The Cold War was a lengthy, multi-faceted conflict that didn't really stick to the script of previous global clashes.
Its two main protagonists - the US and the Soviet Union - didn't even engage each other in direct conflict, for one thing.
So an action game that claims to cover The Cold War certainly has a task on its hands. It's no wonder most developers plump for World War II.
Bit of a gamble
It's perhaps unsurprising, then, that Sky Gamblers: Cold War comes across as a slightly more awkward action-flight sim than its World War-related predecessors (such as Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders).
It provides the same core dogfighting action, cinematic graphics, and commendably flexible control system as before. It's just that its campaign feels a little jerky and disjointed.
You leap across decades, from early jet fighters to Top Gun-era advanced machines via an unconvincing Vietnam-set turkey shoot. It's all a bit disorientating - especially with a skeletal plot that does nothing to provide context to your actions.
Of course, there's still much to enjoy in Sky Gamblers: Cold War's aerial cat-and-mouse action. Flying into a conflict, observing intense one-on-one battles on the horizon, picking your own target, and engaging remains a thrilling process.
This is partly because of that ever-convincing 3D engine and some beautifully rendered skies.
Mostly, though, it's thanks to a control system that can be scaled to suit your abilities and level of patience. You can go in all guns blazing with a simple virtual joystick and buttons, or use your iOS device's accelerometer to pitch, climb, and dive - and your fingers to manage speed and weapons.
There are also pre-scripted manoeuvres you can initiate through a number of gestures, but this feels like a gimmicky misstep in such an immediately engaging flight sim.
You can be my wingman any time
Despite the underwhelming campaign, Sky Gamblers: Cold War still offers plenty to get your teeth into. There are fully customisable standalone scraps to throw yourself into in both single-player and multiplayer, with the latter the true proving ground for your skills.
There's also a range of planes to unlock, which is where the vast scope of the core conflict really pays off. Here you get to master such delights as free-hovering VTOL aircraft.
Our only gripe is that the slick and intuitive control system dampens a lot of the individual characteristics of each craft.
Still, despite its undercooked elements, Sky Gamblers: Cold War is yet another quality slice of dogfighting from Atypical. The Cold War setting doesn't offer an awful lot new, and it even introduces a couple of fresh drawbacks, but if hardcore aerial shooters are your thing then you won't do much better on iOS.