Wuhu Island is a lovely, picturesque place, complete with beautiful blue skies and calm seas, but we've seen it more than once before. Nintendo's Shigeru Miyamoto seems to love it so much that he even said that the island is becoming its own character. Sadly for us, Wuhu isn't the Mario of the video game island world, so choosing to set 3DS launch title Pilotwings Resort on it has given the title a somewhat dated feel by default. Yes, you can do new things, but playing Pilotwings feels more like a nice day out with your Nan than exploring an exiting new place while on holiday - except here the old dear has a jetpack strapped to her back.
Pilotwings Resort follows successful entries on the SNES and N64, finally giving fans what they've wanted for many years after Nintendo refused to bring a new game to the GameCube or the Wii. Part flight sim, part aerial gymnastics tool, your task is to fly, glide and propel yourself (well, your Mii inside a vehicle) around the sky, soaring through hoops, shooting targets and taking pictures, before trying to land as skilfully as possible.
Mission mode is the meat of Pilotwings, offering five difficulty levels each containing a set of challenge missions: Novice and Bronze include six while Silver, Gold and Platinum include nine. Each set of missions is split over three classes - plane, jetpack and glider - while progression is based on stars earned for your performances. Each mission is graded out of three stars, with the next difficulty level unlocked once an average of two stars per mission have been earned - something that comes rather easily.
To begin with the plane will simply need to be guided through checkpoint rings and then landed within as short amount of time as possible, but as you progress the missions increase in difficulty. Target shooting is soon added to the mix, and then a turbo plane becomes available that reaches a dangerously fast top speed, making those rings devilishly hard to fly through unless you know what you're doing. At one point you're even tasked with putting out fires along the beach.
The jetpack is the trickiest to manoeuvre around the sky as it has no gliding ability, instead having to rely on jet propulsion. It is able to hover on the spot, though, which comes in handy if you want to spin around without gaining any altitude. Early missions see you flying from landing pad to landing pad before finally setting down, but you'll also be rounding up UFOs, knocking crate-carrying balloons into delivery zones and controlling a souped-up jetpack.
Quite why this is lumped into the jetpack category is a mystery, but a free-diving squirrel suit is used to drop down through the sky at great speed and then glide through rings. Sadly this suit is only used once, which feels like a missed opportunity as it's the closest the game comes to the skydiving challenges in the original.
Finally there's the glider, the entirely wind-powered craft that your Mii hangs from as you attempt to ride thermals dotted about the island. Challenges here range from flying through rings to reaching a certain altitude, and there are also pictures to take of landmarks on Wuhu Island. In the latter stages you unlock a pedal glider, which requires management of your Mii's energy, represented by a trio of hearts, but as with other bonus crafts it's not used too often.