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PilotWings: Resort Review

by: Austin ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

The last time we saw a PilotWings game was on the Nintendo 64, but now, 15 years later, we get a full fledged sequel in true glasses-free 3D. The question is: Does it live up to the hype?

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    15 Years... But Was It Worth It?

    PilotWings: Resort has been a very long time coming. In the 15 years since the last game in the series, PilotWings 64, came out, we've heard numerous rumors and fabled announcements that had us on the edge of our seat until this past March, when Nintendo finally released a sequel to the critically acclaimed Nintendo 64 game, titled PilotWings: Resort.

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    Gameplay

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    PilotWings: Resort is a game about being up in the air, enjoying the view, and completing various stunts and tasks to win stars/points/etc. There are six vehicles you can fly, ranging from the easy to control airplane to the more dodgy rocket belt (essentially a jetpack), and all of them have their ups and downs in terms of level design and controllability. There are six "ranks" of missions in the game (Training, Bronze, Silver, Gold, etc etc), and each rank has 6-9 missions to complete. In total, this gives you about 36 missions to run through, and going back to get a perfect score on each one nearly triples the time you'll spend on it. All in all, you can expect a good 15 hours of game play from PilotWings: Resort.

    Aside from the "main game", PilotWings: Resort offers a "Free Flight" mode that allows you to fly around the island in a vehicle of your choice for a dedicated amount of time (~3 minutes) to gather stunt rings, trophies, and various other objects that are, for the most part, used simply as a way to extend the play time of the game. This is both a blessing and a curse for a few reasons. It's a blessing because while it is a little cheapening, it is something more to do and therefore makes the game a better value. It's a curse, however, because all it does is remind you that the game could be so much more. Instead of these cheap side missions, you could have some really intricate mission construction or something that would really elongate the game and make it worthwhile. Nevertheless, it's a good experience in itself and will certainly have you coming back for more.

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    Controls Are King

    When it comes down to it, PilotWings has a lot to offer. 36 missions and a pretty in depth side-mode will keep you busy anywhere from 10-30 pr-2 hours, but the real reason that this game succeeds is because of one thing alone: Controls. The game is fun to play, regardless of whether you're winning, losing, or just plain not doing the mission at hand at all. There's no need to feel the satisfaction of beating something, nor even complete objectives at all. Flying around aimlessly is, at its core, fun, and that's what Nintendo has always been good at: Putting fun above all else. This simple philosophy carries over into PilotWings: Resort, as it does with Nintendo's other games like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid; just don't expect something that will draw you in for hours at a time and keep you immersed in a great tale of heroism and love... or something like that.

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    Sound and Music

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    To say that PilotWings: Resort has a good soundtrack would be a massive understatement. To say it has a nearly perfect soundtrack would be slightly close to the truth. Composed by relatively new composer Asuki Ito, the musical score to Resort features some of the smoothest, most calming jazz beats ever to grace a video game, and if there's one thing that veterans of this series won't be disappointed by, it's this. Perfectly capturing the calming nature of blissfully soaring through the evening sky on a hang glider, Ito's fantastic compositional skills could- and no one would blame you for saying this- be the best part about the game.

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    Aesthetics

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    If you played the remarkably popular Wii title Wii Sports Resort, the graphical style for most of PilotWings: Resort will be familiar with you. All the colors are extremely saturated, as Nintendo has been known for, and while this gives off an almost childish vibe, I'd venture to argue that it's refreshing in a day and age where almost all games seem to aim for a greyed-out, gritty realism.

    The reason this art style ultimately succeeds in the end is because, when combined with the music and sound effects in the game, everything comes together incredibly seamlessly. Suspension of disbelief is never an issue, as the world is extremely coherent and consistent with its aesthetic, and at the end of the day that's what graphics are about; not polygon count or realism.

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    Bottom Line? Controls Are King.

    When it comes down to it, PilotWings has a lot to offer. 36 missions and a pretty in depth side-mode will keep you busy anywhere from 10-30pr-6  hours, but the real reason that this game succeeds is because of one thing alone: Controls. The game is fun to play, regardless of whether you're winning, losing, or just plain not doing the mission at hand at all. There's no need to feel the satisfaction of beating something, nor even complete objectives at all. Flying around aimlessly is, at its core, fun, and that's what Nintendo has always been good at: Putting fun above all else.

    This simple philosophy carries over into PilotWings: Resort, as it does with Nintendo's other games like Mario, Zelda, and Metroid; just don't expect something that will draw you in for hours at a time and keep you immersed in a great tale of heroism and love... or something like that.

    Overall Score: 7.5/10

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    References:

    1. Information is all based on the author's experience with the game PilotWings: Resort.

    2. Images come from NintendoEverything.com.