Here it is: Padinga’s first 3DS title reviewed. Fancy, huh? To celebrate, this whole review is going to be rendered and posted at a later date in true stereoscopic! That’s right, Padinga’s going 3D.
So how does Pilotwings Resort, the latest entry in the rather small Pilotwings franchise, stack up against the other games available now for the 3DS? Join me after the jump for tales of love, betrayal, and nude pictures!
Ok, so enough with promises of 3D and nude photos. We all get it, April Fool’s Day; it’s here, let’s move on.
Pilotwings Resort follows in the footsteps of its two predecessors by embracing the latest technology on display from Nintendo. The SNES Pilotwings relied on the system’s pseudo-3D (not stereoscopic display, but the rendering of an object with “depth”) Mode 7 technology. Pilotwings 64 was another technological showcase, this time for true 3D rendering on the Nintendo 64. Given this history with dimensionality, it is only appropriate that a new version of Pilotwings graces the 3DS at launch. Having spent a good year of my childhood playing Pilotwings 64 obsessively, I’m happy to report, for better or worse, that Pilotwings Resort feels much like its brother on the N64.
Unfortunately, there are some slight problems that need to be addressed, but let’s just take a look at the title as a whole:
It’s friggin’ Pilotwings: This franchise has given us two great titles, and yet it has laid dormant for nearly fifteen years. That’s a shame, because Nintendo released two of the best console flight games in the 1990′s (Pilotwings 64 and StarFox 64) and then both franchises disappeared. Eventually StarFox got two Gamecube entries, but the less said about them the better. Pilotwings Resort clicked with me, but I’m afraid that it is largely due to nostalgia for the original title.
Mission length: One of the best things about Resort is the length of the missions. Most of the missions I’ve encountered can be completed in under 3 minutes, which makes the game friendly for handheld gaming. Since it is on Nintendo’s newest handheld, it is appropriate that most missions can be completed in the length of a short bus ride (or in my case, a reconstruction pass on motion capture data).
Mission length (bad): One of the worst things about Resort is the length of the missions. See what I did there? While the length of missions is handy for travel playing, it makes the game difficult to enjoy for long stretches of time. Just as soon as you get into the groove of flying, you’re being told to land. An excellent example was a plane mission that had me flying over fires and dumping water on them. The time to beat the mission for a perfect ranking is 1:20. I did it in 1:10. Being able to complete the mission within 70 seconds diminishes the urgency of fighting fires. Last time I checked, that should never be a ho-hum job.
Wuhu Island: The island is nice, but it lacks the variety of 64‘s mini-America. It is rather relaxing to fly around in free flight mode.
“Free flight mode? Then why the bitching about the mission length?” – Because I like missions, and I like them to be somewhat difficult. Other than sucking at landing the hang glider for a perfect score, I’ve three starred almost every mission I’ve done. The only ones that are three starred are the missions that I hit a “perfect” score on. Overall, the game doesn’t feel as challenging as the last title, and I suspect it has to do with the inclusion of Mii’s and being a launch title for the handheld market, which largely consists of younger gamers.
How’s the 3D? Sometimes it feels great, like there’s this whole beautiful tropical island before you. There have been a few moments of fancy flying where I felt confident I could make the moves, and this was only because I could see the actual distance between myself and the obstacles. Other times, it was hard to look at the plane when converged on far away items, and vice versa. My personal experience with the game has been to keep the 3D slider under a third of the way up. Anything past 50% is a bit hard to look at due to the scope of the environment.
Short and sweet, I’m digging Pilotwings Resort, but there’s nothing about it that makes me go crazy for it. The game is fun, entertaining, and not overly challenging, but it makes a good travel game and a solid entry for the 3DS.
Pilotwings Resort was played through until the final set of missions. Time spent in Free Flight mode as well. Available now for the Nintendo 3DS.