Pilotwings Resort - First Impressions

by: Russell -
Being the big Nintendo fan that I am I was quite eager to pick up my 3DS I pre-ordered as well as a couple games.  Of course I picked up Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition and the game's pretty good (unless I'm trying to do special moves using the analog nub or D-Pad, then it gets tricky), but I've seen plenty of news, reports, and videos on SSFIV.  Instead I figured I'd focus on the other game I picked up: Pilotwings Resort.  I was a little late to the Pilotwings franchise as I didn't play either the N64 or Super NES versions until somewhere around late high school, but as bad as I was at hang gliding they were fun games.  Pilotwings Resort continues the fun and now you can take it on the go.

First since this is the 3DS I want to briefly bring up my experience with the 3D slider.  I'm one of the few people that I know personally that can tolerate the full 3D effect for at least a few minutes.  I do find myself sliding back and forth between full 3D and just above having it on at all when my eyes kind of hurt.  Then again I've had eyesight problems since before Kindergarten so that explains my problems.  Still the 3D effect is nice and definitely worth a look at even the lowest settings.

When you start out you can chose one of two different modes: Mission Flight Mode and Free Flight Mode.  Free Flight Mode is just that: you can pick any of the three aircraft available (plane, hang glider, or rocket belt...my personal favorite) and just fly around the island during one of three times of day (so far I only have Daytime unlocked but I can probably take a wild guess what the other two are) for about two minutes.  During this time be on the lookout for white balloons and "i" marks.  The balloons will give you more time (and fuel for the rocket belt) while the "i"s will unlock different times of day to fly in.  The catch to the balloons is that not all of them can be broken by the same aircraft, so you'll have to master all three aircraft to collect everything.  This is also a good chance to practice with a particular aircraft that you're having trouble with.

The meat of the game though is Mission Flight Mode.  If you recall all the fun and exciting missions from Pilotwings and Pilotwings 64 then this is for you.  You start out only being able to do Training but as you collect medals you can move on to Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  I'm working on Silver as we speak and aside from the normal missions like collecting score balls, flying through rings (wait, is this Pilotwings, Star Fox, or Superman 64?), and making perfect landings (which is where I'm not a master of the hang glider) there are also some events that just make you scratch your head.  For instance the third rocket belt event in the Silver missions has you donning a squirrel suit to dive through some rings.  I'm not making this up and it's actually kind of fun.

So far I've put a couple hours into the game, some of it in Mission Flight Mode, some in Free Flight Mode, and some of it just goofing around and seeing how badly I can crash with the hang glider (not all of it on purpose mind you).  If you remember how the aircraft worked in the other games it's similar here so adapting from older games to this one will probably feel right at home.  I feel that this is quite a solid 3DS launch title, especially during a launch void of Ocarina of Time, Star Fox, Kid Icarus, and the Virtual Console (dang it I want my Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening).  Whether you've been a huge Pilotwings fan from the Super NES days or just giving it a go for the first time I definitely recommend picking up Pilotwings Resort.
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