Pilotwings 64

Pilotwings 64
Pilotwings 64 Cover
Platform N64
Genre Forgotten Flight Simulator
MtAMinutes to Action 1
Score 9  Clock score of 9Gameplay: 9
Fun Factor: 10
Gfx/Sound: 8
Story: 0
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Pilotwings 64 is a flight simulator and one of the original launch games for the Nintendo 64. The game doesn't feature any standard flight simulator vehicles such as fighter planes or a Cessna single-engine, but more unique craft like the gyrocopter and hang glider. There is a lot of interaction with the environments such as photographing landmarks and even some battle-themed stages pitting you against giant robots. The game was really overlooked when it was released even though there was only one other Nintendo 64 game available at the time, but of course, that game was none other than Super Mario 64. Let's take a look at the first hour of the other launch title, Pilotwings 64.

Minute by Minute

(minutes are in bold)
00 - I choose Start Game and the first hour of Pilotwings 64 begins. I select a new file and start with the Beginner Class Hang Glider level. Couple of different characters to choose from, I select Ibis as she has a green glider.

Pilotwings 64 Hang Glider Ibis Holiday Island

01 - My mission is to fly through three rings and then land on the landing point. I can take a 3D look at the map, doesn't look too bad.

02 - Haha, I cleared the three rings easy enough but I dropped my legs too early and fell slowly to the ground in front of the target. Ibis screamed like a little girl.

04 - Bullseye! I land on the target square on and end up with 94/100 points. Not bad. Not bad at all. A cool thing you can do during the level is take pictures, the game isn't beautiful by today's standards but it is definitely colorful.

Pilotwings 64 Goose Evel Knievel Rocket Belt

05 - Sweet, I've already earned my Gold Badge! Time for the beginner Rocket Belt level! I'm selecting the Goose character this time, he looks like Evel Knievel.

07 - Well that was really easy. Just had to rocket into a balloon and then land. 88/100 points, once again docked for landing impact. Lame. The rockets were really easy to control. Dang, missed out on Gold by 2 points.

08 - Cool, it's the Gyrocopter level. I pick Robin as my gyro-pilot. She gives me a sexy "oh yeah!"

Pilotwings 64 Gyrocopter Robin

10 - The gyrocopter is a cool plane-helicopter hybrid. Not as maneuverable as the rocket belt but super fast. I was going nearly 200 km/h at one point. 87/100 points for this round. And another silver.

11 - I have conquered the Beginner levels so it's on to Class A. Let's start again with the hang glider. I choose Lark, who looks suspiciously like the Nintendo mascot Nester. This level is called Ever-Frost Island. Oh cool, I have to take a picture of the flame coming from the oil plant's smoke stack. I check out the sample photo, seems easy enough.

14 - Oh crap! I took a great picture of the smoke stack but I botched my landing by not holding down the button.

Pilotwings 64 Shutter Bug Smoke Stack Hang Glider

15 - This time I pulled my landing off but I only received 50/100 points! They really didn't like my photo and my landing sucked. Screw them. Next level!

17 - Oh man, this level is going to be tough. You have to dive bomb off a cliff and try to go through as many rings as you can and then pull up before running into a rock wall. Ouch, I smash into it.

18 - Nice, only missed a couple of rings and then had a pretty sweet landing! Oh man, those two levels' scores only add up to 138, I need 140 for the medal! I think I'll retry the photo one to pick up some easy points.

Pilotwings 64 Lark Nester Hang Glider Steep Cliff

20 - Woah! I got set on fire as I flew too close to the smoke! Awesome! They loved my photo though, 56/60 just on that, and 69/100 total (my landing blew). That's good enough for a bronze, which is good enough for me.

21 - Rocket belt time, this should be fun. I choose Kiwi, a pink clad little lady. Oh sweet, the level is called the Little States and it's a small representation of the contiguous 48 states!

24 - That was a neat level, just had to rocket through some rings and land but they were strategically placed around skyscrapers and under bridges. I pick up 75/100 points. 65 to go for a bronze.

Pilotwings 64 Little States Usa Rocket Belt

26 - This is a tougher level, instead of flying through rings I have to momentarily land on platforms. I got near the end and then I'm pretty sure the game glitched up on me and forced me to crash. Oh, maybe I ran out of fuel...

29 - I aced that level this time, well, not perfect, but I did get 88 points! That's enough for a silver badge in Class A Rocket Belt!

30 - Class A Gyrocopter now, I select Hawk, a large black man.

Pilotwings 64 Kiwi Rocket Belt

33 - Now that was an awesome ride. I had to fly through about 20 rings and I never missed one! I got a complete tour of Crescent Island in the gyrocopter and then made an okay landing. 81 points! Most lost on the landing. I need to practice that I think.

34 - Oh snaps, next level I get to destroy targets!

36 - Another cool level, just had to take out three targets but the rockets are so much fun! Just hold the Z button to aim and fire. I took out one target from like half a mile away! And 97/100 points! Yes! Just two points from gold, oh well.

Pilotwings 64 Hawk Gyrocopter Rockets

37 - I'm going to try an extra level called Birdman, I select Lark as my bird. Oh, interesting, this is just free flight. No challenges, just enjoy yourself!

38 - I take a few pictures and then whallop into a tree. That was relaxing, but not what I'm looking for right now! On to Class B levels!

39 - Three tests at this level, sounds like the game is getting tougher. Bring it on.

Pilotwings 64 Lark Birdman Free Flight

40 - Woah, first level challenges me to use the thermal currents to bring my hang glider to an altitude of 400m and then land on top of a mountain.

43 - Ugh, you have got to be kidding me, I easily reached 415 meters and then just fell short of the landing area and crashed. Lame.

45 - Oh, suck that! Perfect landing! Okay, I got no points from landing impact but who needs that. 79/100.

Pilotwings 64 Hang Glider Ibis Closeup

46 - Next level is more photographing, take pictures of a fountain and a whale.

48 - Well, I thought I did a lot better than the points I was rewarded, only 38/60 for my pictures? 58 points total?? Ugh.

49 - The next level is asking me to land on the landing point at exactly three minutes... boring. Haha!

Pilotwings 64 Level Select

52 - Booya, 2:55! Another crappy landing of course, but I score 88 points which should give me the bronze! Yep! I think I'm going to do Gyrocopter Class C. Basically because I want to shoot something. Ibis has been good luck for me, I'll stick with her.

53 - Oh yeah, this was the stage I was looking for! Red Alert! I need to take out the Meca Hawk, a giant robot that is attacking the city! Five missiles will bring him down.

56 - This little bastard really likes to run around. He's basically a human robot that dashes around but it's pretty easy to hit him once you get close. That was pretty cool though, too bad he didn't shoot back. Or actually destroy the city. 85/100 points for me.

Pilotwings 64 Gyrocopter Meca Hawk Battle

57 - Next level is called River Run and has me flying through more rings.

59 - Wow, this is a sweet level, super scenic! The game has me flying underneath bridges and through canals through the rings. I tried to be a little too risky on one ring though and ended up crashing. Whoops! One more try.

60 - Wow, that was fun! I even had a perfect landing at the end and received 97/100 points! Right near the runway at the end they actually launched a space shuttle! Perfect timing to the end of the first hour of Pilotwings 64.

Time for some scores out of 10.

Pilotwings 64 Gyrocopter Rocket Space Shuttle Launch

First Hour Scores

Minutes to Action: 1

Gameplay: 9
This is a super solid atypical flight simulator. In my opinion, real planes and jets have their place on the PC where you can grab a joystick and have precise control, but the eclectic ensemble in Pilotwings 64 works perfectly on the console. In its first hour I used the Gyrocopter, hang glider, jet pack, and even strapped on some bird man wings. They were all distinct in their own way and very fun. Each one handled differently and presented its own form of challenge, it's great to see gameplay like this. The variety of missions was also cool: from a simple ring fly-through to taking photographs of whales to taking down a giant robot, this game has it all.

Fun Factor: 10
Great gameplay with a variety of missions and aircraft makes for an awesome first hour. I honestly had a ton of fun no matter what I was doing and the game was challenging enough to keep things exciting. I think if I was going for perfect scores I would find myself getting pretty pissed off as I'm not a very good lander, but since this is just about the first hour the fun factor gets a perfect ten.

Graphics and Sound: 8
Pilotwings 64 is a really early Nintendo 64 game, and so it was one of Nintendo's first foray's into the world of 3D. And much like Super Mario 64, I think they really succeeded. The world is pretty polygonal but the draw distance is really deep and I would never call the game ugly. Pilotwings 64 features an extremely useful heads-up display that doesn't waste any space. Sometimes games just throw a bunch of crap up on the screen that doesn't provide anything helpful. There's a little voice acting in the game that doesn't detract but other than that it's the sound of the engines and the nice ambient music.

Story: 0
Like many flight simulators, Pilotwings 64 doesn't offer any kind of story, but instead delivers the game in objective based missions. This works perfectly fine with me as I think any kind of story in this game would be simply obnoxious.

Overall: 9
Pilotwings 64 is the first flight simulator I've reviewed and its first hour sets the bar very high for the genre. The game is light-hearted, very fun, and offers a good variety of vehicles and levels. If you can get a hold of this game, give it a try. It is one of the original Nintendo 64 games so for fans of Nintendo console history, you really need to do yourself a favor and play it. Pilotwings 64's first hour is very fun.

Pilotwings 64 Mount Rushmore Mario
Mario can't help stealing the show even when it's not his freaking game.