So, I recently beat Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, and it’s a game I definitely will have fun reviewing, seeing as it was so much fun to play. However, I did end up finishing Pilotwings Resort long before it–and finishing is a loose term, but we’ll get to that in a moment–meaning I should do these things in order and talk about flying around an island for a bit before we get to sailing from island back to island back to another island.
When I bought my Nintendo 3DS, I felt a great impulse to at least get a game with it. Games and systems, y’know. They kind of go together like…games and systems. Now, fighting games are okay in my book, but I already played a bunch of Street Fighter IV on my Xbox 360, and so the next game that jumped out to me as somewhat decent was Combat of Giant Dinosaur 3D. Nah, just kidding. That title is gonna be extinct faster that those reptilian beasts it represents. My pick was Pilotwings Resort, and I was even alerted by a friendly GameStop employee that I bought the last copy available then for the public lepers. Cool.
I’ve played a small amount of Wii Sports Resorts over the past few years. Or, I’ve at least watched Tara go for a jog around Wuhu Island plenty of times to get a feel for the place. It’s cartoony and safe and colorful and filled with all the staples of a luxury getaway resort, and Nintendo decided to revisit it with the Pilotwings Resort launch title, a game all about flying above, below, and all around. The game is basically a collection of flying challenges, with three standard vehicles to pilot: a biplane, rocket belt, and hang glider. Earning points and doing well in these events will net you stars, and once a certain amount of stars have been reached you can move on to the next group of challenges. These go from bronze difficulty to platinum. The challenges range from flying through hoops and shooting colored balloons to rescuing baby UFOs for the mothership and free-fallin’ in a squirrel suit. They last about a few minutes long each, and you can always replay them to better your score; unfortunately, that only matters for advancing forward as there’s no sort of online scoreboards in place. And don’t bother trying to get better at controlling the rocket belt; it’s brutal and cruel and powered by the blood of some great demon living deep beneath the island’s volcano.
After that, you’ll be able to enjoy some free flying around Wuhu Island. With some limitations, of course. You’re given a strict time limit and a goal of collecting a slew of items: rings, Mii trophies, balloons, so on. It always feels like once you get into the groove of flying around and collecting things, the time limit has just run out. So the time limit is just a way to force replayability into a game already lacking things to do. Plus, different items show up on the island depending on the vehicle you pilot and the time of day. It’s a little ridiculous.
Unfortunately, that’s it for the game in terms of things to do. The graphics are on par with its Wii first cousin, and the 3D works perfectly for me when just up a teeny tiny bit. I tried turning it all the way up, but quickly found myself disoriented, especially since I had to constantly look away from the top screen to the bottom screen for its handy map. The music’s fun and chirpy, especially when you make a great landing, but otherwise doesn’t stand out as anything perfect.
If Pilotwings Resort had been included free with the Nintendo 3DS–like Wii Sports was for the Nintendo Wii–it’d be a much better game. At $40.00, it’s not long enough to be enjoyable, and this plastic flight lands before you know it, right back in its case, right back in your box of games you’ve played and will probably never play again.