Sega has done a good job as of late porting their classic arcade titles to iOS, and After Burner Climax is the latest. It’s a 3D aerial combat game similar to Sky Gamblers: Air Supremacy, MetalStorm, F.A.S.T., H.A.W.K., Top Gun, and more. The main difference with After Burner Climax is that it has arcade roots which mean over the top fast paced action, while the ones mentioned above focus on a more realistic or multiplayer approach.
Sega’s iOS version is essentially the classic arcade game with updated visuals to look great on retina screens. There are two game modes with arcade or score attack, and both have you flying through 20 stages of a forking set-up. The levels branch off from time to time, and there are 20 different skyscapes to battle on with some great design. You don’t get much time to look at the surroundings though, because the game features intense speed throughout. You’re truly whizzing by while trying to aim, and fire on enemies while avoiding their missiles at the same time.
Every single stage delivers a few minutes of just thoroughly intense action with so much happening on screen that there are even some slow downs on the latest iOS devices. You do have a Climax meter to engage which slows down time for a few seconds to blast everything in sight out of the sky. The stages also feature some unique challenges with targets to go after, canyons to fly through, and even underground corridors to battle in. Every single stretch of every stage has at least three enemies to target, and usually there’s much more with up to ten enemy planes on screen at once.
The entire game feels quite like a button masher as you need to just keep using missiles as everything moves too fast for the base gun. There are a few control options to manage the mayhem, though the tilt controls are really finely tuned. All of it combines for an action packed arcade experience that puts the pedal to the metal, and never eases up. In fact, it can be quite overwhelming, and feels like a bit of a crap shoot at times as compared to the more strategy oriented aerial combat games in the App Store.
After Burner Climax ($2.99, Universal) delivers intense aerial action with tons of planes to battle at once, all at great speeds. The game is worth the price of admission for some classic fun, which feels right at home on iOS.