Take to the skies with PilotWings Resort on Nintendo 3DS. PilotWings Resort is one of the launch titles that Nintendo will be offering to gamers this week. The game sets the PilotWing series in the skies above Wuhu Island Resort, made famous as the setting for Wii Sports Resort.
It’s an arcade flight simulation game that tests the flying skills of it’s finest cadets as you ascend into the clouds above you. Players join the Wuhu Sky Club with their Mii to take on missions in a Plane, Hang Glider and Rocket Belt. Each aircraft offers a different experience ranging from a slow light propelled plane to a powerful fast fueled rocket belt that blasts your Mii into the air with rapid speed.
The mission mode has the player completing objectives, which can be as simple as guiding your aircraft through a series of rings or bursting a collection of balloons, to more complex tasks like bouncing from pad to pad to top up the ever diminishing fuel for your rocket belt, or pushing giant balloons into a designated area. Take out your Hang Glider and use thermals to gain height or even try to land a plane on a landing strip out at sea. Whichever craft you take out, the missions will end with trying to perform a safe landing. Players progress through the missions by collecting stars, with a certain number of stars being required to open the next batch of missions.
In Free Flight Mode, players have the opportunity to fly all over Wuhu Island in a limited time to gather extras. Collect the “i” icons which represent locations on the island such as Wobbly Bridge and Jogging Plaza. There are 75 locations to discover all around the environment. Once you’ve found 25 icons of these icons, players then have the chance to unlock different times of the day. In night mode, unlocked with 50 icons, you begin your journey flying through the crisp dark sky watching beautiful, colourful fireworks lighting up in the distance. By reaching the Gold level in the missions, players will be able to start collecting other things. Balloons will appear all across the island and every 20 that are collected will add 30 seconds to the Free Flight mode, handy for reaching the distant islands. There are also collectibles for each type of flying vehicle. The Planes will have stunt rings to fly through, the Rocket Belts will have gift boxes containing gold Mii trophies to collect and the Hang Glider will have to pass through gold rings. As these goodies are collected, players will be able to unlock gorgeous 3D dioramas.
Through the missions, players will come across three new craft, one for each type, with the Jet Plane, a high-powered Rocket Belt and a Pedal-Powered Glider. These flying machines will be available in Free Flight Mode once they have been unlocked in Mission Mode.
Using the circle pad players can steer each aircraft. Pressing A enables players to give their powered craft a speed boost or accelerate, while the B button is used as your brake and is used for landing when you don’t want to be miss a designated target, fly into a lighthouse or inevitably crash into the rock face. The D-pad is used to look around to get a better perspective of where you are in your surroundings and a good indicator to whether you’re going in the right direction. The shoulder buttons have different uses depending on the craft, such as barrel rolls in the plane or taking photos whilst gliding. At first you’ll find yourself all over the place as you try and gain stability in the air, it’s not always easy to gauge how far or near your aircraft is to certain targets. The depth perception can be a little hard to judge at times, so when you think you’ve finally made it onto the landing strip based at sea, you soon realise you’re actually colliding into the side of it. It takes a great deal of practice to master the sky ways. Not all of us have been blessed with John Travolta pilot skills. With time and quite a lot of determination, it’s easy to enjoy the beautiful scenic backgrounds filled with mountains, bridges and the huge volcano centre piece.
It would have been nice to see an online leaderboard or at least multiplayer to keep the game fresh. It’s a great deal of fun using all the different types of aircrafts, flying at different times of days and exploring and discovering new locations throughout the game, but unfortunately I found PilotWings Resort to be slightly limited in gameplay. Taking in the sights and sounds of PilotWings Resort is an incredible experience and players will be amazed by the vibrant and rich graphics it has to offer. Considering it’s just an arcade flight simulation does make me wonder whether the playability has the longevity to last for first time gamers of the 3DS.
That being said, the game was more fun than I was anticipated. I am not convinced that gamers will be entertained for long in the skies above Wuhu Island, but if relaxing airbourne gaming is your cup of tea, then PilotWings Resort would be on your launch day 3DS purchase list.
The 3D effect does look good and I spent some time flying with and without 3D on. The vast majority of my time was adjusting the depth slider back and forth from 3D to 2D. Aside from the depth perception, the 3DS offers quality effects that I normally would’nt have considered to be a requirement to enjoy this game, but generally speaking it all adds to the experience of playing in a 3D environment.