Wii

North America

Wing Island

by Steven Rodriguez - May 9, 2007, 12:22 am PDT
Total comments: 4

7

The game is really fun, but it's also really short.

The trend in the gaming industry is to move away from long, epic games. Instead, developers are designing fun-to-play games that won't take hours away from the daily routine. Wing Island is one such game, although Hudson might have gone too far with the small game concept here.

But before that, it must be known that the game is a blast to play. Plane movement is done with up/down remote tilts and left/right remote twists, which are extremely responsive. The turning radius of your plane can be adjusted by speeding up or slowing down with the remote D-Pad. Advanced maneuvers such as a 180-degree quick turn can be achieved by a quick remote flick to the left or right. It's also possible to boost or brake via a forward or reverse remote thrust, although those moves are tricky to pull off without accidentally doing something else.

The ease of flight and tight controls are why Wing Island is fun. Adjusting altitude to pluck a container from the ground in one of the game's cargo missions is as simple as moving your wrist. Racing around a turn in a cave at high speed is fantastic, and you don't even need the most steady hands in the world to do it. If you're really brave, you can fly through a building-filled town at ground level going between as many buildings as you dare.

If you decide to stop buzzing around for fun, you can try the game's missions. There are different types: Finding objects, crop dusting, plane racing, balloon popping, cargo delivery, bombing, and photography. Within these types, the task at hand may change. You may be fertilizing fields in one mission, but in another you'll need to drop water over a fire to help extinguish it. This variety means you won't be doing the same thing in the same way in a different mission.

Each mission takes place on one of the game's three island levels. Once you complete four missions on a level, four more appear and the next island opens up for play. Missions only take two or three minutes to complete, and therefore you'll unlock the second and third islands relatively quickly. Once you finish the final mission on the third island, which shouldn't take more than two or three hours, you'll see the end credits.

Yes, the credits. In less than three hours, you will probably have beaten the game. The extra missions on the islands are still there to complete, but there's no more required gaming on your part. From that point on, you'll be playing the game just to enjoy playing it.

That's not really a bad thing, though, since the game is such a joy to play. You will go back to play the extra stages, and in doing so, you'll get to earn enough money to buy faster planes that make it much easier to attain a good ranking on a mission. A high ranking gets you a medal, and the only way to get one of the best planes in the game is to medal on every level. This task might take you a while, but the other best plane is available for you to purchase after beating the game, which doesn't take a while at all.

Wing Island also comes with two-player competitive modes. You can race against a buddy on one of nine courses (three on each island). There's an exclusive multiplayer mode that starts off each competitor with a string of balloons behind their planes, and the goal is to pop your opponent's balloons before yours get popped. This mode is actually quite frantic, and requires strategy to position yourself to protect your own balloon string. The nice thing about multiplayer is that it doesn't require two Wii remotes. If you just have one remote and a nunchuck, player two can fully control his or her plane with the attachment, since it has the same tilt sensitivity as the main remote.

The multiplayer modes can be played against a CPU opponent, and that brings a little more replay value to the title. However, as you begin to wrap up gold medals on the missions and stacking on the upgrades to your planes, it becomes clear that Wing Island is really a one-trick pony. Even if it's a really great trick, it gets stale rather quickly.

Wing Island is meant for the non-gamer crowd, although pros will find there's a great deal of enjoyment inside. The game's lack of content is the big killer here, but it's still crazy fun to explore what's there. For that reason, Wing Island is a game that everyone should check out in one form or another. You may think twice about buying it, but don't hesitate to at least rent it.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
6 6 8.5 7 5.5 7
Graphics
6

Being able to see an entire island from the air is good, but there isn't much island to see. The few places that have a fair amount of detail, particularly Relic Island's town, don't save the game from a general simplicity. Though this is one of those Wii games where the “graphics don't matter," it wouldn't have hurt to see more eye candy. The system is certainly capable of it.

Sound
6

The music is upbeat and flows well with the scope of the missions you'll need to do, but altogether the sound package is merely “okay."

Control
8.5

Fun, fun, fun. Controlling a single plane works fantastically, and when handling five planes at once the different formations are easy enough to switch between. The amount of fine control you have over your planes is very impressive. Although sketchy recognition of remote thrusts for boosting, braking, and hard turning sometimes mess you up at critical times, most other mistakes you make are probably your own fault.

Gameplay
7

Flying around in the plane is most of the fun by itself. The different mission variations offer different scenarios for how you need to fly the planes around and will keep you coming back to get gold medals. The first few times through, however, you'll wonder how it's even possible to get any money to pay for parts and repairs.

Lastability
5.5

Wing Island is abruptly short. Just as you start getting a hang of the flight controls, and just as the missions start to get really interesting, you'll see the end credits. More missions unlock after completing each island, and the multiplayer modes are surprisingly fun, but after that point how long you want to keep playing is dependent on how much you want to get everything.

Final
7

Wing Island is a very fun game that just doesn't have enough content to make it a long-term investment. You'll definitely still play it after beating the game, but even if it feels great to fly around, you'll wish there were more islands and more missions to flesh out the concept. I don't think there's enough here for a purchase, even at a $40 price point, but it's definitely something that should be played. Rent it or borrow it as soon as you can.

Summary

Pros
  • Good mission variety
  • Good multiplayer options
  • Plane controls are fun
Cons
  • Boost and brake doesn't always work when needed
  • Game ends just as things start to get really good
  • Needs a lot more content
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

Wow, a positive review! ... WAIT! OTHER PLACES HAVE BEEN HITTING THIS GAME HARD! NWR! I SMELL ANOTHER SUPER SWING GOLF!!!

... But I want this game now... *stares at empty wallet* ... but my Wii shopping honeymoon period is over...

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

Infernal MonkeyMay 09, 2007

Good review. I actually didn't think much of any of the games missions, especially the ones where you have to spray fields and stuff. I only went through them to unlock the awesome free flight option for each level. <3

WindyManSteven Rodriguez, Staff AlumnusMay 09, 2007

I didn't check other review scores until after I finished my review. (It's my personal policy.) I was stunned that this game got so many negative reviews. I had a blast with it.

And I have something to add to my review, off the record. I stand by my lastability score (5.5), but you'll probably want to get all the gold medals. The super-secret last "plane" you can unlock is out of this world...

Darn it NWR. You just sold me on the game...

~Carmine "Cai" M. Red
Kairon@aol.com

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Wing Island Box Art

Genre Simulation
Developer Hudson Soft
Players1 - 2
Controllers

Worldwide Releases

na: Wing Island
Release Mar 20, 2007
PublisherKonami
RatingEveryone
jpn: Wing Island
Release Dec 02, 2006
PublisherHudson Soft
RatingAll Ages
eu: Wing Island
Release Apr 13, 2007
PublisherHudson Soft
Rating3+
aus: Wing Island
Release Q2 2007
PublisherNintendo

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