The lure of a good flight simulator is that feeling of weightlessness. Swooping down on an enemy or barrel-rolling away from incoming missiles should make your stomach flutter as your eyes trick your brain into thinking you’re actually moving. You want to feel the G-forces. With Fox One Advanced Edition, you get at least a little of that sensation. Keep in mind that Fox One is an action series, not a simulator.
Fox One starts you off with $40,000 and an itch for a cockpit. Pick an open mission from the world map, and after a briefing, you’re off to the hangar. There, you choose your plane and outfit it with whatever ordinance you think you’ll need. Missiles and planes are straight out of military purchase logs with handy descriptions for us civvies stepping into the flight-suits of elite mercenary pilots. There’s more than enough planes on offer, if you can afford them. Graphics outside of the plane are a little rough – playing on my Remix Tablet, the officer briefing me looked rough and fuzzy like he was ripped from a PS2 game.
On the other hand, the in-level graphics are pretty crisp. You can change your view from first-person cockpit to third-person external, which is always nice. I never saw lag no matter how many enemies were bombarding me from land, sea or air. Sound is decent; warnings blare when an enemy fighter sends a missile in your direction and sad music plays as you dangle in your parachute, mourning the loss of your plane when you crash and burn. Sadly, environments get kind of stale. I travelled half-way around the world before I found anything outside of blue seas and brown, tree-dotted hills and fields. There are canyon levels that come in a couple styles (and others I won’t spoil for you), but you have to work your way up to it. While it makes sense to start you off in more open spaces, it would have been nice to have a little more variety early on; say, deserts or ice-fields just to mix it up.
The serious issues with Fox One stem from the controls, the core of any good flight game. When you start, you can decide to go with accelerometer or touchpad steering, and can modify both with “Expert control,” adding another layer of precision. Combine that with the sensitivity slider in the options menu, and you can fine tune your handling pretty well. Keep in mind that if you use the accelerometer make sure it’s correctly calibrated to be comfortable. Once you’re in a mission you can’t re-calibrate, so if your setup is off-kilter it’ll be nearly impossible to survive.
Additionally, when you use the touchpad controls, the steering – which is a variable analog stick — moves to your left thumb, but the acceleration is on the right, which means you have an overload of controls on one side. Missile inventory, trigger, guns and afterburners are all under your right thumb, which makes it a challenge to survive some of the later, harder levels where you’re constantly trying to outmaneuver enemy jets while taking out your own targets.
The motion-controls make you feel more like a badass anyway and can be pretty responsive depending on how you set it up. Still it’s not as tight or realistic as some other games, like Infinite Flight, for instance. Also, you don’t take off or land; for some players that’s an integral part of the whole flight-simulation process. The best thing about Fox One Advanced Edition: no in-app purchases. There’s a free version, but it only offers the annoyance of ads, three planes and two stages compared to 12 planes and 17 stages in the ad-free advanced edition. So if you feel like dominating world-governments as a merc pilot, give Fox One Advanced Edition a try.
A solid action flight game, don’t look at this as a simulator and you’ll have a great time.