Well, this one took a week longer than anticipated… Pilotwings Resort is one of those games that you can clear in 10 hours total playtime, but the kind you can only play in 20 minute to half hour bursts. Not because it’s a bad game, but it gets really taxing on the eyes, especially if you’re like me and play the whole time with 3D turned on.
In fact, let’s start by talking about the 3D effects since being the 3Ds and all, it’s the first feature that comes to mind. The extra visual depth makes Wuhu Island a marvel to look at the first time, and makes the various landmarks and locations you visit feel all the more tangible. The ruins, volcano, and caves here and there add personality to the island. Toward the end of my goal to get a 3 star ranking on each mission and unlock the Diamond Class, I had to turn off the 3D effects because it was getting distracting when it came down to just a few more points for the 3 star.
Thankfully, the game also looks really nice in 2D. In sacrificing the visual depth, the colors become more vibrant, and you don’t have to worry about your eyesight getting fucked in the event that you accidently tilt the 3DS screen. I was worried at first, never been a Mii kind of person, and with your Mii being the character you control in Pilotwings Resort, up until playing, I was scared that Wuhu Island might have some kind of shitty Mii village vibe going on. Instead, I kinda forgot that my Mii was even there, paying more attention to details like the small flashing lights on the hang glider in the night missions. Small details like that are what the game does very well, regardless of the position of the 3D slider.
The music retains the jazzy flavor from Pilotwings 64, fitting for the laid back nature of the series. Instruments sound less electronic than the older games and feel a little more vibrant (I still like some tracks from 64 a little better, but still give the composer props).
When it comes to the gameplay, they took a lot out (sorry Skydiving fans), but put in enough to make up for it. One of the biggest complaints about Pilotwings Resort I’ve been hearing is that it is pretty short. A decent player could finish the original in a couple of hours, while my total playtime for this game pushed a little past the 9 hour mark. Add in maybe 2 or 3 more hours to my estimated play length because I still have to finish the secret class and collect all the shit scattered around the resort. Unless you’re a flight sim god, there is enough challenge to keep the game going, especially if you want to unlock the hardest levels in the game, which gives incentive to do as best as you can in the normal missions.
One thing that has been revised are the scoring conditions. While there were maybe four factors for scoring in the earlier games, I’ve seen like 8 in some of these missions, which comes from the different things you encounter in each trial such as the usual rings, colored coin things that you have to grab, speed panels that you have to fly through at a high enough speed to break through, targets to shoot, temporary landing pads for the rocket belt, balloons hanging out of a truck that you shoot, musical notes trails like in Super Mario Galaxy…. not to mention the squirrel suit you get to use for a single mission. Hazards are also added such as floating spiked balls.
Crashing no longer ends the challenge, but it might as well be finished, because it gives a penalty and wastes so much time that even your time score goes down, often costing the 3 star ranking required in all missions to unlock everything (and get to watch the credits with cool 3D firework effects). You don’t need a perfect score to get 3 stars, but usually within 10 – 20 points. There’s also some weird thing where if you get a perfect score, you can do the level again to earn a score higher than perfect, but I just wanted my secret levels, doubt I’m going to go that crazy, but the feature’s there for people that would.
Pilotwings Resort lasted a little longer than I was originally lead to believe. While it lacks the wacky bonus games from 64, the super rocket belt, pedal glider and turbo jet are all awesome upgrades to the standard Pilotwings aircraft collection. Recommended to longtime fans to the series as well as people looking for a fun launch game for the 3DS. It might not be the best of the bunch, but it’s still a blast to play.
That mandatory 2 minute time limit in free flight mode is bullshit though. I agree.
Now where’s my review for Steel Diver? That game’s fucking hard, and I’m getting my ass kicked by the mission 5 boss, so until I finish that with two more subs, I can’t play mission 6 or 7 -sigh-.
Next Update : Clearing the Diamond Class and exploring those nooks and crannies that I haven’t checked out yet… still wanna see if I can go into the ruins and stuff, so I’ll be exploring this for a while.
Also, it seems you can extend your free flight time limit by collecting balloons. Hopefully it gets abolished eventually, but we’ll see.