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Top Gun: Maverick – 7 Games to Play After Watching

Games to Play After Top Gun
Credit: Abram Buehner / Boss Level Gamer

Top Gun: Maverick is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most remarkable movies of the past few years. It just feels classic already. This is the new legacy sequel benchmark, but also a modern technical achievement. The aerial spectacle begs for the big screen. And, when you leave the theater, you’ll be itching to recapture Maverick’s feeling—something these games will provide.

While many games could elicit the ethos of Top Gun, only the best flight games are on Maverick’s level. So, let’s recap seven such titles that’ll continue the spirit of Tom Cruise’s adventures at home.

Ace Combat 7: Skies Unknown

Ace Combat Key Art
Credit: Bandai Namco

This is perhaps the best flight game currently on the market. That is, if you’re after a somewhat realistic take on the concept. With arcade-like design philosophies and a high-fidelity presentation, this is an accessible flight experience. And, it’s even more immersive for PSVR owners as it has an included virtual reality mode.

Most pertinently though, Ace Combat 7 now has Top Gun: Maverick DLC. With myriad aircraft and skins pulled directly from the film, this is certainly the best way to extend the cinematic experience.

Star Fox 64

Star Fox 64 Key Art
Credit: Nintendo

While almost as old school as the original Top Gun, Star Fox 64 is a brilliant rail shooter. It’s a mechanically exact and endlessly replayable experience. Most germane to Top Gun though, Star Fox 64 has some truly excellent banter. The Star Fox crew’s callouts mid-dogfight are some of the industry’s most iconic one-liners.

The spirit of Star Fox’s dialog is perfectly in line with that of Maverick’s script. The film soars (pardon the pun) in large part because of brilliant performances from the likes of Glen Powell and Miles Teller. That is, in addition to Tom Cruise, of course.

When it comes to the best flight games, there are no better wingmen than Peppy, Slippy, and Falco.

Star Wars: Squadrons

Star Wars Squadrons Key Art
Credit: EA

Although this galaxy far, far away isn’t much like the setting of Top Gun: Maverick, it’s a similarly impressive blockbuster. Hopping in the digital cockpit of a TIE or X-Wing is at its most immersive here, especially if you’ve got a VR headset. Finding the right balance between sim elements and arcade tenets, Squadrons keeps you sweating in the midst of a fight.

If you want to recapture the tension of Maverick’s third act, this is the way to do it. Make sure you practice shifting power between the guns and shields, though. You don’t have Rooster there to deploy your countermeasures!

Battlefield 1

BF1 Key Art
Credit: EA

Pretty much any Battlefield title will suffice here, but BF1 is a perennial favorite. Plus, given the shaky reception to BFV and 2042, this game’s servers are still well-populated. Naturally, Battlefield is not a straight flight game, but hopping in a bomber with some buddies is going to recapture that white-knuckled Top Gun experience.

After all, few moments in Maverick are as tense as the laser-guided missile drop. Raining some air support on a contested position in a conquest match is a good way to emulate the feeling.

Microsoft Flight Simulator – Top Gun: Maverick Expansion

MS Flight Sim Key Art
Credit: Microsoft

Now, Microsoft Flight Simulator is far more laid-back than Top Gun: Maverick. However, it’s nonetheless a complementary experience. Perhaps the most remarkable element of the film is its aerial cinematography and the landscapes below. You can boot up Flight Sim and casually cover that same ground, enjoying it without the looming threat of a GEN5 fighter overhead.

Widely lauded as one of the best flight games, MS Flight Sim is not to be missed, and now is the perfect moment to play. It even has a Top Gun expansion of its own!

Top Gun

Credit: NintendoComplete, Konami

This list wouldn’t be complete without Konami’s classic NES adventure. Given the publisher’s pedigree (at the time), it should come as no surprise that the game was a hit. And, it was a technically impressive one at that. The title is ambitious for an NES game, presenting a first-person dogfighting experience complete with a cockpit dashboard.

Hearing the chiptune rendition of Top Gun’s theme is so classic. While accessing this game legitimately may be a challenge, it’s worth a try.

Ikaruga

Ikaruga Key Art
Credit: Nicalis

Few films of recent memory are as suspenseful as Top Gun: Maverick. The evocation of this is masterful, and the absolute best flight games manifest this same feeling. Ikaruga is one of those. It’s an arcade-style shoot-’em up from Treasure, and one of the most sweaty bullet-hell titles ever produced.

The game is a cacophony of multicolor projectiles so oppressive that even Mav couldn’t avoid them all in his trusty F-14. However, with generous difficulty options, Ikagura is doable. It invites repeat playthroughs and gradual progression. It may just be its genre’s crowning achievement.

Wrap Up

And, Top Gun: Maverick is certainly one of 2022’s crowning achievements as well. The film is breaking all sorts of box office records too. Its second-weekend gross is the largest for any film that opened at $100m+, a true testament to Maverick’s excellence.

Between this, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Batman, and many more, this is already a great year for movies.

Written by Abram Buehner

Abram Buehner is a part-time student and full-time dork. With a particular love for Nintendo and a nearly equal affinity for PlayStation and Xbox, Abram plays across all platforms. When he’s not digging into his backlog, Abram is probably writing about games instead. Otherwise, Abram can be found working toward his dual degree in English and Film & New Media Studies …or he’s babbling about Star Wars. The latter is more likely.

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