OutRun, Space Harrier, Virtua Fighter - are all well known arcade titles from SEGA. Another title to add to the never-ending list is After Burner, the classic flight combat title that is always great for a blast or two whenever you visit an arcade. After Burner Climax is the lastest version of the franchise, and has been out for a while in the arcades (7 years to be exact). It was also ported to home consoles a few years ago and received a welcome reception. Now it's arrived on iOS devices, let's see how well it fares.
To to honest, I never expected that it would be possible on any tablet device (apart from maybe the Vita), due to the graphical and technical nature of its arcade counterpart, but it is, and it's an impressive accomplishment. First of, the graphics are amazing, detailed and smooth, the scenery flies past you as you hit the 'afterburners' and ready for action. The explosions and flying debris from enemy fighter planes light up the skies as you attempt to weave and evade your way through the heat-seaking missiles and endless dog fire. Sound effects are spot on with explosions and plane-chatter such as warning alerts etc.
Now onto the controls and the way it feels. As the standard of most controls for games these days on touch devices, you control the movements of your plane via a directional-pad on the left and the missiles and gun fire buttons are located on the right of the screen. At first, it can take a while to get the feel of it, you may find yourself flying all over the place, especially if you are used to the controls of flight sims where push up to go down and vice-versa, thankfully you can invert these flight settings in the options screen.
Once all set, the game feels fine and plays smoothly. The only gripe I have with the controls is that sometimes when trying to pull off a 'barrel-roll' it's not always successful. I guess, after sometime with more practice, it shouldn't be much of an issue. If you have access to a bigger screen device such as an iPad, I would recommend playing it on that as with most games, a bigger screen means easier movements. If not, well it's still good albeit not as arcadey experience you'd get from this type of game. ABC supports HDMI out and really shines on the big screen.
Why has this title got the word 'Climax' you may wonder, well wonder no more as when you build enough points and kills via combos, the Climax meter will built up, once maxed, you can unleash Climax mode on enemies. Climax mode will temporarily slow the action down, giving you a short amount of time to target your enemies as fast and as much as you can to attain multiple combos and higher scores.
Overall then, ABC is a great arcade addition to Apple's vast amount of games. With Arcade and Score Attack modes, the title will keep you busy for a while. As you progress, you unlock extras such as more lives and items to further extend the game's playability. As for value-wise, only a few bucks, it's an arcade in your pocket, what more can you ask for? :)
+ Great port of the arcade with awesome graphics
+ Fast and intense atmosphere
+ Arcade and Score Attack modes
+ Leaderboards and achievements
- Controls takes a while to get used to