Pilotwings Resort is one of the sure-to-be many remakes and rehashes of existing titles made for the Nintendo 3DS.
The launch of any new hardware brings with it a raft of your old favourites, tarted up and brought into new light with an equal measure of retro-respect and commercial cynicism. For those of us who lurk the fringes of console gaming in the handheld realm, we're getting pretty used to it. So, without getting too worried about buying essentially the same game for the third or fourth time, we launch into Pilotwings Resort.
Pilotwings for all it's lineage, is simply a game where you putt around in an airy world full of obstacles and goals to hit. In many ways, the core elements of the game feel more at home in a mini-game or side-quest type of situation, such as the rather excellent Super Monkey Ball: Target game on the Gamecube. In this version you're treated to a very pretty playground with which to barrel-roll (aeroplane), swoop (hanglider) or zoom (jetpack) all over. Indeed, the setting for the 3DS version is none other than WuHu Island from the Wii Sports package many people played for five minutes when they bought a Wii.
The game itself has a fair bit of content to get through, across two main modes of play. The most satisfying is the free flight mode, which isn't quite as free as the name lets on. You have a limited amount of time with which to explore the island from the air, collecting pickups. The more you collect, the longer you have to flit about (as well as unlocking other pieces of aeronautical equipment), but the harder they become to find. Towards the end you'll need to be a very cool handed pilot to pick up some of the more tricky ones.
The other game mode is a much more dull series of increasingly difficult flying tests. The first few involve nothing more than holding the 3DS in your hand and managing not to dribble on it too much, but by the time you're cranking silver/gold level challenges there is some merit to the process.
It's true, there isn't *that* much to the game in terms of variation and original content, but what is there can entertain a bored mind on the bus. The fact you're being rated on your performance each run through helps with the replayability factor and would have served as a great way to measure up against online foes (if they had included a multiplayer feature).
Controlling your flying machine of choice in Pilotwings Resort 3D is slick and responsive, thanks in most part to the lovely analogue stick. Since you don't really need to move your hand around a lot while playing the position of the stick isn't an issue and you can really get your swerve on, should you need to.
When holding the 3DS in a locked in position the 3D aspect of the title can be really beneficial to your perception of depth, making dropping in on a target or pickup a lot easier. It does, however, suffer from the flickering screen effect present in every 3DS game so far, a real pain in the eye if you let your hands move out of position.
All over, Pilotwings Resort for the 3DS is a worthy addition to the systems repertoire, and one that fills the gap nicely between pointless dreck (Nintendogs 3DS) and full-on gaming experiences to come.