Become an emergency pilot and test your skills to their limits, as you sit in the cockpit of an emergency helicopter, across more than 40 challenging missions.
User reviews:
Overall:
Mostly Negative (243 reviews) - 29% of the 243 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: Feb 28, 2014

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Buy Helicopter Simulator 2014: Search and Rescue

 

About This Game

Become an emergency pilot and test your skills to their limits, as you sit in the cockpit of an emergency helicopter, across more than 40 challenging missions. Choose from 8 models of 'copter, each varying in size, ability and specs.

Fighting forest fires, communication failures, and conducting perilous search and rescue missions are just the start... you'll face many more natural disasters throughout your missions.

2014 edition comes with brand new Sightseeing Mode Challenge, that will allow pilots to explore each island in search of beautiful, but sometimes hard to reach spots with ultra-light helicopter. And if that's not enough there are lots of achievements to unlock. Game engine was also upgraded with newer shader effects to achieve even more stunning visual quality.

Game features:
- 10 different helicopters
- 45 various missions
- over 400km2 of terrain
- changing weather conditions
- well-balanced flight controls
- fully configurable controller support
- sightseeing mode in free play
- Steam achievements

System Requirements

    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP/Vista/7/8
    • Processor: Core 2 Duo 1.8GHz or AMD equivalent
    • Memory: 2048 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024 MB GeForce 9600GT or Radeon equivalent with OpenGL support
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 2700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL compatible
    • Additional Notes: Laptop versions of graphics cards may work but are NOT officially supported.
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows XP SP3 / Vista / 7 / 8
    • Processor: Core i5 or AMD equivalent
    • Memory: 4096 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 1024 MB GeForce GTS 450 or Radeon equivalent with OpenGL support
    • DirectX: Version 9.0c
    • Storage: 2700 MB available space
    • Sound Card: OpenAL compatible
    • Additional Notes: Laptop versions of graphics cards may work but are NOT officially supported.
Customer reviews
Customer Review system updated Sept. 2016! Learn more
Overall:
Mostly Negative (243 reviews)
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116 reviews match the filters above ( Mostly Negative)
Most Helpful Reviews  In the past 30 days
2 of 3 people (67%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Recommended
50.0 hrs on record
Posted: September 11
Update 2 - Sep 30, 2016
More on physics - There's strong wind effect during stormy weather which makes landing hazardous. Heavier chopper mitigates it but reduces room to manoeuver.

Difficulty - Hard when landing spots are located in tight spaces although plenty of space is available nearby. Easy when trees aren't solid.

Update 2 - Sep 19, 2016 - editing and some additional info

TL;DR
IMO this game is awesome! BUT mission design shows lack of careful planning. Maps have interesting landmarks worthy of some sighseeing trips.

Update 1 - Sep 14, 2016

Mouse control:
Mouse works in 2 modes but it doesn't turn like an FPS shooter; left/right banks and up/down pitches the copter. Turning left or right requires pressing left or right button and the response is identical to pressing the keys A or D; they both seem to rely on repeat rate.

Graphics
Performance drops in the vicinity of buildings and/or when weather effects are on. This is normal, no cause for disappointment here. Turning off some options or lowering them improves frame rate; 60 fps is achievable except during heavy rain but that may be due to my rig running on potato chips.

Search light has no blend or dispersion, it has hard edge.

Glitches
1) When returning the water bucket to it's original location, if it wasn't dropped from the correct height it stays put in mid-air.
2) Western Europe map, mission 4. Stuck truck doesn't appear 2b lifted but mission can still be completed.
3) Exiting chopper too soon b4 mission is declared successful prevents completion of mission.
https://youtu.be/VrxMEOyAfbE

Gameplay
There is no campaign or career mode hence no economic aspect of simulation like costs of purchase, repair, fuel or salaries. No worries about resources needed for operations. Incidentally fuel is either unlimited or a non-issue and no mission is time limited which means great stress free flying experience. You only need to master flying the different types of choppers and skillful handling of tasks. By now you might realize that proficiency at different tasks is directly proportional to flying skills and requires fine control. Auto hover is very helpful in this regard but there are achievements which can only be attained by non-reliance on auto hover.

The same mission may take place at different time and weather conditions. Time and weather conditions change from mission to mission presumably calculated based on time taken per mission and free-flight mode. There is a manual override feature where you can set your preferred conditions however certain missions may have preset conditions.

Physics
Differences in helicopters' handling and engine sound are noticeable. Heavier choppers handle predictably like a fat cow if cows can fly that is. Physics has 2 modes; accelerated collective means double tap of ascend or descend keys causes max rate of climb or descend respectively. Non-accelerated means more gradual and natural elevation changes.

Flight control is understandably difficult for many people because auto-centering / levelling is too slow except when auto-hover is used but auto-hover degrades flying into a stop and go motion unless the keyboard is repeatedly and rapidly pressed. Perhaps using a mouse or other controller could smoothen movement.


Music and sound
OMG music is grating and annoying; frequent use of brass crescendos give the impression of flying in a warzone. There are several tracks but all sound samey. Fortunately music level can be turned down to zero.

The seemingly random radio chatter though is quite interesting. It seems to be aware of what you're doing or seeing and respond accordingly or it may just be coincidental i'm not sure which. Perhaps it's just a collection of com chatter / phrases played at random. Additional feature like some direct communications with Control Tower would be awesome but i don't think it's essential since this game is about tasks rather procedures. The inclusion of com chatter add to the atmosphere of piloting.

All in all, i'm still pleased with this game as it provides a wide selection of helicopters to fly and a variety of tasks requiring various degrees of precision and technique to perform. Still recommended, especially for SimCopter fans.

First basic review below

Bought this in a PlayWay Sim Bundle when it was on sale. Great deal, every other game in the bundle works but this, won't even run. It CTD as soon as it's launched. So i shelved it and hoped to play it later after i could upgrade to a new desktop PC. The game's system requirement give no assurance that it would work on laptop GPU. Needless to say i was a little disappointed but i already got my money's worth due to the bundle discount.

That was some time ago. Today i had the inexplicable feeling of being lucky so i installed it again and voila! it worked! Frankly i'm not sure what gives, i tried every trick or tweak i know prior to this and it didn't work. My best guess is that it may have something to do with either the fact that it's installed to C drive or that i had to manually assign High Performance mode to AMD Catalyst app or both but i'm sure i did that before and it didn't work.

Anyway the game runs smooth at 1280x720 in high detail with AA at medium, Anisotropic Filtering On, Bloom On, view range set to high, shadows quality medium, Depth Blur On and Motion Blur On. Those are the settings set as default on first run. It's playable and there's no noticeable lag considering that the game recorder was also running and recording the game as it is played. One thing that might be different this time was that it was running at 720p windowed mode on my external monitor. I remember now that not all games can run at 720p on my laptop native resolution of 1366 x 768.

Options available in menus:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdkkaGmuxMs

So take note of 3 important points if you're using a laptop with AMD Radeon GPU:

  1. Install on C drive
  2. Set AMD Catalyst driver app to use High Performance mode. This may need to be done manually if the game crashes immediately.
  3. Try diverting display output to external monitor which supports 720p.

Now that we've got some technicalities out of the way, lets move on to a basic review as i've not played much of this game as of yet.

  1. Graphics quality - i haven't scrutinized the trees or the NPCs closely as these serve decorative rather than functional elements but looking at the scenery from any of the helicopter views, the scenery looks good. The Depth of Field blur effect and AA works really well. There is no noticeable sawtooth lines in slanted menu boxes, helicopter models or cockpit frames. The distant blur effect is well blended and the draw distance is sufficiently far enough to prevent objects from popping-up at the last seconds.
  2. Can't comment on the authenticity of rotor sounds due to my lack of familiarity with helicopters. However the sounds seem to be positionally correct. Cockpit sounds are muffled compared to external sounds so that adds to the sense of immersion.
  3. Flight control with keyboard is well done. With mouse you probably need to lower sensitivity level a notch or two.
  4. Mission requirements are a bit exacting, it appears that positioning the helicopter for drop-off or pick-up have very small activation areas.

Mission 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOvUr4M8cUc

I haven't seen any bugs, glitches or crashes yet but maybe it's too early to tell, will update if there are any changes. From what i've seen and experienced so far, i like this game. And the fact that SAR games are rather rare, i'm glad i have this on my repertoire of games to play.

One last note: There is weather effects based on what i've seen on YT.

Score as of today: 6/10
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
413 of 478 people (86%) found this review helpful
11 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.6 hrs on record
Posted: February 28, 2014
First Look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jo0QSSho8Po
Ignore the "Helicopter Simulator" section of the game name, as it's not really a proper simulator of helicopter flying. I saw people asking in the discussions about things like trackIR, pedals and joysticks. This really isn't that sort of game so definitely don't buy it if that's what you're looking for. This is a search and rescue game that basically gives you a helicopter with basic controls (which are okay to handle but I found it a bit difficult on the landing) and gives you a number of missions where you must go and save people in various conditions.

The gameplay is very basic, and really feels quite dated. In the first mission I played it had strange requirements that made no sense. Why do I have to be at a certain height for a man to go down a rope to pick someone up? It's like artificial difficulty because the game would otherwise be rather mundane. Sadly it had the opposite effect as it just made it needlessly annoying.

The draw distance for detail on the ground is very poor so you have to be pretty much crashing into the trees below to see them appear at the same detail you'd have when you were on the helipad. The models are simple and textures are relatively low quality. The cockpit view was a definite disappointment. It didn't run all that well either, and didn't feel at all optimized. The loading screens were also abnormally long.

In comparison to the detailed and thoughtful "Car Mechanic Simulator" title they released recently, this is a huge drop in quality. I'm not saying you should steer well clear of this game, but I wouldn't recommend it either.
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135 of 178 people (76%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.3 hrs on record
Posted: February 28, 2014
The flying in this game is completely absurd, the physics are horrible, and even at max settings the graphics are sub-par. A better use for the ten bucks I spent on this game would have gone to buying a second copy of Arma II, a game which I believe very nearly nailed flight physics.

THIS game, however, took everything that 5 year old game had, and threw it out the window. I bought this game expecting to be able to fly, not flounder in the air in a physics-defying "helicopter simulator"
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119 of 156 people (76%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 1, 2014
Doesn't work with logitech joystick..
Completely unplayable with keyboard..

I've been in contact with support and they won't help me.. They just keep saying "But it should work".. Well, it doesn't!?

>>>DO NOT BUY<<<
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
89 of 111 people (80%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
1.2 hrs on record
Posted: March 2, 2014
An incredibly poor game. One can only wonder where Simulator word in title comes from, probably from MFS sounds like "Pull up". The quality of the game is incredibly low, barely any animations, no physics to speak of. Helicopter feels like a rubber ball that can bounce off the ground. Cocpit is a static texture, only horizon works. Save your money and don't buy this game, it's incredibly booring and bad. All misisons come down to "Fly there, pick this up, transport it here", not to mention that there are no weather effects at all. The only sounds in this game are one and same soundtrack, 60-seconds loop 'radio chatter' and engine sound that is same for all helicopter models. People you need to pick up can't walk few meters to the helicopter and only way to trigger 'boarding' or 'unloading' script is to shut down your engines. Most of 'disasters' in this game are hilarious! First mission requires you to rescue people from a crashed airplane... That lies 800 meters away from the hospital... I suppose it was easier to cal for a rescue helicopter than, say, drive an ambulnce across flat green field... Or mission to rescue people from an oil platform after a ship crashed into it. Ship is a tiny boat, there is no damage, no fire, people just stand on the landing pad, looking bored, and wave their hands either greeting you or begging you to look at them... Anyway, this game isn't worth your time or money.
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67 of 88 people (76%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: March 2, 2014
This game is quite honestly not worth the money... this is NOT a simulation game... not even remotely!!!
Helicopter is nearly impossible to fly and controls don't make any sense.
My worst buy ever!!
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47 of 58 people (81%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
0.7 hrs on record
Posted: September 18, 2014
Game wont load past start up screen and there is no help from developers to try and get it working or refunding my money.

So wouldnt advise anyone else to waste their money.
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30 of 44 people (68%) found this review helpful
3 people found this review funny
Recommended
6.2 hrs on record
Posted: April 27, 2015
(Sim experts can skip this review. This is more for the people who are unsure if they should invest time and money into flight sims or not.)

This game has received a lot of flak in the reviews and some of it it really do deserve. However at this time there are only two helicopter sims on steam - not counting plane flight sims - that have helicopters so you are not exactly having too much to choose from.

So why the positive review? This game is at this time the best entry level heli sim on Steam. Better than a certain other more known game. Yes i know THAT game has got tutorials too but it is not so good for newbies. This game does not waste too much time on tutorials and you get into action fairly quickly and get a semi-realistic engine to play with. For a newbie that is enough. Pointless to discuss 'realism' if the potential crowd is not even sure they want to be here in the first place. I am still doing training on that other game after 2hours and that is critical if you are not entirely sure you like the genre.

Turns out i like this but i did not know it until i played this game.

I am currently in the process of getting myself a HOTAS setup so i guess this means i want moar of this stuff and will move on also to plane flight sims. Now a little while ago i was overwhelmed by the stuff in certain other sims and i was not getting anywhere. Then along came this little game with training wheels on.

Game does not carry you very far as the missions get really annoying but you do have some fun for awhile and the free flight mode helps. Therefore i say there IS a place for this game on Steam. Just know what you are buying. Advanced players will not get anything from this.

7/10

edit: Played the game with a simple Logitech 3D pro joystick.
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24 of 34 people (71%) found this review helpful
4 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: May 26, 2014
Crashes in the first mission :D
Was this review helpful? Yes No Funny
41 of 66 people (62%) found this review helpful
1 person found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.4 hrs on record
Posted: July 26, 2014
No, just no. Another one of these damn horrible "simulators".
I paid 1€ for it, no way I would pay more than that for it.
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Recently Posted
[S.T.M.I] - reddof
0.3 hrs
Posted: September 11
I tried to played this game, but I didn't like. I got this game from bundle.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
kapiroko
2.7 hrs
Posted: July 4
Is not that bad on sale
Helpful? Yes No Funny
jisjames007
9.1 hrs
Posted: June 16
Great game but sucks that if you fail you have start all over...it would be great if there was checkpoints to save the game and play
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Dr.Gutt'O
10.8 hrs
Posted: May 28
I bought this game as my son loves helicopters and it is absolutely not violent for him at his age.
We have finished 5 missions so far and I came up with the followings:
The graphics might be outdated, but living in the retro/indie era it is not that relevant I think. The feeling that the game gave so far as I can fly these coffee-mills is more important for me.
The only annoying thing for me is the music, as it didn't match the picture I get when I was flying over the woods or the coastline, so I switched it off completely. The last thing a pilot needs is a nerve shocking tune while performing fine aerial maneuvre.
Controls are almost like controlling an RC helicopter, takes some time to practice, and then you can even hover in a brain surgeon to perform a lobotomy through the ♥♥♥♥♥♥... on a space slug.
As it is not an arcade style copter game - when you push forward, the heli goes forward - I can understand why people are freaked out on this, but still there is the "simulator" word that has to be interpreted well. And seriously, people, crash a couple RCs before bashing the controls of this game. ;)
I love the office-menu concept, it also gives some extra to the feelings, also that you can choose a variety of helis, and not have to wait for some XP based unlock to happen; you get to choose those which are fitting for the mission.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
Protilus
0.1 hrs
Posted: May 8
cant get it to work on a ATI card
Helpful? Yes No Funny
bobyourteapot
0.5 hrs
Posted: May 1
Dont get this game it is hard to conttrol and has bad graphics.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
inbry
1.0 hrs
Posted: April 29
Great idea, so poorly executed.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
julbar
23.1 hrs
Posted: April 15
unfortunatly a piece of crap it is impossable to fly a helcopter sim with keyboard, you need the proportional control a joystick gives. This dosn't support joysticks and according to what I can find on the net this Version from steam should be
V 2.4 which is surpose to have over come these problems. I have gone to the site recommended by steam useless to say the less sorry guys but this is a dud.
Helpful? Yes No Funny
flash1x
2.0 hrs
Posted: March 26
I have played differant version of search and recure in the past. As both a fight sim enthusist as well as someone who has flown helicopcters in the past (both sim and real) I have been impressed with search and resuce series. however I can can firmly state that this is one of the worst helicopter sims that I have played. The joystick support is beyond reduculious. For example to use the collective (or thrust if in the chinook) you can only be in one small quadrant of the full up position, yet that still does not stop the collective from just dropping you into full down. Also no aerodynamic principals are considered. there is a large airfoil in the rear called a verticle fin this is designed for stability during forward flight allowing your helicopter to fly straight and effectivly reducing the ability of the yaw pedels to effect flight. Again this is not the case in this game. cyclic controls bank and direction only pedels control yaw only. perhaps this game is best suited for the mouse and keyboard however it is not very good and simulating real flight.
Helpful? Yes No Funny