3DS

North America

Pilotwings Resort

by Neal Ronaghan - March 20, 2011, 3:58 pm PDT
Total comments: 25

8

Does this launch title soar or crash?

Pilotwings Resort is, at its base, a wonderful showpiece for the 3DS. The graphics pop almost literally, and the 3D actually affects the gameplay in subtle ways, giving you a wondrous sense of depth. In more detail, Pilotwings Resort is a playful flight simulation focused on exploration and high score chasing that, while a little on the short side, is a full-featured quality launch title.  

Technically, this is the newest Pilotwings game since the launch of the Nintendo 64, but this title is more of a sequel to Wii Sports Resort, as it features the same locale and graphical style as the Wii MotionPlus showcase title. It takes the Air Sports segment of the game and turns it into a full experience, with two main modes: Mission and Free Flight. Consisting of more than 30 stages, the Mission mode allows you to utilize three types of vehicles. Free Flight lets you take those vehicles out for a leisurely spin in two or more minute runs while you collect various trinkets to unlock throwaway content.  



The three vehicles all control differently, and feature a few variations. The plane controls simply, with automatic acceleration, a boost, and a brake. The rocket belt, a known commodity to Pilotwings veterans, is trickier to control, requiring players to angle the jet pack's thrusters to propel their character. However, it is a fun challenge, especially since you can make use of the 3D to accurately see where you're moving. The third vehicle, the hang glider, is based around hitting pockets of hot air that elevate you, and then using the gained altitude wisely to complete goals. Each vehicle features a variation, including the jet plane, the skydiving squirrel suit, and the pedal glider.  

The missions are varied, and none of them feel repetitive. While the number of missions might be low, there isn't a lot of fluff, making Pilotwings Resort's missions a focused experience. It gets very difficult in the final stages, and the quest for the perfect run in each mission is alluring.  

Free Flight takes the structure of the missions and throws it out the window. Instead, completionists can rejoice as each vehicle has its own specific set of items to discover on Wuhu Island. The information points that served as the crux of Wii Sports Resort's Air Sports section return, and some of them are humorously updated to reflect the passage of time since the prior game.  



The world, while a little less active than it was on Wii, is lovely to look at, especially when you throw in the beautiful particle effects that are bolstered by the 3D. It's one of the first games that has made me enjoy a lens flare because of how it looks on the 3D screen. The sound is equal parts gentle and intense, ramping up for more difficult missions and slowing down for Free Flight.  

If you enjoyed the other Pilotwings titles and/or Air Sports in Wii Sports Resort, then Pilotwings Resort is right for you. The subtle ways that the 3D affects the gameplay, combined with the excellent controls and mission variety, makes for a great experience.

Summary

Pros
  • Mission variety
  • Responsive controls
  • Rocket belt is still awesome
Cons
  • Light on content

Talkback

OblivionMarch 21, 2011

Excellent review, Neal! I just preordered Pilotwings last night. Can't wait to play it.

AVMarch 21, 2011

:cool; 


Can't wait to play this next week. I took a gamble and bought this already (preordered and paid in full) and i'm glad this bet has paid off.

My only experience with PilotWings was renting the N64 game once, and I don't think I've put more than 15 or 20 minutes into the Air Sports mode in Wii Sports Resort, so I'm going into this about as fresh as you can. This review made me very confident in my choice to preorder the game.

KnowsNothingMarch 21, 2011

This is the only launch game I am even remotely interested in and it's so fucking lazy that it might just make me cancel my pre-order.  I'm sure it's fun enough but there doesn't seem to be a lot of content and the whole thing takes place on the same stupid island that I already explored in Wii Sports Resort.  And they want $40 for this?  They started with Pilotwings 64, took out half the vehicles, all but one of the islands, and every last bit of the charm.

So much potential, such little effort.

Scatt-ManMarch 21, 2011

Resident Aussie complainer here. We have an extra half of a month to wait before this game comes out for some reason, and God knows whenever Steel Diver's gonna get here, but yeah, I'm definitely looking forward to this one.

Just like KnowsNothing, I too am getting a bit tired of this 'lack of content' that seems to be flying around at Nintendo these days whenever they think there's a chance that the game'll appeal to the 'casual' market. Appealing to the casuals and a low amount of content don't have to go hand-in-hand, Nintendo. You're only enforcing the stereotype that casual gamers crave cheap and lazy throw-away games. OHWAIT, didn't Iwata say those types of throw-away games were bad at his GDC speech? HRM!!

I guess this game still seems like it'll easily get plenty of more use out of it when compared to the *makes explosive noise with mouth* Steel Diver. So many years in development *cough* and it's only seven missions long? Gawd, it looks like I'm just begging to get one of those "If you don't like it, then piss off" comments, but Ninty...*sniff* I've always been a fanboy, but they make it so easy to point out glaringly obvious flaws these days.

Dancing_RobotMarch 21, 2011

Preordered this back when I first knew the launch titles were. I made a good choice, I see. I'm genuinely excited to play this on sunday.  ;D

ShyGuyMarch 21, 2011

When I retire, I'm going to move to Wuhu Island.

Scatt-ManMarch 21, 2011

Quote from: ShyGuy

When I retire, I'm going to move to Wuhu Island.

We can both become cheap alcoholics and sleep in the sword fighting arena! "You wanna sword ffphight? I'll give ya a sthworr*grumbles and grabs crotch before passing out.*" Ah, the dream.  :D

StogiMarch 21, 2011

Wait so there is they took out the stunt canon? That one was my favorite!

Ian SaneMarch 21, 2011

Describing it as more of a sequel to Wii Sports Resort seems like a good way to let people make the call if the game sounds like it's up their alley or not.  For me that means this is an instant ignore.  For others that might get them more interested than a straight Pilotwings sequel would.  The review is more or less saying "this is what it is" without stating outright if that's a good or bad thing.

The game sounds like a lazy effort to me, which is something I associate with literally EVERY Mii title.  It sounds like they looked at the Air Sports in Wii Sports Resort and figured "hey would could turn this into Pilotwings and we don't even have to create a new locale or make characters or anything!"  It looks like a very deliberate effort to cut corners.

They could have reused Wuhu Island as one of multiple locales (even just one of two would probably be fine) and they could have still used the Miis to get that Wii Sports brand association while making something bigger than Pilotwings 64.  It seems like with the Mii games they always could go bigger but don't.  It really feels like they go with the bare minimum and the only justification for doing that would be to take advantage of the casual market.  You don't half-ass it repeatedly unless you can get away with it.

MVMarch 21, 2011

I, too, am a bit saddened by the lack of content here, but launch titles have never really been huge games. With the exception of Super Mario 64 DS, most of Nintendo's first-party launch games have all been rather sparse. I'll still pick this up, though. Love me some Pilotwings!

leahsdadMarch 22, 2011

Wow, maybe it's because I'm a bit older and have 2 kids, but I don't mind the content (or lack thereof).

Maybe it's Lindemann syndrome, but I don't like games that are too long and have trouble finishing them (and stop playing them when I realize I will never finish them).  It seems like the only really bad thing I've heard about this and Steel Diver is that they're short and they have no multiplayer, which are non-issues for me.

I know a lot of people point to laziness, but I seem to remember reading an interview with Miyamoto back in the day (2005 or 6, right before the Wii), he was complaining about how games were too long and he thought that detracted from their quality.  I have to agree.  I think there were parts of Twilight Princess that could have been cut out (my save file when I finished said 40 hours, for crissake). 

Anyway, for all the complainers, this launch lineup is still better than DS or the GBA.  Correction:  this LAUNCH DAY lineup is still better.

While you can take my comments as "lolgamepressgetsgames4free," I really dig this game and I would've gladly paid $40 for this alongside a launch purchase of the system. The length doesn't bother me in the same way the length in Excite Truck/Excitebots didn't bother me. I might be done for now, but I'll come back and try to get Platinums on each level. I also really enjoy flying around the island in the different vehicles looking for collectibles. The reward for the collectibles suck, but I like checking out all the nooks and crannies of this island.

Would it be cool if there were more islands and vehicles? Of course, but the game is still really good.

KnowsNothingMarch 22, 2011

It's not really the length of the game that bothers me as much as the scope.  Pilotwings only had around twelve missions but they were spread out over multiple areas and as you progressed you unlocked different vehicles that completely changed the way the game was played.  The birdman, cannon, skydiving, and...jump boot things...were all completely different game modes that added a lot of value even if they were "extras."

So yeah, Pilotwings Resort might actually be longer because it has twice as many missions and a free flight mode with actual goals, but they still limit you to one area (WHICH WE'VE ALREADY EXPLORED) and no extra game play options.

I guess I was a bit harsh earlier but I'm still pretty upset at the missed opportunity.  But I shouldn't complain about what could have been and instead enjoy the game as it is.  I know I'll have fun with it but at the back of my mind I'll always wish there was more.

GoldenPhoenixMarch 22, 2011

Quote from: KnowsNothing

It's not really the length of the game that bothers me as much as the scope.  Pilotwings only had around twelve missions but they were spread out over multiple areas and as you progressed you unlocked different vehicles that completely changed the way the game was played.  The birdman, cannon, skydiving, and...jump boot things...were all completely different game modes that added a lot of value even if they were "extras."

So yeah, Pilotwings Resort might actually be longer because it has twice as many missions and a free flight mode with actual goals, but they still limit you to one area (WHICH WE'VE ALREADY EXPLORED) and no extra game play options.

I guess I was a bit harsh earlier but I'm still pretty upset at the missed opportunity.  But I shouldn't complain about what could have been and instead enjoy the game as it is.  I know I'll have fun with it but at the back of my mind I'll always wish there was more.

I understand your point. With me I never collected everything in Wii Sports Resort in the free flight so there are still new things for me to see. Wuhu island is still a brilliantly designed place, and let's face it Miyamoto said it was going to show up in other games so it is not a shock. Also not everyone has played Wii Sports Resort.

Am I disappointed it doesn't have an extra island, yes. But it should still be fun.

Ian SaneMarch 22, 2011

Quote:

I, too, am a bit saddened by the lack of content here, but launch titles have never really been huge games. With the exception of Super Mario 64 DS, most of Nintendo's first-party launch games have all been rather sparse.


But both previous Pilotwings games were launch titles for their respective systems.  So I think it's completely fair and reasonable for this to match the scope of those.

MVMarch 22, 2011

Ah, whoops. Forgot to include that I only meant handhelds. D'oh.

coffeewithgamesMarch 23, 2011

"The length doesn't bother me in the same way the length in Excite Truck/Excitebots didn't bother me."
ExciteBots wasn't really a short game, and it had online multi-player, as well as local multi-player.

It seems that Nintendo published 3DS release titles are really lite on content, and not worth the $40 they're asking for them, at least for me.
I tried Pilotwings Resort the last two days at a demo station, and haven't been impressed with the demo for the game.

Does Madden on the 3DS not offer some good game-play, but it's just lite on content as well?

ShyGuyMarch 23, 2011

Coffee With Games, stirring it up!

Heyo!

coffeewithgamesMarch 23, 2011

I actually drink it black, so no stirring involved.  :D

I wasn't directly comparing those games. If you want to be that anal, then I'll only compare it to Excite Truck, which had an aborted two-player mode as its addition to the main game. I'd rather have the Free Flight than a crappy two-player mode.

Also, re:Madden, that is true. I assume you're trying to make some point that both of these games should have the same score or something. They shouldn't, because Pilotwings is a much better game.

NintendoFanboyMarch 23, 2011

Wow was excited hopin to get a 3DS and pilot wings and asphult 3D
day one.  But pilot wings sounds like the best launch game im not getting.
All the early reviews im hereing , seem to point to the 3ds not being worth the money, games are to expensive and u have to fight to keep the 3d working.
Yea, i like what i read here about Pilot wings, but as big a nintendo
fan as i am, im thinking that its time to let a launch go by, and sit on
my hands.

FYI thanks for the review Neal, excellent job. (seriously)

coffeewithgamesMarch 24, 2011

Quote from: NWR_Neal

I wasn't directly comparing those games. If you want to be that anal, then I'll only compare it to Excite Truck, which had an aborted two-player mode as its addition to the main game. I'd rather have the Free Flight than a crappy two-player mode.

Also, re:Madden, that is true. I assume you're trying to make some point that both of these games should have the same score or something. They shouldn't, because Pilotwings is a much better game.

Not being anal, just pointing out that ExciteBots had a few features to add to its length, on top of its single-player races.


As for Madden vs. Pilotwings, not saying they should be the same score, but perhaps they are both too high in price(and scores) for the content they're offering...or not offering, when based on their prices IMO.
I read that Pilotwings Resort can be completed in 2-3, and if that's the case, $40 is way too much IMO.
Perhaps they both play well, and use the 3D effect in good ways, but they seem to be "lite" versions of what I would expect from $40 retail games.

It's NWR policy to not consider the price of a game when writing its review.

Keep on ignoring Excite Truck then. As I said, that's the more apt comparison.

I, personally, spent about five hours with Pilotwings. I completed the missions (but didn't get perfect scores on each one), and fooled around in Free Flight. I don't feel like the game was that lacking. If I paid $40 for this game, I wouldn't have been upset. Even still, I really enjoyed the game. It is a good game that, yes, is a little light on content. Also, as Insanolord said, we don't take price into consideration for the most part (exceptions, like Rock Band Track Packs, exist).

With Madden, its barren, but the main game of football feels very good.

You keep on saying "IMO" in your posts. Take that into consideration more. This is my opinion, and you have yours. We're both entitled to it.

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Pilotwings Resort Box Art

Genre Action
Developer Monster Games

Worldwide Releases

na: Pilotwings Resort
Release Mar 27, 2011
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone
jpn: Pilotwings Resort
Release Apr 14, 2011
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: PilotWings Resort
Release Mar 25, 2011
PublisherNintendo
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