Explore a beautiful island by seaplane in the lovely (and free) Skye

Like me, you might be sitting around waiting for a couple of big flying games to come out. I'm thinking specifically about Star Wars: Squadrons and Microsoft Flight Simulator. How dare they not both be out yet! Don't they know I want to pilot stuff around?

I the meantime, at least, you can scratch that piloting itch immediately and without spending a dime.

Skye is a flying game and it's completely free on Steam. Piloting a colorful little seaplane, you'll soar and swoop around a picturesque island. The art style is lovely: it's basically like flying around inside an oil painting.

This isn't a complex flight sim: the controls are simple and getting your plane off the water and into the air is a snap. Most of Skye is about casual exploration, zooming serenely over cliffs and beaches and cozy little towns, watching boats chug around the oceans and other planes passing through the air, and just chilling. Nice.

But there are quests and other activities to partake in, too. There's a hub, a little town on the coast nestled next to a lighthouse, and if you want to pick up some quests, that's the place to start. Someone might need help collecting plane parts from around the island, or a ship captain might want an escort, or a fisherman might ask you to airdrop some deliveries to the island's little towns.

You can also collect spyglasses while exploring—swoop down and fly your plane through them—and you'll find them all over, some hidden under rock archways and at the edges of cliffs, making you do a little stunt flying to collect them.

It's a soothing and relaxing game. Maybe even a little too soothing? I honestly found the gentle piano soundtrack almost aggressively serene so I turned the volume way down. 

Plus, your little seaplane has a mounted gun, lest you think this was purely an exercise in peaceful soaring. There are little targets hidden around the island you can shoot, and a few missions where someone will send you out hunting for more.

Skye is very pretty, and a nice relaxing way to spend an hour or two. And, again, it's completely free on Steam, so you literally have nothing to lose by taking it for a spin.

Christopher Livingston
Staff Writer

Chris started playing PC games in the 1980s, started writing about them in the early 2000s, and (finally) started getting paid to write about them in the late 2000s. Following a few years as a regular freelancer, PC Gamer hired him in 2014, probably so he'd stop emailing them asking for more work. Chris has a love-hate relationship with survival games and an unhealthy fascination with the inner lives of NPCs. He's also a fan of offbeat simulation games, mods, and ignoring storylines in RPGs so he can make up his own.