| Pilotwings Resort
Nintendo hardware launches have been missing that certain something for over a decade now, but finally the 3DS is ready to accommodate our high-flying desires.
Both the SNES and the Nintendo 64 were blessed with a day-one Pilotwings release, and now Pilotwings Resort is looking to engage our love for careful sky-swooping all over again.
Expanding on the flight mini-game found in Wii Sports Resort, the game provides a handful of skyfaring vehicles and lets you loose in the clouds above the quaint Wuhu Island.
It's not as easy as just falling off a plane: you're tasked with gliding through stunt rings and landing on carefully positioned platforms, all the while making sure not to clip your wings on the rocks or divebomb into the water below.So fly
Within minutes, it's immediately noticeable how smoothly Pilotwings Resort handles.
Swoops and turns are effortless, and you always feel fully in control. When our Mii pilot was forced to deploy the ejector parachute, it was always due to our own error rather than dodgy controls.
In fact, the action felt so spot-on that we actually caught ourselves squirming, willing the plane around corners and under bridges, as if we were in flight ourselves.
The main Mission mode throws a series of challenges your way, starting with simple 'fly through all the rings' and eventually building up to more difficult manoeuvres.
The three main vehicles handle completely differently. Your plane can fly in any direction, and is generally the easiest to control, although you'll be required to throw in some stunts and boosts later in the game.
The hang-glider is by far the most relaxing and enjoyable ride. Swooping down through rings feels wonderfully natural, and catching a ride in an air thermal draft can allow your Mii to reach dizzying heights.
Pilotwings Resort also supplies a jetpack that takes some skill to master. Balancing fuel usage against speed is the key to bagging the most points and claiming those coveted perfect scores.Swooperman
The most enjoyable experiences, however, come from the secret unlockable flight methods.
While we won't spoil too much, it's impossible for us not to mention the Squirrel Suit. Thrown from a seriously high point, you can open up the flaps on the costume and soar down to Earth like a flying squirrel.
The speed is breath-taking, amplified greatly by the 3D visuals. The score rings zoom towards you, as does the ground below, in terrifying yet exhilarating fashion.
Apart from the missions, you can also partake in Free Flight mode - essentially a free-for-all of the island.
With a minute on the clock you're tasked with belting around Wuhu, grabbing a variety of collectibles and coins and performing stunts to unlock extras.
The time limit is a bit of a pain, but it's still fun to explore the island with no restrictions on direction. Finding secret routes and hideaways through the mountain is genuinely exciting stuff.Short-haul flight
Pilotwings Resort a joy while it lasts. Unfortunately, that's not very long.
In fact, we were able to burn through every level of the Mission mode within 90 minutes. In a single evening, we had seen everything the game has to offer, and we don't particularly feel like going back to it.
The game suffers from a severe lack of added extras. There are no online features to speak of, which is rather dire considering every level has its own separate leaderboard.
StreetPass features are missing in action, too. We assumed that Nintendo would want to emphasise this new technology whenever it can, yet Pilotwings is completely StreetPass-less.
This lack of content is also magnified by the size of the island. While the land is rammed full of areas to explore, the island on the whole is rather small.
We would much rather have been provided with multiple islands to dart around, rather than sticking to the same scenery for the entire experience.
Pilotwings Resort has the quality down to a tee, but it lacks the quantity to back it up.
As far as 3DS launch titles go, this is definitely one to consider, but don't expect to leave it plugged into your 3DS for more than a few hours.