Pilotwings 64

Moby ID: 4691

Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 84% (based on 28 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 36 ratings with 2 reviews)

A flying simulator, but not a typical one... Much, much better than typical ones...

The Good
First of all, there are the graphics. OK, they're not great, but they are good enough. The whole area is rendered all the time and the frame rate is good.

In a game like this where you have only one level to fly in, the level design is crucial for the gameplay. In Pilot Wings, the design is awesome. The whole island is not the same, as it has canyons, cities, beach hotels, and everything from between. The weather can also change, and believe me, it has a matter.

There are five game types in Pilot Wings that I know of

1) Hang gliding. This is the slowest form of playing, and I like it. There's no hurry to be anywhere. There are these whirlwinds around the island that get you higher above ground and it's easy to go down :-D

2) Flying with the rocket pack. In this mode you have a rocket pack in your back and you control it. Believe me, it's harder than it sounds like. There's also the matter of fuel onboard, and you will run out of it if you fly around too much.

3) Hydrocopter. The hydrocopter is my favourite. Basicly you fly with this very small and light thing that is a nightmare to turn around with. This is the only one that has real landing strips to land on. You have also guns in this little machine.

4) Cannonball. Well, this is a fun part. You have a cannon and a living cannonball. Your goal is to hit the targets with the cannonball. It's not that east, especially as you have only a few shots and sometimes you can't even see the target.

5) Skydiving. In this mode you have to make formations with three other jumpers. And you have to land in the mark. Again, not as easy as you think.

Basicly the main point is to accomplish the missions. You can have 100 points if you make the missions perfectly. The better points, the better medal.(bronze, silver, gold and perfect score). As the skill level gets higher, you have more missions to do in one set. In hardest level you have to make four missions, and they all are different. You don't have to succeed in the first try, as the points are automatically saved and you can just go and improve one or two missions.

The missions are mostly basic stuff, like "fly through all the rings" or "hit all the balls". But it's not that easy to get 100 points. The points are given overall by many criterias. The first point criteria is the mission approval. Have you made it through all the rings etc. The second criteria is the time. Did you make it in the time limit or not. Third, the landing counts, on accuracy and impact.

The physics model is awesome. The wind really makes a difference, and the flying model seems right. Believe me when I say this: the wind makes the difficulty. Ever tried landing a hang glider in a strong wind? I've never tried, but it sure as hell is difficult in this game.

The Bad
It get's boring on a long term.

The Bottom Line
Pilot Wings 64 is a relaxing version of flying simulation. the good graphics, great physics model and excellent playability makes the game a fun game to play. Although it does get boring if you play it for 10 hours a day, in short sessions, you can't find a better flying simulation if you don't like machine guns.

Nintendo 64 · by Zamppa (99) · 2002

Simple flying fun

The Good
Flying feels smooth, lots of variety.

The Bad
Poor camera, best part of the game is hidden away.

The Bottom Line
Part of what made me want to play through all the Nintendo 64 games was growing up with Future Publishing’s N64 magazine. I only had a small number of games myself, but read about so many more. Pilotwings is one I remember getting mentioned a lot in the magazine throughout the years, and it always sounded fascinating. The image of a cannon and Mount Rushmore (with Mario’s face) was one I distinctly remember seeing a lot.

Pilotwings is an arcade-style flight sim game, although still requires a lot of skill to perfect, especially landings. There are three main vehicles, each of which have a series of challenges to complete, which then unlock additional modes.

The glider is first up and is definitely the weakest of the three main types. I can appreciate how it must have felt brand new, using a standard controller to control a game like this instead of a flight stick, not to mention the 3D worlds, which have lots of nice little details.

The challenges start out simple, and get more complex and difficult. There’s a nice variety such as quickly going through a string of rings, finding more widespread rings and finding certain objects to take photos of. You’re scored based on your speed and accuracy, and it all hangs on your landing, which is difficult but does feel like you’re in control.

The Rocket Belt (aka a jet pack) is immensely fun to fly. You have a strong thrust and a weaker thrust and will need to get across the map quickly, burst balloons, fly through a cave and land on platforms. Trying to avoid hitting the ground is difficult, even though the game tries to help by having a bar show up when you’re close to the ground.

I think the weakest aspect of Pilotwings was the camera, which was a challenge in early 3D games. This one is a bit strange as it pans the camera away from you rather than around your character, and reverts back when you stop pressing the c-button. Despite this, the jet pack is just extremely enjoyable.

The gyrocopyer is the third main one, and is equipped with rockets to blast targets with. This is much faster than the previous vehicles, so tend to use the whole islands, which are all really nicely designed with lots of little things to look at. I especially love “Little States”, a mini mainland USA with lots of details representing a few important locations. It would be lovely to see updated versions of these islands.

With the gyrocopter, you’ll have some ring challenges that feel like intense races and you get to battle a giant mech as it terrorises a city. The gyrocopter is a lot of fun, and is probably the easiest to land, although being accurate for a best score is still difficult.

As you complete the challenges, you’ll unlock bonus games. The first of which is a complete blast: human cannonball. You get three attempts at each target, with your best score out of the three being counted. This means that you have a few attempts to adjust your aim and power to account for the wind speed.

While it stars off simple, like the rest of Pilotwings, it gets really difficult, with some targets you can only see on the radar as they’re behind a mountain or below the cannon. It doesn’t stop the mode being enjoyable, though.

The second extra mode is skydiving. It starts with a rather wonky formation challenge above the clouds, but feels amazing when you get past and get full control of skydiving on the island. I wasn’t very good at the actual scoring, but the skydiving itself is really fun.

The last one I couldn’t get the hang of. They’re a kind of bouncing boot, but the controls just feel strange and I kept bouncing in directions I didn’t want to go and just fell over a lot.

My favourite mode of the game is locked behind getting a silver medal on all of these challenges, although you can temporarily try it out by finding hidden stars in the jetpack mode.

The Birdman mode is a free flight mode. You don’t have to worry about fuel and staying in the air is easy. There’s no challenges to complete, it’s all about enjoying the sights. It’s just nice and relaxing. The main mistake is how many people playing the game may never actually get to try it due to the game’s difficulty and needing so much to unlock it (I have to admit, I ended up using cheats).

Pilotwings 64 is a very interesting game and I really think it deserves another go. It did get a game on 3DS, but that just used Wuhu Island from Wii Sports Resort, which already had a plane more. I’d love a sequel that brought us the islands from this game in more detail, some new ones, plus all these modes and some new stuff. I’d also love just being able to choose free flight for any of the vehicles – having the challenges dotted across the maps would also be a great touch. A new Pilotwings could be a ton of fun.

Nintendo 64 · by Cube1701 (41) · 2024

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Tim Janssen, Alsy, Patrick Bregger, WONDERなパン, RhYnoECfnW, Cube1701, mikewwm8, Alaka, Dario Lanzetti, sayewonn wisseh, Gianluca Santilio, Big John WV.