iPhone Life magazine

Top Gun 2 Review

Top Gun 2 sports slick graphic upgrades and loses the "Danger Zone" warning grid of the original game. The guitar riffs in the background tune (from the original soundtrack), are shredded bliss for a shoot-em-up game like this. I just let it loop for awhile just to soak in the 80's nostalgia! The in-game music was not as good as the original, but still contains enough varied and flavorful high-octane guitar shredding to suit my taste. The flight physics are still not really much different than the first game (you just tilt the plane around the screen avoiding gunfire and missiles coming at you). The planes (multiple models in this version) have better arms, and countermeasures. The action is up a notch, and the missions seem harder (or at least more stuff is certainly flying at you). The boss stages are a hoot.

Never seen a helicopter fly backwards in front of a jet fighter, but it can and does happen in Top Gun 2-land. My 2G touch made getting good screens hard in this game, and did exhibit some freezes and jerkiness. With all the stuff the GPU was handling at the time, it's no wonder. The whole screen shakes and jitters when you are taking fire, and planes fly past you, directly at you, and seem to come from everywhere at times. The enemies even execute the "Maverick pull up the nose fly-by" move from below, usually before loosing a missile in your teeth!

It's a lot of fun, but I was hoping for more pure aerial gameplay. TG2 (like TG) is still kind of an arcade shooter (but in 3-D). The game is a huge 215MB in size, and requires iOS version 4 (iPhone/iPod). So far, it's only pulling 2 1/2 stars in iTunes, but I think that's because of some control glitches with the app, which I did experience at least once (plane went up to the top of the screen and stayed there), but a recalibrate fixed it in my case.

The new jet choices all have a mix of arms types, which make it a bit more interesting. Being ex-Air Force myself, I was partial to the F-16--being the only model to sport an energy shield (bet the real AF would love to have that feature). The other jets also feature some super weapon, and advanced form of countermeasure.

The first mission has you heading out to take out a high-powered hydrofoil that can fly as fast as an F-16... Pretty kooky stuff, but still works for a quick mindless destruction fix. In the second mission, the boss comes back sporting a beach umbrella...haha, love it!

In one of the missions (the one with the backward flying helicopters), Iceman comes into the plot (his aircraft is shot down), but really the game is lacking the campy chatter and wingman-like camaraderie that was included in the first title. The curt mission brief's are handed down from the commander and off you go to kill or avoid enemies.

Because my touch would not respond enough to get good shots, this review is going to be a shorter one. The newer control functions include 4 different stations on each side of the screen. Guns and Missiles on the botttom, and the super weapon (e.g. metal storm) and defensive item (sheild, AB, etc.) on the top. The tilt control moves the plane similarly around the display as in the first title) in a simulacrum of flight. I could not get the plane to pull a barrel roll, which I could do in the original. The HUD also indicates your plane's health status indicated by an icon that changes to red as you take on more damage (above the countermeasures on the right). The overall 3-D effects, and game action is much better in TG2, and you can even purchase the in-game music.

If you liked TG, but you are looking for a bit more interesting gameplay, I'm not sure TG2 is worth it as a sequel. I like the games (both of them), but I thought maybe 2 would include more realistic flight aspects (terrain avoidance, takeoff and landing scenarios, for example). If you didn't spend money on TG, then I would recommend skipping it (it is still available), and going straight to TG2. The game is well-done despite some of my minor gripes, and is almost worth it for just the classic soundtrack. Get it at the link below...

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Nate Adcock's picture

Nate Adcock is a system and integration engineer with experience managing and administering a variety of computing environments. He has worked extensively with mobile gadgets of all shapes and sizes for many years. He is also a former military weather forecaster. Nate is a regular contributor for the iphonelife.com and smartphonemag.com blogs and helps manage both websites. Read more from Nate at natestera.drupalgardens.com or e-mail him at nate@iphonelife.com.