PilotWings Resort (3DS) Review

Every console should come with at least one pack-in game, particularly in the case of a handheld that costs more than most people are entirely comfortable with spending on a handheld; no pack-in means you have to buy at least on game, which is a really lame hidden cost.

PilotWings Resort is a pretty natural pack-in title in a few ways: it’s a first-party Nintendo game; it get nostalgia points for being a follow-up to SNES and N64 games; it’s the kind of game that works for bother the hardcore and casual audiences; there isn’t a lot of content; and it’s an excellent 3D showcase. But it’s not a pack-in, and so you’ll have to pay $40 for it. Is it worth it?

Yeah, I’d say it is.

PilotWings Resort (3DS [Reviewed])
Developer: Monster Games, Inc.
Publisher: Nintendo
Release Date: March 27, 2011
MSRP: $39.99

Despite the small amount of content — you can “complete” all the activities in about four hours — there’s a ton to like about this new PilotWings. The early challenges are pretty tame and almost dull, but after you get past the first tier, things get interesting, and it becomes an entertaining pick-up-and-play arcade title.

There are three main vehicles to fly, all of which are very different from each other. There’s the plane, the jetpack and the glider. I very much enjoyed the planes and the glider, but the jetpack annoyed me because it doesn’t lend itself to precise movement even though the jetpack challenges are the most precise in the whole game; the ones in which you have to chase down small, nimble UFOs and maneuver a quartet of balloons into a particular spot are a couple main offenders. They can be done, and I got a decent score on both of them, but they weren’t fun at all.

But the planes and glider get more enjoyable the further into the game you get. Yeah, they get more difficult, but it’s not frustrating to try each challenge repeatedly to try to get a higher score. And the challenges are different enough from each other that the game never gets repetitive; you’ll shoot balloons trailing from a boat or another plane; put out fires with a water jet, try to maneuver your glider so that it goes fast enough to break through speed walls, and on and one.

On occasion you’ll get special vehicles — these were the few parts of the jetpack sections I enjoyed. One of those, the flying squirrel suit, I liked because it was more like a variation on the glider than the jetpack. You’ll also get a superplane and a pedal glider — the latter is probably the most challenging segment in the whole game.

Folks who played Wii Sports Resort will find one particular aspect of the game very familiar. The “Resort” mentioned in the title is the island from the MotionPlus companion; all the mission in PilotWings Resort take place above and around that island. The island is littered with caves and has the volcano, of course. Those features make it fun to free fly around for a little bit. There isn’t enough that you’ll spend a lot of time in free flight, but the island’s design does add some value.

Do I wish there was more content? Yeah. Is there enough content to support full retail price? Probably not. Most of the other launch titles for the 3DS are in the same boat, however, and so it’s hard for me to get too mad at a game I actually genuinely enjoyed. I will, however, blame Nintendo for not including a copy of this game with every 3DS.


  • It’s just fun, stupid
  • Lot’s of replay potential
  • Varied challenges
  • Special vehicles are a treat
  • 3D showcase


  • Jetpack isn’t fun
  • Should be a pack-in with the 3DS

Final Score: 85/100

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