My Played Video Games Review: Pilotwings for the Super Nintendo

Image source

Pilotwings is a video game that simulates flying for amateur players, created by Nintendo for the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom. It first became available in Japan in 1990 and was later released in North America and Europe as a launch title for the Super Nintendo (SNES) in 1991 and 1992 respectively.

A retro game about your character joining a flight school...Damn, what's not to love?

Super Famicom box cover art for Japan. (Image source)

The Story

Join the elite Pilotwings Flight Club and receive training at the world's most prestigious flight school. You'll experience the thrill of skydiving, biplane flying, and piloting advanced aircraft for rescue missions. The Super NES offers cool graphics and limitless flying opportunities. Can you earn your wings? Start your training now, as you are already behind schedule.

Box, manual and cartridge of the game. (Image source)

The Graphics and Sound

The graphics are of early SNES games' quality. Although they surpass those found on the previous Nintendo NES, they do not compare to the graphics of later SNES games. The character design is decent and includes a few animations, but the design of the ground is unimpressive. The airfields used for landing lack detail. The game heavily utilizes Mode 7 graphics effects, especially in the Skydiving mode. Despite the lackluster environments, the graphics are not bad.

The sound quality is average and unmemorable. Neither the music nor the sound effects stand out as exceptional, but they are not bad either. It's not a poorly sounding game, but it's not exceptional in the sound department either.

Gameplay video sample of Pilotwings on the Super Nintendo. Watch in 360p for near TV resolution of that time.

The Gameplay

The gameplay is the highlight of the game, which is a great indication of its quality. Players will find Pilotwings to be a fun and entertaining simulator, both as a leisure activity and as a challenge. The player character is a student at a flight school, where they will have the opportunity to fly airplanes, skydive, hang glide, use a rocket belt, and more.

As the game progresses, the tasks become increasingly challenging, requiring precise flying and landing skills. Bonus stages offer a change of pace with enemy-shooting missions from a helicopter, keeping the game mechanics and levels from becoming repetitive. The difficulty level also spikes as the player advances, so patience is a key component of the game.

The game has a moderate length, but the real challenge is mastering the flight skills to pass all tests and progress through. To ease your gaming progress, there are passwords available. It requires patience to beat the game, but once you do, it offers occasional replay value purely for enjoyment.

My Verdict

Pilotwings has gained a reputation as one of the greatest games of all time, with sequels released for the Nintendo 64 and 3DS. Although it may not be considered a masterpiece, it is certainly an enjoyable simulator. However, one should not have high expectations for the graphics, due to its age.

Play it on the Super Nintendo/Super Famicom or play it on your chosen emulator.

Let's keep on gaming in the free world!

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