//42 The Skypark for MSFS - Reviewed and Tested
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(c) Screenshot by Zveig17
What is The Skypark?
It's been just a few days since The Skypark has been released on ORBX. It is still considered Early Access and comes with a proud price of US $31.95 | €26,07 | £23.62. But what does The Skypark exactly do? Well, there is a simple answer: The Skypark is a living playground within your sim. Whenever you are not sure where to fly next or what you can discover in Flight Simulator 2020 today, The Skypark probably has a solution for it. It offers you various opportunities to transport goods and cargo around the world, with you as the pilot in control. Basically, it comes with a tablet - the so called Skypad - which you can use to browse for new contracts, flights and discoveries within your sim. Once you found a contract to fly, within Skypad you can track your progress, view your current balance and also your pilot reputation. The variety of available contracts, tours, flights, Cargo Runs and more is enormous and spread all over the world. "A revolutionary platform for the enjoyment of flight simulation built on a simple concept... Less Planning, More Flying.", developer Parallel 42 would say.
Requirements and Installation
Once bought on ORBX, you can easily install The Skypark via ORBX Central. It has its own installer and will download and install 2.00 GiB of data on your drive. My installation went smooth and I was quite impressed by the simplicity and beautiful design of their installer - no doubts here, you immediately get the feeling that you're just about to install a high quality product. Once the installation is done, which should take no longer than ten minutes, The Skypark - or better: your Skypad - launches.
First impressions with Skypad
Your own Skypad runs on SkyOS and the heart of your assigned virtual equipment on The Skypark. It features several pre-installed apps for contract browsing, flight tracking, banking and tracking your progress. To get started, you will get a call from Brigit. Brigit will show you around the Skypad and introduce everything you need to know. She will show you how your Skypad works and explain the most important features. The audio quality is extremely convincing, and the synchronization is appealing. However, it is currently only available in English and without subtitles. This means that you should be able to understand English reasonably well, since the later missions also have English audio. But we are pilots, so that shouldn't be a problem, right? Here is a brief overview of your apps in Skypad.
Once the onboarding is done, you're ready for your first Training flight. The user interface is innovative and simple at the same time, thanks to the introduction, navigation is much easier right away. So we head over to Contrax to get our first contract. We can choose between missions from all over the world, so there is enough to discover. During our first flight we'll get to meet Jeff, and he will guide us through our first flight, which is about delivering some goods from A to B. Once the contract is accepted, we launch Flight Simulator and head to the departure airport as stated in Skypad and we can start.
Flight Tracking and Progress
The user interface is simpler than you can imagine, as Skypad shows us all the necessary steps in the form of a todo list. We simply have to follow these or can alternatively check them off. With the help of the yoFlight app, we can also see our current position in real time on the integrated map. We are shown the altitude, distance to the destination, expected duration and much more information. After we have successfully completed the first training flight, we get the money credited directly to our bank account. At a later stage we will need this money to pay additional operational costs. With the help of the Progress App we can also see our current XP points and our level. This increases after each completed job. The higher our level, the more exciting missions are available to us. And then there's Karma: It moves in the direction of good or bad, depending on the types of contracts we accept. At the same time, our karma rating also determines what type of contracts we can accept.
To find new routes to fly, it is enough to open the Contrax app. There we get all the possible jobs with their respective information and we can also use filters to set which jobs we want to have displayed. We can select the type of aircraft - from Piston to Wide - and also the type of job, such as Ferries, Tours, Cargo or Bush trips. With the help of Advanced Filters we can also filter by payment, distance and topographical conditions. Yes, even jobs by runway length can be filtered out. There are enough mission in every part of the world, allowing us to explore a lot of cool, new places. It's up to you whether you choose worldwide adventure or rather financial success.
Is it worth getting The Skypark?
Although it is considered to be still Early Access, I honestly would not have noticed it without knowing it - so far, no bugs, crashes or missing features I'd like to see. Presented features work as they should, and thanks to its innovative design and simple interface, it makes a good first impression. Skyparks slogan is "One World, Unlimited Adventure" - this taken as a basis, it comes pretty close to it. On the other hand, you have to be still aware that most missions are simply about transporting goods from A to B. However, the system is built extremely well in such a way that flying while performing contracts is more fun than flying some random flight from A to B by yourself. One shouldn't expect a deep simulation - basically it's just a matter of picking a job from the world map and flying it. That's all it is, with some nice to have side features.
Also, Skypark strives for "Less Planning, More Flying". All it takes is a simple push of a button to accept a job, and then it goes straight into the cockpit of your plane. But that is what I like about Skypark. I myself could never motivate myself to play Flight Simulator 2020 because I didn't know what I could do next or where I should fly to. Now, with Skypark, I get pre-designed routes and an somewhat convincing objective. I can choose from hundreds of routes to fly. The leveling system and financial system is less relevant to me personally, for me it's just about exploring the world. Skypark allows both the simple explorer who doesn't know where to fly next to explore new places in the world, but at the same time allows those who want to build a career to accumulate money and levels to get even more exciting jobs. Though, it's important to remember that we don't get a in-depth business simulation here - they clearly focus on providing an experience to explore the world. I can therefore definitely recommend Skypark for those who are looking for new adventures in their sim or for those who are looking to fulfill quests during their in-sim session. In my opinion, Skypark should have been built into Flight Simulator out of the box. The developers have done a solid job, and since this is Early Access, more improvements are to be expected.
Does it keep track of aircraft hours, engine time prop time, fuel costs, etc?
Neofly is free and it's fantastic all the missions it offers. Definitely worth it to donate and support it's continued development.
The review mentions that the UI is innovative but I don't think it says why. In what way is it innovative? I'm not really sure what this really does that free tools such as OnAir do not.
Onair is not a free tool
Neofly does this for free... Also "Less planning, more flying" Is a terrible slogan for new pilots in training. This will not produce healthy flying habits. Sim>Game
You can save the money. Take any free random flight creator and the result is the same. What do you need the money in skypark for, if you can fly any aircraft no matter how much money you have. More interesting missions? There is no difference if they tell you you are flying a druglord or the queen, because in the sim it all looks the same – and as you don’t need the money, one couldn’t care less. For me it’s a waste of money. And the tablet features? Juse a second monitor or a tablet with one of the gazillions of addons and you’re better off.
There is truth to what you say. You can achieve much of what this offers for free - absolutely. So, if the cost is a major concern as it is for frugal types, then maybe stay away from this and "bake you own". Or use NeoFly.
However, it's worth noting that it is still in Beta and I think they have plans to add quite a bit more into this over time. The in-game money is a case in point. As you say, not much you can do with it at the moment, but I suspect that will change in the future. Same with the Karma system.
However, it's really done quite nicely so far. It's a nice interface and a self-contained flight creator that, even in beta, works very well and it shows further potential. For me, a "home baked" collection of disparate free applications is not worth the hassle. And NeoFly, which is really quite good, just doesn't quite hit the mark like SkyPark does. And NeoFly DOESN'T do everything SkyPark does - they are different, though similar. Each to their own.
But, your are right, you can get close to what this delivers for free.
I subscribe to Onair (even though I hate subscribtions) and i own AH2 - so there is nothing frugal if you see a ripoff and you call it out. As of now: the program is just not worth the money. Everyone can make promises for the future, but only few ever fulfill them. There is not even a demo.
I think you are missing the point - this does not compare to OnAir or AH2 is more than a passing way. They are almost completely different things. Those are full blown aviation management add-ons. They are pretty complex and contain a lot of extra things that something like SkyPark and NeoFly don't. They fulfill a different need and fill a different niche.
Personally, I'm not interested in managing an airline or freight company - so the likes of OnAir, AH2 and FSEconomy are, in my case, definitely not worth the money. I'd find nothing more boring than organising finances and much of the other dross that those add-ons offer. But I wouldn't call them rip-offs - because they DO meet the needs of some people. Just like SkyPark and NeoFly do.
Now, when you claim that you're better off using free add-ons - I disagree. Because they won't be integrated in the way SkyPark is. Open one app, do something, open the next, copy in some data. Open the next ... no thanks, not for me. But, if it works for you, then fill yer boots. It'll be cheaper. But not necessarily better, unless 'cheap' is the defining attribute of 'better' for you.
"Those are full blown aviation management add-ons. They are pretty complex and contain a lot of extra things..."
and still Skypark wants to charge the same or more than the competition for a fraction of the functionality. The only motivation here is to take an not even Beta product and cash in on the Christmas business. If you want to support that - be their guest, but don't expect others to fall for that.
Nah man - your decision is yours to make. I'm not trying to convince you of anything. As I've been saying all along, to each their own.
What I'm trying to explain is that not everyone wants a complex management simulation add-on. Some people want something more casual. People who are time-poor, for instance. People who might just want to sit down at the simulator for a while and do a flight or two in something they feel like flying at the time to some place they want to go, or some place they've never been, without all the other stuff that needs to be attended to in things like OnAir.
You seem to think something like that is worthless. But you are wrong. Lots of people love it for exactly what I'm describing. So, to each their own. But inferring people who like it are somehow being scammed is just wrong - no matter how you cut it.
For $30 USD? Nice try. While this software looks promising, it's not worth the price considering other options such as FSEconomy, OnAir, etc. Offer something truly unique and in-depth that similar programs are not offering, and this software will be a must-have. Right now, it's an overpriced piece of software in an already crowded market.
io preferisco spenderne 26 e non x money per un onair che si paga al mese e cmq sky park lo aspettavo da quando avevo p3d spero mettano la lingua in italiano o quantomeno i sottotitoli
How much does this differ from Neofetch? I mean not in UI but in functionality. Does it warrant shelling out 30$ USD in comparison to the great free Neofetch?
I have it (and NeoFly) so I'll answer.
In short, very similar. Most things are done a little better in SkyPark, but there are just a few things that are actually better in NeoFly (thinking load-in/load-out sound effects here).
I am quite enjoying SkyPark though, for some reason, I never really 'connected with' NeoFly. I think, overall, the interface and the potential that's still not really utilised much so far in SkyPark (the Karma system, for instance) is just a little more immersive.
Perhaps the biggest difference, for me, is the lack of needing to earn money to progress and buy aircraft. In SkyPark you can pretty much fly what you want, where you want, when you want. This is perhaps the thing I like most about it.
I personally don't have enough time to sink into something like this to build a career just so that I can fly a heavy between continents. You can do that straight after the introductory flight in SkyPark if you want. Any aircraft in your hanger can be used for any job you want (though, obviously, different jobs suit different aircraft and there are recommended aircraft types shown for each job). Weirdly, for me, sandbox mode in NeoFly seems like a cheat, whereas here, it feels completely right.
The job filtering is good, so you can easily find just the type of job you feel like flying too, so you can jump in and fly a quick GA job using only dirt strips if that's what you feel like at the time.
The real answer to your question is impossible though. It's such a value judgement to say if it's worth $30 over the free offering. For me, I'd say yes.
Thanks. That was helpful!
What's the difference with OnAir and FSEconomy. This I would have liked to know.
good point. Forgot about that. Thanks!
Much more casual. It's not a management simulation - it's focused purely on flying. Much more like NeoFly than either of those offerings.
It’s just a random flight creator. It’s not even remotely in the same league as AH2 or Onair. Not even close to Neofly. Just give your money to an orphanage instead.
Giving your money to an orphanage is a solid recommendation that's impossible to argue against.
I would, however, disagree that it's "not even close to NeoFly". In fact, it's better than NeoFly in many ways. It really depends on what you are looking for.
There is more career progression in NeoFly and that can be a drag. In SkyPark you are already a capable pilot. So there's no need to go through the ranks - you're a pilot for hire that is already qualified to fly whatever is required. I like that. I don't want to slog through hundreds of mission, building my career and saving money to buy aircraft and repair them, just to get to the point where I can fly across an ocean! In SkyPark, that's not necessary. You can fly what you want, where you want, when you want. None of the slog, just jump in and fly - just like I want when I sit at the simulator.
For me, SkyPark is much better than AH2, OnAir and FSEconomy. They are just too much like work - not what I'm looking for when I sit down at a flight simulator. Beats me who gets a thrill from management sims like those ... but ... many do. Like I said, it really depends on what you are looking for.
Sorry: but this is NOT a review. There is no indication that someone has actually used the app for a reasonable amount of time. There is no real criticism or good vs. bad. It's basically a description of the advertised features, peppered with the developer's slogans, combined with an endorsement and a purchase link.
This is advertisement - pure and simple.
I agree with you 100%!!
This software is completely superfluous at this stage of development!
The price for the service offered is excessive.
If you already advertise unconditionally, mark it as such.
Otherwise you lose your credibility.
Just to be clear: I do NOT judge the product or price in any way! I cannot and will not comment on that since I do not own it. The product may be perfectly alright.
I am only stating that the written article above is advertisement only and cannot be considered a review of the product. And I resent that fact because a review was what I looking for in order to make an informed decision whether to buy it or not.
This article shines a bad light on this website and on the value of an honest review!!
I own it and have been using since it came out, and no its not worth they charging... at this stage its a pointless addon.