PilotWings Resort (Nintendo 3DS) - Review by Andrew



Like a lot of the UK press (who couldn't make it to last years E3), we got our first taste of the 3DS at a Nintendo event in one of London's premier exhibition spaces. Millbank Tower sits on the banks of the River Thames and given than the venue is well and truly 'above the clouds' it seems fitting that the first game we played, on the new 3D handheld, was this: Pilotwings Resort. This has been an incredibly popular franchise with Nintendo fans for some time now with versions appearing on the SNES and N64 but this is it's first appearance on a handheld. The build we played only had two missions available but that was more than enough to add it to our 'wants list' for launch day. Well, it's here now so, let's take it for a spin. Chocks away...


Pilotwings Resort allows you take control of a variety of weird and wonderful aircraft from a high-speed jet plane to a simple glider. All of this takes place around the uninhabited Wuhu Island which is quite fortunate really given just how many times you'll crash on some of the more challenging missions. The missions in question are at the heart of the gameplay and it's here you'll have to carry out and complete a whole host of objectives with the faster and more efficient you accomplish this, the higher grade you'll be awarded. This could be bronze, silver, gold or even platinum but, more importantly, you'll also need to acquire stars, which you'll require in order to unlock further missions.

Most of these missions are actually quite inventive and early on you may have to fly though a collection of rings, within the time limit, or even pop a series of balloons. As you progress you'll be challenged to guide 'baby' UFO's to a huge Mother ship or keep your simple Hanglider in the air for over three minutes. Sadly there are only around 40 of these challenges, which you really will 'fly through' and other than improving your score, there's little in the way of replay value. Other than the missions there's the 'Free Flight' mode, where you can simply enjoy the scenery whilst also picking up a variety of collectables (which unlock artwork and dioramas), but given that you've already completely explored the island this does all see a little pointless really.


The various craft, you'll need to control here, are all surprisingly intuitive and while you can opt to begin your experience with a test flight, you'll feel remarkably comfortable with everything you'll have to pilot from the start. Your only real challenge will possibly be with the glider sections (seeking out the hot air to allow you to rise) and the Pedal Glider (which demands a perfectly balanced mix of power and gliding).


Visually, Pilotwings Resort has been designed to show off just what the increased horsepower, of the 3DS, is capable of and, here at least, the game succeeds on every level. Your playground here is Wuhu Island (from Wii Sports) which can be fully explored both out and inside with little in the way of pop-up's. There's a great deal to explore here and even once you've seen everything to be seen, on the main island, there's still a lot satellite islands to discover. Other than this, there's no there's no other area's although you can select to fly at either the day, evening or night. One huge missed opportunity here is the complete lack of weather and whatever you do, it's perfect flying conditions. Surely adding some severe stormy conditions could have made some of the events that much more challenging. One of the more pleasing aspects of the 3DS is the Mii Construction feature and this title is one of the first to allow you to use your own likeness in a game which works incredibly well here and will hopefully be used in future titles.


The audio here is very good with a variety of musical types accompanying the different flying craft. The Rocket Belt, for example, has an exciting, uplifting composition whilst the glider is much gentler and more fitting with quietly drifting around the island. The sound effects are subtle but expertly convey the feeling of flying especially as the gliders wings ripple about as you dive of hit an air pocket.

Special features

While there's no real touch-screen use here, the developers have used the 3D to great effect. This is probably best witnessed in the glider sections and slowly flying around the island does allow you to soak up the full beauty of the scenery with the obvious added dimension. Other developers are promising to make the 3D features integral to the gameplay, but here, it simply makes the gameplay that much more immersive.

Final comments

We began this review by saying just how much we were looking forward to this 3DS launch title and to be fair, it's very good. The challenges are engaging and the various gliders and planes fun to fly. There's also a good variety of missions available with the added ability to keep revisiting these in order to improve your score and overall star rating. Where Pilotwings Resort fails is with it's length and there are simply not enough challenges available allowing you to complete the main part of the game in a matter of hours. There's still the 'Free Flight' mode, of course, but given that this uses the same island, this is also over and done with pretty quickly. It's still a great piece of 'tech' and really does help to show off just what the 3DS is capable of it's just all over too soon.

Pro: Demonstrates Just What the 3DS is Capable of, Very Entertaining.
Con: Simply Too Short
Final score: 7.5


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Boxart of PilotWings Resort (Nintendo 3DS)
Platform: Nintendo 3DS
Genre: Simulation
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo