|Dev: Monster Games Inc|
|Release: March 27, 2011|
|Screen Resolution: N/A|
In addition to the mission mode, there is also a Free Flight mode. But don't be fooled by the name, as this mode doesn't just let you fly around Wuhu Island without purpose. The main goal in free flight mode is to fly around the island looking for collectibles. Get enough of these collectibles, and you'll unlock new options in the game (like Night Flight mode). Though none of the rewards are really anything to write home about, Free Flight mode keeps a running checklist of all the unlockables you've found, and when there's only a handful left, it can be very satisfying to find the last few items hidden in the nooks and crannies of Wuhu Island. Despite flying around it several times for the mission mode, there is a lot of undiscovered depth to the Wuhu Island setting, and exploring it can be satisfying if you need a break from the ridiculous difficulty of the mission mode.
Ironically, even though the game can be blisteringly difficult at times, the visuals are extremely tranquil. The sun always seems to be shining on Wuhu Island, and the sun reflections, gentle ocean waves, and lighthouse landmark all look beautiful. Sure, you may be swearing at your system for giving you a two-star rating yet again, but at least the view is nice. The 3D is also implemented well in Pilotwings, and actually improves the gameplay when enabled. You can see obstacles and gauge distances a lot better when the 3D is turned on, and I found myself to be a much better pilot when looking at things in 3D. There are a few gimmicky moments with the 3D (like when you fly over a suspension bridge), but the visuals mostly just add depth and perspective to the game.
Although I found myself really liking Pilotwings Resort, I couldn't shake the feeling that there just wasn't enough to the game. Though the 40+ missions in Mission Mode will take you quite a while to master, and there's a lot to explore in the Free Flight mode, the experience felt like it was missing something overall. There's no multiplayer mode, no dedicated time trial or raw scoring mode, and no StreetPass or AR mode. In a Nintendo 3DS launch title, I assumed that Pilotwings Resort would have pulled out all the stops and laid the features on thick, similarly to the way Nintendogs + Cats, and even Super Street Fighter IV: 3D Edition have. However, as it is, the whole package feels a little too simplistic, and comes off as almost like an elongated tech demo. Granted, it is a fun tech demo, and it will keep you amused for a few days. But after between ten and twelve hours, after you have beaten the mission mode and thoroughly explored Wuhu Island, what is there to draw you back in to Pilotwings Resort? Nothing.
I really like Pilotwings Resort, and if you are a fan of flying games, this title is definitely worth your time. However, if you have issues with challenging gameplay, or crave an experience that will last more than a few days, you may want to hold off on this one. I would really love to give this one a hearty recommendation, as I found plenty of enjoyment flying the various flying machines around and completing missions. But the game's lack of content makes this one you should approach with trepidation if you aren't immediately interested in the flying game's premise.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Senior Contributing Writer