The original Pilotwings
game was released on the SNES over 20-years ago and Pilotwings 64 is
still one of the most fondly remembered games of the N64. So what better
way to celebrate the launch of a new console then release its latest
predecessor for the Nintendo 3DS, Pilotwings Resort, an arcade flight
simulator that really takes this franchise to the next level and dare we
say, one of the reasons why you should buy this console.
You might also be
wondering why the word "Resort" is attached to the title and that's
because this game shares the same island of Wuhu as that of Wii Sports
Resort. It's definitely a great tip of the hat to the Wii Sport Resort
game as players don their equipment or jump in their planes to fly
around this cartoon inspired island. Best of all, the game looks amazing
in 3D and really comes to life on this console with all its colours and
over the top vibrancy.
Even though the game only contains two real gameplay modes that include
free flight and mission, there's plenty of charm in this game as you fly
aeroplanes, shoot around in jetpacks and gracefully glide with a
hang glider. Just like the classic Pilotwings title, flying around this
virtual world is where all the fun begins. Another fun aspect is that
all the vehicles control differently such as the hang glider which
requires you to find currents as opposed to the jetpack that offers more
control but is more tricky to master.
The main gameplay is the
mission mode that requires you to partake in a variety of objectives
which awards the player on how well they performed. Whereas free flight
is more surreal and allows you to explore the Resort island of Wuhu.
Nothing is more spectacular than performing some of the outrageous
aerial manoeuvres as all real-world physics are thrown out the window.
Missions may also
involve collecting certain items, landing a seaplane on a small stretch
of water or even shooting objects which offers
some nice variety. The UFO missions are quite bizarre as you try to get
the aliens home! With around 40 or so missions, everything has been planned out
carefully with the gameplay and nothing feels out of place or too
contrived. Add in a few unlockable crafts and gear and you'll be a happy
camper. For newcomers, the game contains a mini-tutorial which requires
you to fly the three different items and from there you begin to compete
in the various coloured leagues, steadily becoming more difficult as you
Once you have finished the mission modes in the game which
unfortunately can be knocked over in a few hours, you can engage in the
free flight mode that will have you coming back to this game time and
time again, just to fly around without the constraints of objectives and
missions. Free flight allows allows the gamer to search for hidden
collectibles that are littered through the lush island of Wuhu.
The only drawback to free-flight is that you're limited to time which is
2-minutes, however as you collect balloons while exploring the area,
this increases the time period that allows you to play. One unique
aspect of free-flight mode is that not all the collectibles are
available to you all the time. For example, some objects only appear at
certain times during the day which does require you to play the game at
specific times if you want to collect everything.
Some players may find
this annoying but as a gamer, I like to think of it as a challenge that
successfully merges real-world with the virtual-world. The control of
Pilot Wings Resort is extremely sturdy and once again, the introduction
of the circle-pad makes portable gaming a treat. As opposed to shooting,
you can even take photos during free flight.
As mentioned the
graphics are quite cartoony and Wuhu island looks amazing in 3D. It's a
shame that the 3DS screen is so reflective because in a brightly lit
room, this does become somewhat of an issue unfortunately. However
because the game is so bright, it's not as bad as some other games.
There's some great depth perception used in the game and this has been
the only 3DS game that I've left the slider on full 3D. Another
interesting fun fact is that this game uses Mii characters, just like
Wii Sports Resort. Add in the subtle sound effects of flying and an
overtly complex soundtrack for such a basic game and this title comes
together rather well. It's simplicity is the key.
In end, I actually enjoyed this game and even though there are many
levels of difficulty to play, it was actually a fun no-brainer title that
allowed me to thoroughly relax after a hard day's work. Sometimes I just
wanted to chill out and fly around without saving the world from an alien
invasion or trying to remain in the top three of some racing title. No
Pilotwings Resort is quite the opposite and best of all, it does showcase
the 3DS capabilities rather well.