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After Burner Climax review

So that was the Climax, now where is the rest of it?

After Burner Climax is an arcade shooter, and it never sets out to be anything else. This is both refreshing, and highly disappointing. Most arcade games have evolved to include new modes, or some addictive upgrade system. In After Burner Climax we only get one arcade, and one score attack mode. Knowing how for example Namco evolved Pac-Man in Pac-Man CE this feels like a missed opportunity for Sega.

The game is also quite short with just a few branching paths on the way. These differ quite a bit though giving some variation to the action. Still it feels like the Climax has been reached without the foreplay. Heck there hasn’t been the mandatory three dates.

The action is at times intense, but given the short levels and long loading times I am constantly taken out of the moment. Furthermore I think the entire premise is weird at times. I pass a wave of planes coming towards me, kill half of them and then I fly off to the next level moments later. Why can’t I go after them? Why don’t they follow me? I know it is an arcade game and all, but please let me feel like I am badass. I don’t just want to feel like I am a recruit flying on rails.

The controls are responsive, and work well. There are three different setups, and personally I always go for the touch only controls. You only control sideways, and up/down in a set window. You can’t turn, or loop to get behind or outmanoeuvre the enemies.

Options are unlocked to get auto-fire, and other helpful assists. These are the only unlocks I have found. No planes, or weapon mods to be seen. Sure this is an arcade game, but we have come to expect more.

The presentation is at it’s best when there is a lot of stuff happening on the screen. At those times the jaggies can’t be seen. While flying to the next stage however my plane looks quite appalling. When zooming through exploding planes with smoke, and rockets all over the screen the game dazzles me. The music is old-school arcade rock anthems, and you can choose to use the soundtrack from After Burner II as well. Cool, and suitable to the action at hand.

After Burner Climax is a short intense arcade shooter that suffers from a lot of technical limitations and pacing issues. Loading times, no save system to resume current game and jagged graphics at less intense moments are letting the game down. I would have liked to get to know After Burner a bit better, and at least had some time to get to know each other before reaching the Climax.

Final Rating

passable

After Burner Climax $2.99 Universal for iPad/iPhone/iPod

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