Ultrawings set the bar for virtual reality flight sims when it released back in 2018, with the satisfaction of taking off, flying through the skies, completing the odd job, and then landing again always proving to be mighty rewarding. It just lacked that sense of longevity, with some aspects of the gameplay growing a little repetitive and running out of ideas after a few hours play. Ultrawings 2 fixes all of those problems and more, bringing with it a wonderful virtual reality experience that expands upon the original with more locales to uncover, more variety of missions to complete, and, of course, air combat.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Ultrawings 2 puts players in the cockpit of five different aircraft this time around, with each unlocking as you progress through the game and earn the cash to purchase them. Much like the original, flying is easy to learn but difficult to master; whilst taking off and using the control stick (which feels great with motion controls) is easy enough, knowing when to use your flaps, hit your ignition, pull away at different angles, or line up the perfect shots in battle can take a LOT of practice. Don’t let that intimidate you though – I wouldn’t say Ultrawings 2 is a hard game (and it certainly offers a lot more simplicity than the likes of Microsoft Flight Simulator), but it is one that’ll take some getting used to. There are plenty of instructions that teach you what exactly to do though, so at least you’ll never feel out of your depth.
The five different aircraft each feel different to fly too, whether that’s with the Comet which can soar through the air with bursts of speed, the New Hawk which is perfect for acrobatic twists and turns as you pull off stunts, or the Dragonfly (the helicopter) which offers the most freedom in landing with precision or getting through tight spots. You’ll almost feel like you’re learning how to fly all over again between each aircraft, with each offering their own little pros and cons that ensure they’re always exciting to use. It’s hard to pick a favourite, especially since they all suit the different mission types in their own little ways, but there’s something about the speed of the Comet that made it the most thrilling to hit the skies with.
Most importantly though, all of the aircraft are really fun to use and offer an enjoyable sense of immersion that complements the game’s more arcade-like approach. Sure, you’ll find buttons, sticks, and levers on each aircraft, but it’s always clear what exactly each one does and they’re always easy to interact with, ensuring that Ultrawings 2’s flying gets the perfect balance of being accessible but challenging. Whilst there are plenty of missions to complete in the game, there’s hours of entertainment to be had simply flying around and enjoying being in the aircraft.
“You’ll find buttons, sticks, and levers on each aircraft, but it’s always clear what exactly each one does and they’re always easy to interact with, ensuring that Ultrawings 2’s flying gets the perfect balance of being accessible but challenging.”
Speaking of missions, Ultrawings 2 brings with it more variety in its mission design than its predecessor, though some old favourites return too. You can expect to shoot balloons with a pistol whilst airborne, fly through an array of shapes that bring with them different point values, chase down targets in the sky, complete landing challenges where you have to ground at certain points on the map – there’s are plenty of enjoyable yet tricky tasks to complete based upon the different facets of Ultrawings 2’s gameplay.
The most significant addition has to be the aerial combat, which sees players facing off against other planes or ground and sea forces in battle. This is a LOT of fun and adds a new sense of action to the experience that was missing in the first game, with aerial showdowns proving to be intense and demanding both good flying and shooting skills from the player. Again, there’s nothing too complex on offer and it’s clear that these are all one-off missions as opposed to an action-orientated dogfighting campaign, but they’re a genuinely great addition that can make Ultrawings 2 feel like a whole new game when compared to the original.
Everything in general feels like its of a bigger scale in Ultrawings 2, with the map also larger and more varied than before. There are four islands to fly over that bring with them their own little unique design features, whether that’s small peaceful villages or huge skyscraper-laden cities, whilst there are also more natural landscapes such as valleys to soar through and plenty of more unique landmarks to check out from the skies. Visually, everything looks great in-game, with Ultrawings 2 adopting an aesthetic that prioritises vibrancy and colour over realism (even if there are a few sketchy textures here and there). It’s a big step up from the low-poly visuals of the first game and everything stands out from the skies, especially with the impressive draw distance.
“Air combat a LOT of fun and adds a new sense of action to the experience that was missing in the first game, with aerial showdowns proving to be intense and demanding both good flying and shooting skills from the player.”
Between completing missions, purchasing new aircraft and airports, and simply uncovering the world, there’s so much to do in Ultrawings 2. You’ll continually unlock new missions as you progress too, with over forty-hours’ worth of content promised by developer Bit Planet Games. I’ve put in around fourteen so far and haven’t found it boring at all, so it’s clear that the game is doing something right with its variety.
That being said, I am starting to notice that a lot of the mission setups are getting a bit more familiar now, whilst knowing there aren’t any more additional aircrafts to unlock has dampened my motivation to earn cash too. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty to do and I’m still having fun, but knowing there’s less to work towards has hindered my motivation a little bit. Oh, and those gold medals? Some of them feel frustratingly impossible to achieve, so I certainly won’t be 100%-ing the game.
One big frustration that does stand out is the inconvenience when having to restart missions. If you fail a mission or crash out, you head back to the airport and have to start the whole process of initiating it all over again, which feels unnecessary and drags out the experience. An easy ‘restart’ button would have made a hell of a difference, whether that’s for retrying when you fail or simply diving back in if you think you could do a better job and get a better result. Hopefully, it’s something that can get patched in the future to help streamline the experience, because it feels like unnecessary work right now. UPDATE: After publishing this review, we were informed that a new ‘restart mission’ feature has been patched into the game.
“Between completing missions, purchasing new aircraft and airports, and simply uncovering the world, there’s so much to do in Ultrawings 2.”
You know what, though? It’s not stopping me from having a great time with the game. Between the fun missions and how varied each aircraft is to fly, I’m constantly sitting with a smile on my face as I glide through the skies and complete my goals. Of course, it helps that you have the extra immersion offered with virtual reality, but even things like weaving between buildings, skimming the undersides of bridges as you fly under them, or wiping out an array of targets just isn’t growing old. It feels like the sort of game that’s perfect for virtual reality and Bit Planet Games have done a great job in embracing it. There’s the promise of new aircraft, new islands, and even multiplayer in the future too, so things are only going to get better in the game over the coming months.
Ultrawings 2 Review
Ultrawings 2 improves upon the original in every way, with the immersive flying and fun missions making for a super enjoyable virtual reality experience. I loved soaring through the skies and checking out the vibrant sights offered across each island, with plenty of excitement to be had as you weave between buildings or through the midst of a valley. It’s just one of those games that has plenty of stand-out moments that’ll keep VR gamers thrilled for hours on end.
Developer: Bit Planet Games
Publisher: Bit Planet Games
Platform(s): Quest 2 (Reviewed), PC VR