2011-06-28

Pilotwings Resort – Soaring In 3D

by Yo Snyder

The Nintendo 3DS is all about 3D, but if youve read any of our
coverage of the system thus far, you know that weve actually spent most
of our time with the 3D turned off. There are varying reasons for this,
from preserving battery life to the fact that the 3D can cause
headaches, but the biggest reason is there just havent been any games
that show how using 3D makes the gaming experience better. Pilotwings Resort
doesnt really do this either, but it does make a fairly compelling
argument for leaving the 3D on; everything just looks and feels better
in this game when its in 3D. Do you need it? No. Is it better with it?
Mostly. Does it justify having a 3DS? Almost. It certainly shows the
potential the system has.

At its core, Pilotwings Resort is a simple game. You fly around the Island of WuHu, the same one from Wii Sports Resort and where you jog in Wii Fit,
and complete various challenges in either a plane, a hand glider or a
rocket pack. Or if you prefer, you can just fly around and collect
things and discover various locations scattered around the island.
Thats pretty much all there is to it, but this very simple set-up leads
to some pretty enjoyable game play.

For the missions, you have to fly around an accomplish specific
tasks. This involves everything from flying through gates to performing
stunts to collecting UFOs and escorting them back to their mother ship
(yup, you heard that right). Youre ranked on how well you do in each of
these missions, and part of the compelling nature of this game is going
for that perfect score. To do that, not only will you have to fly
precisely, but youll also have to do so quickly and youll have to land
perfectly; all of which gets harder as you earn new levels. However, if
youre looking for something a bit more relaxing, free flight mode
allows you to just fly around the island at will. Of course, while
youre doing that you can also discover various locations, perform
stunts, find collectibles and pop balloons, all of which unlocks things
such as new times of day to fly in and extends the time you have to do
free flight. If you like collecting things in games, this portion can be
particularly addicting as you might obsess over finding every little
hidden item and location around the island.

So what role does the fact that all of this can take place in 3D have in the game. Well,
simply put, the game is better in 3D. It looks better as all the
scenery and vistas have nice depth to them. It also plays better as its
easier to gauge distance as you fly through gates, around trees, under
bridges, between building and so forth. Sure you can do all of it just
fine with the 3D turned off, but its just, I dont know, more intuitive
when you see it all in 3D and can properly judge items relative space
to each other. Does it radically alter gaming as we know it? No, but it
certainly adds a certain something thats missing without it.

In many ways, Pilotwings Resort is the Wii Sports of the 3DS
system. Its a simple, easy to play game that puts the consoles main
feature, 3D graphics, front and center for all to admire. It shows how
it can be used in simple ways to subtly enhance the gaming experience.
Its not terrible in-depth or complicated, but is mainly designed just
to show the strengths of the console its on. It wont take you long to
finish the game, but it may take you a bit longer to actually complete
the game by getting perfect scores and finding all the hidden goodies. Pilotwings Resort is
a great game to whet ones appetite for what the 3DS can do, but like
an appetizer, it will only make you anticipate the main course that much
more. Lets hope it gets here soon.

Score out of 7:

Graphics: 5 – Continuing the tradition of bright, simple graphics
pioneered by Wii Sports, Pilotwings looks good. Its bright, colorful,
as some nice lighting effects, and it puts the 3D to good use. Still,
its all fairly simplistic, so its not really a showcase for what the
3DS can really do graphically.

Sound: 5 – Not much to it, here. Mostly just the wind flowing by.
Still, it all sounds decent enough, if a bit thin, but thats often the
case if you just use the DS speakers. The music is happy and upbeat
without ever becoming too annoying.

Controls: 5 – The circle pad is responsive and precise, making it
easy to perform even challenging tricks. The button layout works well so
that even precision tricks are not that hard to pull off, although when
I had to use both shoulder buttons, it felt a bit awkward.

Gameplay: 5 – Simple but compelling. The challenges in mission mode
amp up smoothly without any severe jumps in difficulty, although getting
a perfect score on every level will require some serious skills. Free
flight mode has plenty of things to collect, so beware all of you
obsessive types.

Story: N/A

Content: 7 – Good, simple, clean fun flying through the skies.

Final Score: 5 – Pilotwings Resort is a simple yet
enjoyable game. Its very much the Wii Sports of the 3DS system. It puts
the 3D effect to good use and actually made me want to play with it on
(and isnt that the point of this system?) Still, its a fairly shallow
game and it wont take too long to finish. If you want a game to show
why the 3DS is fun, this is a good one to go with.