Pilotwings Resort (Hands-On) (Nintendo 3DS) Preview

By Adam Riley 02.08.2010 5

Review for Pilotwings Resort (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Pilotwings on the Super Nintendo is still hailed by many as one of the best titles on the 16-Bit hardware, showing off impressive Mode 7 graphical tricks that allowed the console to visually perform far better than many could have expected, but also including a plethora of flight-based fun that all the family could appreciate. For the launch of the Nintendo 64, Nintendo teamed up with Paradigm Entertainment to craft something even more stunning, and now a third edition is finally set to come in for landing, this time on the 3DS format. Cubed3 took an early demo version of Pilotwings Resort for a test flight at last week’s special event in London, UK.

There has been constant speculation about what was happening with the Pilotwings series, following the success of both the SNES original and Pilotwings 64. Despite both proving to be so popular around the world, a third game has simply not materialised. Thankfully, though, after the SNES edition had a strong showing on the Virtual Console and requests from gamers for a new one continue to pour in on a regular basis, Nintendo has now seen fit to resurrect the Pilotwings name. Rather than merely port across a spruced up version of the N64 game, as the company is doing with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, for Pilotwings Resort the development team is taking key elements from the past two titles and mixing the flying action with an ample dose of the location setting from the MotionPlus-enabled Wii Sports Resort for Wii in order to appeal even more to the masses and help what was previously a niche release become widely accepted by a far larger audience.

Previously it had been thought that Factor 5 was working to bring Pilotwings to the Wii, but any hope for an ultra-realistic version was dashed when the development outfit went bust. Step up Pilotwings Resort with its cheery nature and bright blue skies, allowing gamers to fly around WuHu Island (from Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit. The demo on offer had two elements to it, the first putting people in control of a small plane, trying to navigate your way through a succession of rings, with a new one appearing once one has been passed through. The latter had a little character with a jet pack strapped to his back, and the task was to burst a set number of balloons before the timer ran out. Both made great use of the flattened analogue, with the control setup working far more smoothly than the nub of the PlayStation Portable, providing perfectly accurate movement throughout, whilst the 3D effect added great depth to the world you were flying around in, even if it did take some people a while to fully adjust to the three-dimensions, having to tweak the 3D slider to prevent headaches!

Screenshot for Pilotwings Resort (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Extra Thoughts

For me, Pilotwings, along with the technology demo reel prepared by Nintendo, represented the best use of 3DS’ fancy new visual techniques. Whether you took to the jet pack or the plane, the distance sinking back into the screen was fantastic. I found that it really helped in judging my movement speed so that I did not overshoot targets or crash.

I spent the majority of my time on the plane stage of the demo (mainly because I crashed too much with the jet pack...), gently gliding through hoops around Wuhu Island. The analogue slider was perfectly suited for this, and I had no issue with it whatsoever; it’s a great, responsive alternative to an analogue stick, possibly the best thing I’ve used other than a stick for analogue movement. The plane demo also showed off the 3D a little better, as it affected the aircraft itself. The nose of the plane seemed to stretch deeper into the screen, the tail pushing closer to the ‘surface’ of it. Tiny touches like this do not seem much when first thought about, but they really do add something.

Pilotwings Resort, or whatever its final name will be, is a well-deserved return for the series and could make up for its over-long hiatus. Hopefully there will be more locations to zoom around than just the Wii Sports island in the final product, though.
- Mike Mason, Reviews Editor.

Screenshot for Pilotwings Resort (Hands-On) on Nintendo 3DS

Final Thoughts

Fans of the previous two Pilotwings releases will be pleased to know that so far it looks like Nintendo has not only delivered a superb portable edition, but in these two small demo games alone has revealed how well the 3D effects can be used for pinpoint accuracy when flying around, attempting to successfully carry out various missions. If Pilotwings Resort manages to make launch day, or at least the launch ‘window,’ then it will undoubtedly prove to be a massive sales success.


Monster Games







C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now    Also on Also on Nintendo eShop


Man, oh man! It's about damn time, Ninty! w00t!! Smilie It's a crime it's taken this long for us to get a new installment to the Pilotwings series. I was crushed when the Pilotwings title good ol' Factor 5 was developing never came to fruition several years ago (and even more so from the more recent Star Wars: Rogue Squadron compilation for Wii Smilie ).

I'm still amazed people don't recognize the fact that Wuhu Island from Wii Sports Resort is actually Holiday Island from Pilotwings 64. lol

Speaking of which, where's Pilotwings 64 for VC, Ninty?! :-x

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Why wuhu island? lets all be totally honest its a really generic looking island with no charm. A bridge here a volcano here. Blocky, repetitive textures, check!

Only reason people claim to like it is because miyo went on record to say it was meant to be like a character in itself.

I disagree completely, its quite well laid out with lots of nice bits to discover.

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What is so great to discover? the inside of the volcano? nope pretty boring inside. And you cant even walk around so your kept at arms length. From above looking at the green fields you see where the wii really suffers. Its horrible looking down at green square tiles.

If people were honest with themselves they know they would never have commented on the island itself.

mike_103131 (guest) 02.02.2011#5

Unfortunately very similar to Wii Sports Resorts Wuhu Island, maybe the same, I have high hopes for the 3D of the planes, but dont expect much from the actual physics of the jet pack thing. :/

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