Pilotwings Resort is one of the three first-party launch games for the new 3DS, and the one probably getting the most notice. You fly a plane, a rocket pack, or a hang glider through various challenges (or simply fly around at will if you like) on Wuhu Island, a place already visited twice via two older Wii games.
It looks incredible, and is definitely my favorite game graphics wise so far on the 3DS. The colors! The distances! The detail! Well, the SORT OF detail! Everything is a bit simplified, and when you get up close to random houses you will notice a slight lack of polish. Still, it’s a beautiful game overall.
PR is also a short-lived experience. It’s really fun while it lasts, but something about the repetition kind of turned me off big time. I don’t think the actual length of the game is all that short, contrary to what many others are saying — there is a lot to do here if you’re a perfectionist. But it’s a lot of the same thing. You will always be flying in the air. This seems like an odd complaint, and it is considering it’s Pilotwings we’re talking about, but the distinct lack of variety regarding missions/gameplay and other locales to fly around and in makes it hard to keep returning to.
It gets a few things right: the 3D is incredible, and only enhances the dreamy world in which you inhabit. It noticeably helps with discerning distances between various targets that one has to either shoot or land on. It also makes the game breathtaking at moments. I have not really had this experience with any other 3DS game.
Other specifics: the controls are near perfect. It takes awhile to get used to the jet pack, but otherwise it’s pretty easy to master. The soundtrack is a mixed bag. Some of it really awe-inspiring (the main theme of the airplane is beautiful and makes the game seem more grand than it actually is) and some of it absolutely cheesy (I always turn the volume down when I’m using the jet pack. Always).
One thing that PR has going for it, is that it has that “launch game” charm. A simple, fun game that you will actually find hard to sell if you have a heart. This was an experience I had with Ridge Racer for the original PlayStation — and that game was almost hilariously bare bones (one track to race on!), but it was always fun for a few minutes here and there and one I had until the system died in the early 00s.
Aside from the jaw dropping 3D and the pretty graphics, PR doesn’t utilize the system all too well. There is no multiplayer (which would have helped big time), no online functionality, no Streetpass, no tilt (although who really cares about that). It’s just you and a plane/rocket pack/hang glider/.. squirrel suit from beginning to end.
It’s hard to recommend for the price it’s going for ($40), and the chances of Nintendo ever lowering game prices anymore is slim, but if you can somehow borrow this game from a friend or pay $30 at the most (via sales, a used copy, whatever) then it’s worthwhile fun in short, random gaming sessions.