Pilotwings Resort


With AAA launch titles being thin on the ground for the 3DS, Nintendo hoped to rectify the situation by allowing early adopters to take to the skies with one of their well-loved franchises Pilotwings. After all, what better way to demonstrate the new handheld’s tech for coping with depth of field than to soar through the air with the greatest of ease?

The game sees you take off in one of three vehicles: a plane, hang glider and a rocket belt. You then get to fly around Wuhu Island (previously featured in Wii Fit (Plus) and Wii Sports Resort) where you can complete various missions. These can take the form of flying through rings, landing on pads, popping balloons, taking pictures etc so nothing too taxing.

You start off fairly easily as a Novice in mission mode, collect enough stars and you can unlock the next level Bronze and so on until you reach Platinum level. Despite the relatively wistful gameplay, you’ll have to notch up some serious Air Miles if you want to complete everything in the game.

boom reviews - Pilotwings Resort image
I've tried every which way to get off this damn island but to no avail. Curse you Nintendo!

As a title to showcase what the 3DS can actually do, it’s perfect. Attempting to land on a pad in a bit of a tight spot, or coming at a ring to fly through at a particularly tight angle are all helped by being rendered in the third dimension. And just flying breezily around the island in Free flight mode can be a joy. Not only is there the depth to soak in, but also the simple pleasures of the odd sunburst sparkling in front of your eyes.

It’s not all plain sailing/flying however. As all 3DS owners know, the handheld has one very sweet spot and several dead ones. If you’ve got nerves of steel and a very steady hand, you may not have any problems, but it’s all too easy to keep floating the 3DS back and forth in front of you in an attempt to steer your vehicle; in doing this of course, you throw that sweet spot way off course. It’s not the handheld’s fault, but it is only human nature on a title like this to be more animated that usual.

The only sign of turbulence is in the fact that there’s only one area to explore. As pretty as Wuhu Island is, it would have been great to fly further afield and discover other new areas. In that respect it’s like being trapped on Fantasy Island, but without Tattoo shouting out “da plane boss, da plane!”.

To call it a glorified tech demo would be harsh, but there’s a ring of truth in it. There’s a lot of repetition to the missions you take part in, and as satisfying as it is to fly around, you kind of wish they had pushed the boat-plane out that little bit further.

three out of five