Medal of Gunner: Flying Less Than Friendly Skies

Pictosoft’s Medal of Gunner (MOG) combines elements of flight simulation and first-person shooter mechanics to deliver high energy World War II-era dogfights to your screen. 

You start out as a no-stripe soldier, training as a gunner, and work your way up the ranks through combat experience.  Each level is a rank, composed of 6 stages, and each stage is represented by a medal.  Each mission begins with a terse few lines that serve as your briefing—the number of enemy fighters anticipated, which gunner position you’ll start from, whether you can switch positions during the battle, and so forth.  Then it’s time for action.  As fighters come within range, their location is announced using the terminology of the time—12 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and so on.  The player brings the enemy fighter within sights and, ideally, blows him back to kingdom come.

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The control system is beautifully designed to enhance the authenticity of the game’s period themes and up the adrenaline rush.  On the left side of the screen, an icon indicates the turret position the player currently holds. Tapping that icon brings up a map of all of the turret positions on the plane (there are eight) and tapping the position on the map moves the player to that position.  On the right side of the screen, the amount of ammo you have remaining is displayed along with a “tab” icon—when your gun is jammed (helpfully announced in the same area) tapping it clears the chamber so you can keep up the good work.  To adjust your sights, you utilize the tilt controls in the logical intuitive manner.

While Medal of Gunner does describe itself as a flight sim/FPS fusion, there’s a lot more FPS here than flight sim, technically speaking.  The tilt controls and animated on-screen indicators of position (your o’clocks, as it were) create the feeling of a flight sim, but this is a B-17 Flying Fortress you’re defending.  The gunner isn’t the pilot, and the plane is proceeding along its course completely independent of your actions. Unless it gets shot down, naturally.  Which is all well and good.  The Flying Fortress is an iconic symbol of American air power for a reason—it’s freaking awesome—and the job of defending it from bad guy bastards is even better. And Medal of Gunner is fully stocked with delightful little details to further enhance the awesomeness.  Gunner journal entries that come up between stages, lucky pin-up girls you can decorate your windscreen with (that actually improve your stats), bonus items that follow the WWII theme that appear when you shoot down certain fighters are all nice touches.  But the best part is the rewarding inset video of the enemy going down, down, down when you incapacitate one completely. 

And it’s not just that crisp little victorious vid that looks good.  Medal of Gunner looks good all around, with slick 3D animation, realistic representations of the planes, and a convincing high-altitude battleground (battlesky? Whatever…).  Radio chatter, gunfire, and roaring engines provide a perfect audio backdrop for the sky-high carnage.

$.99 gives you the entrance fee for all the fighter plane fun you can handle.  Medal of Gunner (iTunes Link) is compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad, and it’s available right now in the iTunes App Store.

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