Time To Get This Heliborne PS4 Review Done – Chop, Chop!

There'll be no Arnie quotes here, just a simple Heliborne PS4 review.

Helicopters have always got my rotors spinning, so when an opportunity to cover Heliborne for the PS5 arose, it made sense to snap it up. Only, it wasn’t the PS5 version and a PS4 code supplied. Pfft. In all seriousness, aside from seeing a reflection of Miles’ arsehole in Spider-Man on the PS5, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference.

I can tell that flying a helicopter on the PlayStation is most likely as tricky as it is in real life—or flying an RC version. I’ve done that, and it was bloody painful—especially for the chap’s beloved toy that hit the deck when they let me have a go back in my teens. 

Flying a chopper in GTA has always been tricky but doable. The same is true for Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands—great fun, yet the controls can be fickle. Well, they’re an absolute doddle compared to Heliborne, a game developed by JetCat Games and published by Klabater. Taking off is easy—landing, controlling, aiming… that’s a different kettle of fish.

Heliborne PS4 Review - Cock...pit
Cock…pit. Source: PR

Heliborne PS4 Review – 

First impressions were deflating. Jumping headfirst and salivating about helicopters was dangerous, as I hadn’t read the description that this was an online multiplayer. A quick heads-up: you can solo it if you’re brave enough or even if you want to stick with it.

After the initial scare that this would be online only, I jumped into Heliborne’s solo campaign and promptly felt disappointed. Taking one of the first missions as an example, you’re located in Nam and have to secure some landing zones. To achieve this objective, fly one of three copters to the LZs, drop off some troops to hold the ground, and/or remove any resistance within the vicinity.

If only it were that easy.

As mentioned, taking off in Heliborne is simple, as it involves increasing and maintaining speed. However, when you need to slow down, it’s easy to overshoot the mark and crash, such as clipping the blades or landing on uneven terrain, which can topple you into a big ka-blooie of smoke and metallic debris. And if that doesn’t happen, you’ll get shot down.

Heliborne PS4 Review - Chop shop
Chop shop. Source: PR

Heavy Metal

There are numerous helicopters to choose from, and as a sufferable nerd, I can say that they look and feel the part. A later mission taking a Hind over the plains of Afghanistan is excellent until the actual gameplay kicks in. That’s right, that’s the weak point: gameplay. Without any tutorials or parameters to move a tad easier, the game is fiendishly deceiving in that it resembles an arcade game but with simulation controls.

Defining Heliborne as a simulation is… fair. It’s quite realistic, and it’s pretty good fun when you’re flying about. However, traversing the terrain and targeting ground targets make it frustrating. Remember: you’re piloting a helicopter known for its versatility. It can land and hover in places unreachable by a plane or jet. Flying a Tomcat through would probably be a lot more satisfying.

This might be a line to draw, as this isn’t an arcade game. It would be great to see the actual ground units rather than dots. Considering how many years have passed since Desert Strike, I’m still tempted to go back to that, as it was much more satisfying than the gameplay here.

Heliborne PS4 Review Summary

But then again, perhaps I’ve missed the point (most likely), as Heliborne is more of an online multiplayer game. From my perspective, I simply couldn’t get into it nor get my head around the controls or dull gameplay (timed as well!), despite being a helicopter nerd and keen to play something modern that takes this underrepresented vehicle through to the next-gen. Maybe it was a big ask.

I suggest you stick with the games mentioned earlier or try something completely different. Try the publisher’s other excellent titles, such as The Amazing American CircusWeedcraft Inc., or Best Month Ever!

The verdict?