PilotWings Resort Review

PilotWings has been a franchise that Nintendo’s used to showcase 3D and simulate the freedom of soaring skies since the SNES days as a launch title. The first PilotWings took advantage of the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 graphics that simulated a 3D plane, later used in such titles as Super Mario Kart and Contra IIIPilotWings 64 was part of the Nintendo 64 launch titles that took advantage of polygon models back in 1996. Both titles were amazingly fun (not to mention hard) and made a fine example of 3D illusions and polygons. Nintendo has one again decided to showcase 3D with this franchise, in this case, the 3DS’s glasses free 3D, with a new installment from developer Monster Games: PilotWings Resort.

Will this launch title be able to help the 3DS’s release soar up in the skies, or does it dive directly to the ground? Hit the jump to find out!

PilotWings Resort // Platform: 3DS
Released in: March 27, 2011
Published by: Nintendo
Developed by: Monster Games
Retails for: $39.99

In PilotWings Resort, you fly around Wuhu Island, the same island seen in Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit, with the help of small aircrafts such as an Airplane, a Rocket Belt, and a Hand Glider. Players will fly through rings, pop balloons, trigger challenges, and maneuver through a volcano, caves, waterfalls, and cliffs that the island has to offer. Being that the core mechanic of the game, PilotWings Resort features two modes: Mission Mode and Free Flight Mode. That’s about it actually and, once you master both of these modes, there’s not much else to the game.

In Mission Mode, the game will also have you taking pictures of Wuhu Island’s landmarks, shooting targets, following another airplane and mimicking tricks, among other fun objectives. Mission Mode also offers the opportunity of experiencing new flying devices other than the three main vehicles. It’s a fun thing and it certainly provides some variation after trying out the aircrafts you’re going to be using through the rest of the game. The only downside of this is that there are usually only very few missions for such variations. I loved the flying squirrel suit, but you can only use it in one mission and, since it’s only available in the Silver difficulty, it doesn’t provide any sort of a difficult challenge for the suit. On a side note, PilotWings 64 had such memorable vehicles such as the Gyrocopter and the Birdman, and it puzzles me why these vehicles aren’t in this PilotWings. Don’t get me wrong, I like the new vehicles that Monster Games made for this one, but I don’t see a reason not to put in the vehicles of the 64 version. Still, the new aircrafts in this game are sure to give you a challenge.

And speaking of challenge, PilotWings Resort can be a breeze to get through but, if you want to get a three star ranking or even a Perfect Score, you will need to play this game thoroughly and master the aircrafts. Be prepared to hit that Start button and then the Replay Mission option over and over again. I know I did in order to get a three star ranking in all 42 Missions that the Mission Mode has to offer. Sadly, it all ends too soon. Getting a three star ranking in all missions took me a little bit more than three hours to accomplish. And after you get a three star ranking and a high score, there’s not much to do; no online leaderboards or online connection whatsoever, and not even a Street Pass functionality of some sort.

After completing Mission Mode, you can enjoy the Free Flight Mode. It’s kind of ironic calling this a Free Flight Mode since, technically, it’s not ‘Free Flying around the island’ like you’d expect from a game mode with such name. You choose any of the main aircrafts and away you go…for like two minutes. It’s a good thing you can increase the time limit by popping the white balloons scattered around Wuhu Island. I found myself at one point thinking “oh hey, I’m going to fly over to that other island to check it out” and, by the time I get there, I have like 20 seconds left to goof around. Time constraints can be a hassle but, since you can collect iRings of landmarks of Wuhu Island and Stunt Rings which can get you dioramas to view in the game, it sort of encourages you to come back to the mode again, which is a good thing. Still, an actual free Flight Mode in which you could literally fly freely without any sort of objective and time limit would have been a nice addition.