Top Gun Review: Loving the Danger Zone

It seems a bit strange that we’re seeing a new Top Gun movie based game, decades after the movie’s original release. Could it be that publishers have run out of movies to license? Of course not, but thankfully for you and me, we’re left with a flying shooter that turns out to be a lot of fun.

Top Gun pits you in an on-rails jet fighter shooter.  As the pilot of a jet, you control the movement of the plane around the screen by tilting the iDevice.  Shooting is done by touching the screen to either fire missiles or plain bullets.  The full area of the screen is divided into an invisible grid of nine equally sized spaces.  A warning will pop up in one or more of those areas when a missile is approaching, and then you’ll have a second to get out of that space.  It gets challenging when 8 out of the 9 areas are danger zones, or at times even all of them have a danger sign.  While dodging and weaving through these danger areas, you need to shoot down enemy planes by locking onto them and firing.  The game is broken down into ten independent missions.  Let’s take a further look at how the gameplay pans out.


Smooth moves: Top Gun runs very smoothly, and from a full playthrough I didn’t see any slowdowns. Even when there were explosions happening, several enemies flying around on screen, and danger warnings popping up all over, the game ran smoothly.  Your jet also performs very convincingly.  When you tilt sharply, your plane does rolls around the screen, as opposed to just leaning to one side.

Music: The soundtrack features fully licensed songs that will put you back in an 80’s kind of mind.  When Danger Zone starts playing, and you’re flying around with actual danger zones on the screen, it’s a great experience.  Just don’t start humming it too loud in public.

Easter Eggs: The hidden features here are a lot of fun.  By entering different pilot names when you play, you can unlock a couple of different things.  One turns your jet into a car from Days of Thunder, complete with you wearing racing gear during cutscenes.  Another has you flying what looks like a fighter plane from Star Wars.  And the funniest one, entering “Volleyball” as your name starts a volleyball game between Iceman and Maverick’s heads.  Seriously.  That’s awesome in my book.


Not enough missions: I was hoping for a little more than the given ten missions.  It passes the time, but at least an extra 5 levels would have been nice.  Ten seems too short, and I wanted to keep playing more.

Corny Dialogue: Cutscenes, which consisted of reading text, were not that interesting and were a loose tie between missions.  The dialogue was also pretty cheesy as well.  One line had a pilot saying the situation was about to get hairy.  Another pilot responded saying he liked hairy, but not on women.  Lines like that lead me to skip through a lot of the remaining dialogue.

I had a great time playing through Top Gun.  The game ran really smoothly, and it kept up enough of a challenge to keep me interested.  I found myself wanting to continue the progression of game and finish unlocking all the levels.  If you like flying planes or flying shooters, you’ll have a lot of fun with Top Gun.


Top Gun was developed by Freeverse and is available for $3.99.  I played through version 1.0 on an iPod Touch 2G.




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