Review: Pilotwings Resort (3DS)

Pilotwings is a series that Nintendo fans have been clamoring for ever since the last title in the series, Pilotwings 64, launched alongside the Nintendo 64 in 1996. The original Pilotwings came out near the release of the Super NES, with the series typically used to show off what Nintendo’s newest hardware is capable of. Therefore, it’s only fitting that the series makes its long-awaited return as Pilotwings Resort as a display of the graphical prowess of the Nintendo 3DS.

The game features a mission mode, where you strap in to either a plane, a rocket belt (similar to a jetpack) or a hang glider and complete a series of tasks such as flying through rings or shooting targets for points. Each apparatus provides a unique flight experience and feels completely different from the others, requiring you to become a master in each in order to advance though the increasingly difficult missions.

In typical Nintendo fashion, Pilotwings Resort starts off easily enough, but the missions get harder and harder very quickly. Something as slight as not hitting a target DIRECTLY in the center costs you valuable points, requiring multiple runs of each mission in order to perfect your techniques and earn the stars required to advance.

Although it can be frustrating at times, it’s still a lot of fun. I may punch my knee in frustration when I hit the landing pad a smidge too hard and ruin an otherwise perfect run of the mission, but I’m always quick to hit “retry” and give it another go.

The graphics are sharp, especially with the 3D turned on. You can see clear across Wuhu Island as you fly around, and it really makes flying through the different grottos and landscapes very thrilling. The colors really pop off the screen as well, making great use of brilliant greens and blues, and the evening missions are absolutely gorgeous with the sky a dazzling orange.

If I have one complaint, though, it’s that I almost wish they HADN’T used Wuhu Island. I’ve seen Wuhu Island so many times before… I’ve jogged around it and explored it via bicycle in Wii Fit, I’ve played several different sports there in Wii Sports Resort… Wii Sports Resort even had a mode where you fly around the island in a plane, which is lifted VERBATIM and put into Pilotwings Resort! As exciting as the sensation of 3D flight is, it almost seems cheapened by having it in a location that we’ve completely explored already.

The Final Verdict

Pilotwings Resort is a great way to show off what your Nintendo 3DS is capable of, as it really puts on a graphical show. The gameplay is tight and addicting, and you’ll keep coming back to try to make up for those few points you missed. It’s not perfect, and it’s missing some of the charm of its predecessors, but Pilotwings Resort should absolutely be one of the first games you pick up to go along with your shiny new 3DS.



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