pilotwings resort

Nintendo 3DS: One month later

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3ds Cosmo BlackMy first encounter with a 3DS was less than perfect. I had the privilege of playing Pilotwings Resort for about fifteen minutes in the midst of a particularly loud and busy Best Buy. The stereoscopic 3D was hardly noticeable, though it may have been because the system was locked into the cabinet a few feet below my face. And Pilotwings was...well, Pilotwings. A fine game, but hardly the one I'd choose to impress somebody.

What was impressive, however, was the strength and duration of the resulting headache. The drive home was almost unbearable, with temples flaring to the beat of my heart and some eye strain to boot. I went to bed and nursed a hangover-level headache for about three hours.

Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment, but I decided to buy a 3DS anyway. It's hard to believe that the system's already been on the market for a month, but here we are. I've found plenty to love with Nintendo's DS successor but have some concerns as well.

Pilotwings Resort

Half-Hour Handheld

Pilotwings Resort CoverThe island from Lost is its own character. It's mysterious, malevolent, and seemingly sentient. It's more than just a setting, interacting with each of the show's characters as much as any other person stranded there.

Nintendo wants WuHu Island to be like that. Well, sort of. Not the evil part, of course. Where the island from Lost is a place full of peril, pitfalls, and plotholes, WuHu Island is familiar, comfortable, and friendly. It is supposed to be like a favorite character, an entity that the player reminisces with every time they meet. That's why it's already shown up in three different casual Nintendo titles (Wii Fit, Wii Sports Resort, and Wii Fit Plus).

Make that four, as Nintendo brings Mii back to WuHu island, this time exclusively for airborne activities in Pilotwings Resort. Pilotwings is no stranger to acting as the "tech demo" launch title for new visual splendor; the original SNES game introduced the world to Mode 7 Mapping while its Nintendo 64 sequel showed off the new system's polygonal graphics from a birds' eye view.

This will be my second visit to WuHu Island, after the WiiMotion+ showcase that was Wii Sports Resort. There was a certain charm to staging the various activities around the island, full of recognizable landmarks and curiosities. However, it could just as easily be argued that this is all laziness on Nintendo's part, recycling assets they created years ago across a number of games. Will a half-hour at WuHu Island rekindle warm memories of jet skis and archery or has this vacation hotspot gone cold?

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