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Pilotwings Resort - 3DS Review

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Pilotwings Resort

3DS | Nintendo | 1 Player | Out Now
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29th June 2011; By Patrick

In time past, Nintendo of America has launched the games in the Pilotwings series with the NA launch of new hardware.
Pilotwings released with the SNES, Pilotwings 64 with the Nintendo 64, and now Pilotwings Resort alongside the 3DS. Given this strategy, it is clear that Nintendo believes that the Pilotwings games show off the abilities of Nintendo hardware well - even going so far as to have Pilotwings Resort demos running in most 3DS Demo Stations across the US. But is the game itself a fly-away success, or does it suffer from "launch-title-itus"?

    In Pilotwings Resort, there are three vehicles to start with, with more unlocking as you continue along through the game. You control all of them with the Circle Pad, while some functions such as shooting water or blasts are handled by the face buttons. The first is the Plane, the main vehicle, which flies like you’d expect a plane to fly in a video game, and feels very natural. The second is the Jet Pack, which works a bit differently. You can do normal thrust or powerful thrust, either aiming up or forward, but you have to constantly be mindful of the amount of gas you have left. And the third is the Hang Glider, where you can really only steer it and specify the angle you want it to go, while the wind takes care of the rest. Each are very different, and you will definitely have your preference between the three. As for me, I prefer the Plane, and actively dislike using the Hang Glider, but other people I know absolutely love the feeling of the Hang Glider.

    There are two main modes in Pilotwings Resort: Mission Flight, and Free Flight. In the Free Flight mode you can take one of the vehicles around Wuhu Island (from Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort), going to see the main sights of interest on the island marked with an “i”. You have a time limit though, and the goal is to be able to find them all over multiple playthroughs. It is extremely similar to the minigame in Wii Sports Resort, and is disappointingly shallow. While it serves its purpose to relax, it would be nice to be able to be able to interact with the points of interest more than just getting a brief description of them.

The other mode, Mission Flight, is the bulk of the game. There are five levels of missions (Training, Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum) with several missions in each (an equal number for each vehicle). In each mission you’re ranked out of three stars, which accumulate to a total of 18 stars per Mission Level. Once you reach a certain number of stars (12 for the first 3, then 18) in a Mission Level, you unlock the next. And the missions range from landing on a target correctly, to going through rings, to helping out around the Island.

    Now here is where the real discrepancy between players lies: the value of the game. There are over 40 missions in the game, but some are quite short. If you are the type of gamer that wants to complete all the missions and then believes they’re done with the product, then this game is a terrible value for money, and will probably only give you about 3-5 hours of enjoyment at most. However, if you’re like me and will replay missions to get 3 stars, play around with all the vehicles in Free Flight mode, and take pictures (which can be saved to the Nintendo 3DS Camera), then this game will probably last you about 12 hours.

    There’s also a good reason for Nintendo using this title to push the 3DS demos nationwide - the 3D, as you might expect from a flying game, is amazing. Developer Monster Games did an amazing job with creating a true feeling of depth along the island as you fly through it, which has yet to be rivaled by any other 3DS game I’ve played yet. The soundtrack is also particularly well done - smooth jazz that is enjoyable to listen to whether you’re attempting a relaxing session of play, or an intense one.

    Overall, Pilotwings Resort will mean different things to different people. To Pilotwings fans and fans of Air Sports in Wii Sports Resort, it will be a fun game to put your energy towards. To completionists, it will be a fun challenge to 3-star every mission. But to people who just want to get through the game, they will not find much to do with it, but will probably still find it fun while it lasts.

21/30 - Good

Gameplay 10/10 - Extremely varied, a large island that's fun to explore, very different vehicles that are all fun, unique and enjoyable missions
Presentation 8/10 - Graphics are superb, 3D gives true depth, soundtrack is very enjoyable, it's a shame that you can’t interact with Island more
Enjoyment 2/5 - Fun factor highly dependant on the gamer, missions done quick, much to do for completionists but not for those who speed through games
Extra Content 1/5 - Can shoot for 3 Stars on each mission, Free Flight mode relaxing but not demanding, send in-game pics to the Nintendo 3DS Camera

Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by Patrick
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