • recreating historical events or providing informative, documentary-style experiences

Furthermore, helicopter simulation games are developed to provide a realistic experience of flying helicopters. They offer a comprehensive understanding of helicopter controls, flight dynamics, and navigation. 

Are there any educational benefits to playing helicopter games?

Yes. These games offer several benefits, particularly when it comes to improving cognitive and practical skills. Helicopter simulation games, for example, can help improve spatial awareness and 3D visualization skills. They can also enhance your hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills. 

Helicopter games that feature realistic terrain or open-world environments can help you become more familiar with geographic features, navigation skills, and map reading. Some games strive for realism and provide you with insights into aeronautics and flight mechanics. 

Read More

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Written by
Bipro Das

I am a content writer and researcher with over seven years of experience covering all gaming and anime topics. I also have a keen interest in the retail sector and often write about the business models/strategies of popular brands.

I started content writing after completing my graduation. After writing tech-related things and other long-form content for 2-3 years, I found my calling with games and anime. Now, I get to find new games and write features and previews.

When not writing for RankRed, I usually prefer reading investing books or immersing myself in Europa Universalis 4. But I am currently interested in some new JRPGs as well.

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  • Hi Bipro
    My favorite Helicopter game ever is Nintendo 64’s Chopper Attack (arcade).
    If I could find another helicopter game that great I would buy it and the system it is compatible with! I can’t determine if there is anything that great out there and I am sad.

  • My first one was LHX – ugly but fascinating.
    It is worth to mention that Enemy Engaged still has updates coming out, after 20 years since release date.

    • Larry Padro says:

      Air Mission: Hind