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Platform

3DS

 

Genre

Simulation

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Nintendo / Monster Games

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

March 27, 2011

 

 

- Easy to learn, smooth-controlling aircraft
- Scoring system encourages multiple playthroughs
- Colorful visuals, locales

 

 

- Paltry amount of modes means the whole game can be experienced in under an hour
- 3D effect requires fiddling with the settings
- Lack of leaderboards for online friends

 

 

Review: Nintendogs + Cats (3DS)

Review: Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition (3DS)

Review: X-Wing Trilogy (PC)

 

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Pilotwings Resort

Score: 7.0 / 10

 

pilotwings resort         pilotwings resort

 

Itís always an exciting moment in gaming history when Nintendo releases a new system, be it a home console or handheld device. This year, gamers are treated to the latter with Nintendoís new 3DS system, which offers a revolutionary 3D effect without the need for glasses.

Naturally, such a highly anticipated system should open up with a killer launch title featuring one of the Big Nís most respected franchises. Instead, the company opted to give the honor to Pilotwings, which has a respectable cult audience but nowhere near the amount of followers that Mario, Link, or Pikachu tend to bring out in droves.

While the lack of such a title at launch tends to bring back uncomfortable memories of the Nintendo Gamecube, one needs to remember that Pilotwings has served as a

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- 3DS Game Reviews

- Simulation Game Reviews

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launch title not once but twice before in Nintendoís lifetime, with the seriesí last stint being served on the Nintendo 64. After over a decade of dormancy, does the cartoony flight simulator have enough gas to help propel Nintendoís 3D handheld to new heights?

In this third installment, Nintendo has done away with the seriesí quirky yet forgettable cast of pilots, and instead lets gamers use their

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custom Mii characters to take part in the aviation adventures. You and your virtual avatar have applied for a pilot license in Wuhu Island, and are immediately tested to fully utilize the three types of primary aircraft: planes, rocket belts, and hand gliders. You start off in the Training League, and will soon graduate to Bronze after getting accustomed to each vehicle. From there, itís all a matter of how high you can soar (and score) for those big points in order to advance to Silver, Gold, and eventually Platinum.

Each mission features a straightforward goal, which mostly comes down to collecting enough points (via floating rings, balloons, or whatever else) before crossing the finish line. The methods to scoring differ with each vehicle in a variety of fun and clever ways: one mission while piloting the plane has you shooting balloons behind a speeding car, while another has you drift down inside an active volcano while wearing the rocket belt. The real highlight is the seldom-used ďFlying Squirrel SuitĒ that basically mixes sky-diving with gliding.

Each of the vehicles control differently, but are all easy to learn; the plane can pivot left and right, and can even do barrel rolls (and without the aid of an anthropomorphic rabbit, to boot); the rocket belt can let players hover idly in the air or set its thrusters vertically, Rocketeer style; Lastly, the hand glider relies on the small pockets of wind to maintain high altitudes. Unlike other flight simulators, Pilotwings takes the casual approach to its controls and allows for smooth sailing across the skies.

 

pilotwings resort          pilotwings resort

 

The real challenge is mastering each course, which can be deceptively difficult; every action taken by players, from the speed in which they collect points to the smoothness of their landing, has an effect on the overall score, which is summarized by how many stars (out of three) you can obtain. While a perfect score in each mission isnít necessary to advance in the tier leagues, it can and will drive completionists up the wall for hours on end. In that respect, Pilotwings Resort is a bit like Yoshiís Story on the N64; you can reach the end in under 2 hours, but will have to invest much more time in order to unlock every bonus vehicle, mission, and even the ďrealĒ credits.

In another respect, itís also like Wii Sports, a launch game that also had the primary goal of showing off the technological capabilities of its new system. For the 3DS, the use of Miis is second only to the 3D visuals, which is showcased in full force. In theory, the technology works, with the Miiís little aircraft seemingly popping in front of your eyes along with other objects scaling toward you. The problem, at least as far as this reviewer is concerned, is that the 3D is cranked up a bit too high, causing a case of double-vision for the Mii and other objects. Thus, itís recommended that the 3D slider be turned down to below half-level, although again this may be entirely dependent on the individual playing. Of course, thereís always the option to turn off the 3D completely, but in the case of Pilotwings, the textures actually look more washed out and jaggy when in 2D, and since the framerate is exactly the same on both settings, itís overall more recommended to leave the 3D slider turned up, even if just slightly.

Ultimately, thereís not much else to tell with Pilotwings Resort. For folks looking for a quick and casual experience, this game fits the bill, but for early adopters hoping for a meatier experience to go with their big system purchase, they may be disappointed. In either case, Nintendo would have done the game a bigger service had they chosen to pack it along with the 3DS as a free tech demo like they did Wii Sports. While itís ultimately a longer experience than the Wiiís launch game, itís still just a small appetizer to the bigger dishes to be served down the road.

 

- Jorge Fernandez

(April 29, 2011)

 

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