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Pilotwings Resort Review

After circling the runway for 15 years, Pilotwings finally touches down

Pilotwings Resort review: Pilotwings Resort takes place in the skies around Wuhu Island, which you last flew over in Wii Sports Resort. Wuhu's mostly unchanged, but it's sharper and more detailed this time around. Indeed it's hard to think of a better way to show off Nintendo's new handheld than firing up Pilotwings Resort, pushing the 3D Slider up as high as it can go, and then flying even higher.

The tutorial nudges you towards the plane first, and it's easy to see why. Fast and manoeuvrable, with a temporary boost on the A button and a handily infinite fuel supply, this is the easiest vehicle to master.

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Harder to get the hang of is the glider: you'll have to perfect the art of using thermal plumes of air to maintain height and speed. Hitting them at just the right angle will speed you up and lift you towards the sky. The glider is also the only vehicle that lets you indulge in a little airborne photography - which you can save onto an SD card and use to build a scrapbook of Wuhu Island mementos.

The rocket belt is our favourite. A brake on the left shoulder button allows you to stop in your tracks and turn on a dime, while carefully timing your jet thrusts can let you float through all but the tiniest of gaps.

Flight School

The Mission Mode teaches you the tricks for every vehicle and is divided into five difficulties. Much of the time, you'll be trying to thread a perfect route between sparkling rings that hover in the air, but there are other tasks too.

Some challenges stick a gun on the front of your plane, asking you to bullseye targets and pop balloons. Others make you do some nifty stuntwork, requiring you to follow a plane piloted by Miguel and mimick his dips, twists and barrel rolls through the skies.

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The tasks in Mission Mode are an interesting and varied batch, but unfortunately it all feels a little bit short. Getting a one-star passing grade on every challenge is a goal that can be achieved in around two hours and the fact that there isn't much more to do with the alternative vehicle types that you unlock in the process is a huge disappointment.

Getting a perfect three-star rating on every mission, however, could take you a good while longer. The points you earn during a mission depend on your performance (hit a target right on centre and you'll get ten points, but just graze the edges and you'll earn three), as well as the amount of time left on the clock when you land. But you also have points deducted for bad flying. So, brush past a tree and you'll be hit with a penalty.

Nailing the landing proves essential too. Come in too fast and miss the target and you'll get a point penalty. It's funny just how quickly such a relaxed game can transform into tense high-score chasing.

Air-Traffic Control

Free Flight mode offers a much more open-ended way to explore Wuhu Island. To start with, it gives you two minutes to fly around the island but should you want to extend that time limit, you'll have to grab the collectible white balloons.

And if you want to unlock sunset or nighttime modes, you need to fly through enough of the 'i' rings dotted over the island which dispense a small nugget of Wuhu-related trivia or history (again, just like in Wii Sports Resort).

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Each vehicle also has its own specific trinket to collect, or special ring to fly through, which once collected will unlock a small collection of dioramas viewable from the menu screen. There's a satisfying sense of progress to this mode.

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Comments

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  1. MarioMagic Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 10:53

    Would have thought it'd get a much higher score than that...

  2. master dingley Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 13:13

    I was worried about this, had my fingers crossed that they might announce some new areas to unlock, maybe some classic Nintendo areas like Delfino Plaza, but I'm afraid with only Wuhu island I'm gonna give this one a miss.

  3. Violet Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 13:20

    Can they stop holding back on the VC version of Pilotwings 64 now? Its a superior game, after all.

  4. reeesy Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 14:05

    What a real shame... Sounds like its been used as a way to show off the 3ds's capabilities (like Wii Sports) rather than the full game it should be.
    I won't be buying it for that reason. Maybe if i see it cheap on ebay or 2nd hand i'll get it, instead of forking out 40 for a linear game.

  5. imbusydoctorwho Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 14:20

    Such a shame it's so short.
    Might pick up but it all depends on the reviews of Rayman.

  6. JamieRIOT Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 14:39

    Like other people have mentioned, i was hoping that Nintendo would reveal that there would be at least a couple of other locations to explore. Just having Wuhu Island is a big disappointment, as many of us are already very familiar with it by playing Wii Sparts Resort, so there would be nothing new.
    Pilotwings 64 was just a lot more wacky and i think Nintendo should have taken this route, maybe just having the Mii's as a character amongst a roster of selectable characters.
    This also looks like it will be very samey and not a whole lot in it to keep people playing for that long. Seems more like a 20 game than a 35-40 one. Bit of a shame really, i was hoping for more...

  7. ChrisONM Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 14:51

    I think it's also worth bearing in mind that while getting through each of the 40 missions is a fairly short process, getting a perfect score and three red stars on all 40 missions will take an extremely long time. If you're a perfectionist, then, there are weeks of gameplay here.

  8. kirby711 Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 15:29

    I think it's also worth bearing in mind that while getting through each of the 40 missions is a fairly short process, getting a perfect score and three red stars on all 40 missions will take an extremely long time. If you're a perfectionist, then, there are weeks of gameplay here.

    Thanks for the reassurance. I shall get it with confidence. :)

  9. doydoy Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 15:57

    I am going to pick this up, maybe it is a bit short in game play but it will be a nice welcome to the 3D world.
    I will be buying a few other games as well but it will have to start with Pilot Wings!

  10. FiveThirteen Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 17:33

    I'll be getting this, and I intend to complete it fully by getting perfect scores in every mission so I think it will last me long enough.

  11. Bakerstudios Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 17:38

    Pre-ordered my 3DS! Along with Pilotwings Resort, I was crossed between Pilotwings and Super Street Fighter. The other games didn't really tempt me, the reason I finally chose Pilotwings was because I had never played Pilotwings on the N64 and I wanted a game that wasn't too complex, a game that I could just sink my teeth into for the jaw dropping 3D effect. Also, I want to see what I'd look like with a Jetpack or Handglider. :D

  12. Charlarottskii Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 18:37

    Got my 3Ds today, yay for pre-orders!!
    I got Pilotwings resort with it, and despite some of the negative things I have heard about it, I still love it! It may not have any extra areas to explore, which was disapointing, but just flying around the island and doing loop-the-loops is great fun! And as I love to try and collect everything, (although I'm not very good at it) this is still a brilliant little game, and perfect for showing off the 3d effects.

  13. CDS Thursday 24th Mar 2011 at 19:43

    I think this game is good, even if the missions are a bit short, as it gives you freedom to do what you want in three totally different air vehicles.

    Although I think it s a shame there wasn't more levels, but hey, look up and hope for a sequel sometime soon.

  14. triforce-manc Friday 25th Mar 2011 at 10:14

    Just FYI 3DS games are 30 not 35-40 like some people have been saying (this is going off amazons price for all the 3DS games)

    OT. Seems like a good game just let down by the fact that it gets repetitive, still gonna try it as a few of my mates got it so I can just lend it sometime

  15. layton lover Saturday 26th Mar 2011 at 14:26

    I think the score is slightly harsh, but i agree that it's an 80-89% game, i'd probably give it around 86%. I'm really enjoying it and i think the flying in 3D is incredible!

  16. pokeguy101 Saturday 26th Mar 2011 at 14:37

    Hmm... I was thinking about getting this but i think it'll be SS4 for me, or if any other better games come out between now and June I might get one of them. 8)

  17. minirocker Saturday 26th Mar 2011 at 21:26

    I thought it would be something like this, it just doesnt sound like the sort of game that would last a decent amount of time. sure it sounds like flying is great, but how long can a person fly around an island without getting bored?

  18. AL X Sunday 27th Mar 2011 at 13:52

    Does anyone else think that the frame rate is'nt smooth enough when turning? (in the plane). I think this ruins the 3d effect a bit for me.

    Also this is a game where I sometimes lose a good clear viewing angle when doing difficult manouveres, which can be annoying.

  19. 142520452213 Sunday 27th Mar 2011 at 13:53

    I thought it would be something like this, it just doesnt sound like the sort of game that would last a decent amount of time. sure it sounds like flying is great, but how long can a person fly around an island without getting bored?

    Surprisingly the size of the island and different modes of transport mean it hasn't gotten old for me yet. Granted it's only been two days but I'm finding it awesome!

  20. Link9427 Sunday 27th Mar 2011 at 15:07

    Even though I haven't played on it yet, I think it'll be well worth the wait :wink:

  21. Jake 346 Sunday 27th Mar 2011 at 16:45

    A bit harsh. I've got it and it's great, a must have, 85%-90% at least.

  22. AL X Monday 28th Mar 2011 at 12:42

    I would definitely recommend the game though as the gameplay and 3d are great!.

    I like watching replays from different angles in mission mode.

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