3 Reviews

After Burner Climax iOS review: Beautiful but broken wings

Sega's classic lacks the precision of a true ace

Obvious joke alert! Given that After Burner holds such a cherished place in our childhood memories, this pretty but slightly wonky iPad conversion is something of a disappointment. You could say it's an After Burner anti-Climax... Yeah? YEAH? Or you could just say it's a poor fit for iOS.

Just winging it

Weak jokes aside, we're genuinely disappointed by this latest version of Sega's classic arcade flight-fighter. While the game looks great on iPad, its colourful stages lighting up the screen as you weave through a seemingly endless salvo of missiles and bullets; all that on-screen chaos comes at a price - control.

You barely ever seem to be truly in control of the action, be that because the touch-screen simply isn't responsive enough to accommodate twitchy flicks from left to right as your fighter of choice dodges death by a thousand rockets, or because auto-aim is simply too generous.

Shooting down enemies with missiles is as simple as tapping the screen, while - conversely - using the machine-gun on your jet to shoot anything down is like performing delicate keyhole surgery on someone who flails in their sleep.

There are several different modes, which are just variations on the same core gameplay. There's nothing to rival the party modes of other Sega classics like Monkey Ball or Outrun - but then again, After Burner has always been more serious about its fun.

This is essentially a semi-interactive thrill-ride. You've even got infinite continues, which further takes the sting out of all the mid-air peril. So, would we recommend picking it up? Depends what kind of experience you're looking for. If you want something intense, explosive, but not too challenging then this is £2 well spent.

However, if you're craving a shoot-'em-up with more precision or a more fulfilling nostalgia trip, After Burner Climax is much tougher to recommend.

The verdict

Looks handsome like Top Gun-era Cruise, but After Burner's fast-paced dog-fighting doesn't really work with iPad's touch-screen

  • Looks great, and there's always loads on screen
  • Plenty of bits and pieces to unlock
  • Controls are awkward on the touch-screen...
  • ...which leads to over-simplification
Apple iPad
Action, Shoot 'em Up, Flight Sim