Pilotwings 64 was the other game to ship with the N64, but was largely overshadowed by Super Mario 64 (LINK TO SUPER MARIO 64 REVIEW). It previously was a game on the Super Nintendo and was a fairly good game that aimed at realism. Well Pilotwings 64 went a different route this time and played to the hardware’s strength by going with a more cutesy graphic style.
There are 6 pilots, 4 islands, and 4 ways to fly (hang glider, gyropack, rocket pack, and birdman suit). The islands look dazzling for a launch title and the detail put into things like mountains, really showed what the N64 was bringing in over the Super Nintendo. There is little pop in from scenery and is so peaceful it that it feels more like a game to show off the N64 than a game designed with fun in mind. At first the game is fairly easy, boring actually, but after stage 3 it becomes more and more challenging. Pilotwings 64 has a complex flying system that changes depending on what you are using to fly.
The game is deceptively simple. For example you will need to fly through green hoops, easy enough, but then later on you will need to fly into blue balls that will explode into a bunch of orange balls. This makes the game more and more challenging as you progress. It is easy enough to see why this was overshadowed by Super Mario 64 but even so, it still holds up as an impressive launch title… even if you actually want to just look instead of play the actual missions. The music on the other hand… feels like I am in an elevator. Throughout playing the game I had a weird feeling like this should be a game I should be playing on my phone. I guess that is a downside of playing it 18 years after it came out.
Fun Fact – Despite having 2 games come out in the 90’s, Pilotwings did not make a return until 2011 which launched alongside the 3DS.
The Bottom Line