Pilotwings Resort is the first title in the franchise in over fifteen years, how does it stand up to the hype?
At the start of Pilotwings Resort, you are given a tutorial of the three basic vehicles; including a plane, rocket belt, and hang glider. The tutorial missions do a very good job at getting you use to the different controls of the vehicles. After you have finished the six tutorial levels you are then given the choice between Mission Flight Mode and Free Flight Mode. Mission Flight Mode is very similar to the tutorial, in that you are given different objectives that you must complete in order to proceed. The objectives may include shooting at floating targets while piloting the plane, or using thermals to reach a certain altitude in the glider. The better you do on the mission, the higher your score will be; which is scored in both points and stars. You will need a certain amount of stars from each mission rank in order to proceed to the next rank of missions. Each rank of missions introduces higher difficultly and new elements to the game; including new objectives and faster versions of the vehicles. There are a total of five ranks and thirty-six missions, excluding the six training missions.
The second mode that the game offers is the Free Flight Mode. In this mode you will be given a certain amount of time to explore the games setting, Wuhu Island. The addition of the time limit is a tad disappointing and despite my initial hopes that the time limit could be removed after collecting all of the items present in Wuhu Island, it cannot. The time limit can, however, be extended to a maximum of five minutes if you collect all of the 120 white balloons scattered throughout the island. Also present in Free Flight is the ability to collect locations and vehicle specific items. By collecting these, you will be able to unlock dioramas that can be viewed in the systems stereoscopic 3D.
Next are the game's presentation and controls. The graphics are very similar to the Air Sports mode in Wii Sports Resort, which serves as a good first impression of the systems capabilities. The game's onscreen HUD works well at relaying to you the speed, altitude, and in case of the rocket belt, the fuel of your aircraft. Stereoscopic 3D, when it works, serves as an immersive way to play the game; however, it is often the case that your eyes will wonder out of the screens sweet spot, causing a double image to appear. I have not had this problem to the same extent with any of the other 3DS titles. The touch screen is used to show a map of Wuhu Island that can be used to help navigate through both the missions and the Free Flight Mode. Music in Resort is very similar to Pilotwings 64, having a sound very reminiscent of jazz. Also notable are the game's controls. Your vehicle is controlled mainly using the circle pad, which not only feels responsive and smooth, but also very comfortable to use. This is a game that would have been much more difficult to play with the directional pad, so the circle pad is a welcome addition. Acceleration is done by the using the face buttons and in some cases, the camera can be controlled with the direction pad.
Pilotwings Resort is a great way to start of the launch of a system. The game does a good job at showing off the capabilities of the system, without feeling like nothing more than a tech demo. However, it is lacking in content and can be finished in under ten hours. Nevertheless, with the rather sparse launch lineup, Pilotwings Resort shines as one of the must have games on the system.
Pilotwings Resort is published by Nintendo and developed by Monster Games. Before I wrote this review I finished all of the game's missions with upwards of three stars each and found every item in Free Flight Mode.