Hands-on with Pilotwings Resort (3DS)

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Pilotwings is back, and… well, it’s Pilotwings in 3D with Miis on Nintendo’s Wuhu resort island. Who’s arguing, right?

Earlier this week I got my first hands on with the franchise revival, Pilotwings Resort for the Nintendo 3DS, and it’s exactly what I’d hoped for: a colorful, enjoyable series of flight challenges that brought memories of joining the “Flight Club” for the first time flooding back.

Pilotwings Resort for the Nintendo 3DS includes the same events you loved — all three of them: plane, rocket belt, and hang glider. The game will allow you take flight in two modes, “Mission Mode” where you’ll earn stars based on performance, and the more casual, relaxing do-what-you-want “Free Mode.” The latter allows you to enjoy the sights, even taking pictures which you can then share with friends. The former, however, is where you’ll find the meat of the Pilotwings Resort experience.

In “Mission Mode” events played as expected, a series of obstacles and targets to hit, with a timer  pushing you for both accuracy and speed. I was able to guide a plane through rings, gliding in for a safe water landing between two marks. With a rocket belt jetpack strapped to the back of my Mii, I hovered above the water, popping balloon targets before cooling my jets to descend upon my final floating target. Bound to a hang glider, I coasted through a series of hovering rings, dipping down with the Circle Pad to catch air currents, gaining elevation when needed.

Visually, Pilotwings Resort subscribes to the same vibrant palette philosophy as other Mii-centric titles. Makes sense that it would look familiar, as Pilotwings Resort is set on Wuhu Island, the same exotic locale found in Wii Sports Resort and Wii Fit. This is the first time you’ll see Wuhu Island in 3D, and Pilotwings Resort is the perfect way to demonstrate the handheld’s capabilities, soaring above the island and swooping past rings and other objects.

Pilotwings Resort is one of those “launch window” titles, so expect to see it release before Nintendo drops its bigger  3DS bombs at E3 this June.

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