Pilotwings Resort reviewed

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Pilotwings Resort is a simple game, but it accomplished something many titles have not.

It made me smile.

The game, 3D visuals and all, is simple without being simplistic. Players get to fly around Nintendo’s fictional Wuhu Island and complete a series of “missions” that basically involve performing a series of increasingly difficult tasks while aboard a variety of missions. This is a video game in its most essential form. There’s no attempt to mimic cinema, Pilotwings Resort is a game that people can play for 20 minutes or so to have a little fun.

Pilotwings Resort players begin the game as a vacationer learning to fly an aeroplane, rocket belt or hang glider. Additional aircraft – realistic and fanciful – can be unlocked as the player progresses through missions. The game also lets players use their personalized “Mii” avatars as pilots.

The missions are pretty basic, consisting largely of piloting the craft through rings, shooting at little targets and even putting out fires. Each aircraft has different controls, and players have to figure out when to yaw or bank the aeroplane, when to use the strong or weak burst while strapped to a rocket belt and how to use thermals to gain altitude in the hang glider. Pilotwings’ missions and learning curve are well-crafted for a handheld game, as each mission takes a minute or so to complete, making the game well-suited for a pick-up-and-play experience.

My only complaint, and it’s not totally insignificant, is that the game does not always function at its best when the 3DS’ three-dimensional imaging is employed at full strength. At times, switching the 3D slider to full power created a kind of double-vision effect, and I found that adjusting the slider to medium-strength made the game more enjoyable, simply because medium settings made it easy to see what I was doing.

Nonetheless, I’m currently of the opinion that the 3DS imaging capabilities are best suited for flying or racing games, as the illusion of depth aids the illusion of motion. I think Pilotwings is a step in the right direction as players wait for Kid Icarus: Uprising. I also got to preview Mario Kart’s 3DS iteration at E3 and it looked very promising.

In sum, Pilotwings Resort is a mostly successful game and a welcome return to an old Nintendo franchise. For 3DS owners, it’s worth a play.

Pilotwings Resort
Nintendo 3DS
Rated E for Everyone