Howdy peeps and welcome to Day #26 of Month of Nostalgic Video Game Reviews 2! This is a blog series where I review video games from my childhood. Today’s game is one that provided me with so many moments of cool and calm moments while gaming, today I’ll be discussing Pilotwings 64!
Pilotwings 64 was a flight simulation game released in 1996 (1997 for us in Europe) for the N64 and is a follow-up to Pilotwings which came out in 1991 for the SNES.
When it comes to gameplay you must complete a variety of missions involving different airborne vehicles and air sports. Before each mission, have the choice of choosing one of six character pilots, each with their own advantages and disadvantages based on factors such as weight. The tests presented to you require him or her to complete an objective in order to earn a license for the given event. Depending on the mission, points are awarded or deducted based on time, damage, fuel usage, accuracy, softness of landing, etc. You are is awarded either a bronze, silver, or gold license based on the number of points attained and more difficult tests become available as you progresses.
There are three main events in Pilotwings 64 required to complete the game, each of which has its own objectives and unique flight controls centered around the Nintendo 64 controller’s single analog stick. The first, hang gliding, usually requires you to fly through a series of floating marker rings or snap a photograph of a particular piece of scenery before landing in a target area. Your movement is affected by wind currents and altitude can be gained by flying through thermal columns. The second event is the “Rocket Belt”, a jet pack that allows you to move and gain height as well as hover, tilt, and rotate in the air using the belt’s equipped thrusters. Goals entail flying through rings or popping large balloons before landing. The third event, the gyrocopter, challenges you to take off and land on a runway after completing objectives like navigating a path of rings or destroying targets with missiles.
Pilotwings 64 also features several bonus events that are unlocked if the player performs well in the main missions. Here you can also earn medals on many of these events. They include skydiving, a human cannonball event, and the “Jumble Hopper”, which grants you special spring-loaded boots to be used in bouncing across the landscape to an end space. Lastly the game features a “Birdman” mode that puts the character in a bird suit and allows you to freely explore the game’s environments set among its four distinct islands. One of the islands is based on the United States, and has geographical replications of famous landmarks including the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore and major cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. Representations of Nintendo characters and many other interesting quirks can be found in the landscapes of the game.
Ah Pilotwings 64, this was one of the games that made me fall in love with not only the N64 for but games to do with flying in general. Now I’ve never really been one for flight simulation games but this game was a rare and interesting find that I came across via my school friends during the late 90s into early 2000s and even though I never knew properly how to play the game, I loved going on free flight mode and just explore and travel through the environments in the sky. Pilotwings 64 was one of the most calm and relaxing gaming experiences I’ve ever had, the feeling of travelling through the air by hang glider or plane or jetpack it was just a wonderful experience and with the soothing soundtrack playing in the background it felt heavenly. I could spend my time in free flight mode forever and that’s what I did for the majority of the time because it was THAT fun. Graphically speaking the game looked amazing for its time, it had such a massive scope and because you could change the time of day and weather settings it would come out with some beautiful visual results. As for the soundtrack it was funky and relaxing and I still remember some of the tracks used in missions, the sound effects were great too and what I mean by that is the funny screams characters would make when they crashed into the ground haha. That stuff was hilarious and I used to crash on purposed just to hear those funny screams. I know I’m terrible haha. 😄
So in conclusion Pilotwings 64 was a unique a flight simulation game that was filled to the brim with fun, good gameplay and nice presentation. It is a game that requires patience and skill to get into, but if allow yourself to immerse yourself in the game and master all of the challenges involved it can be a deep and rewarding experience. I really wish I could get the game again if only just to mess around in the free flight mode again haha. I’d say give this game a try if you’re looking for a slightly older but more interesting flight simulation game yo. 🙂
Well there’s another game review done only 4 more to go! If you have experiences with this game or any of the following ones do comment below! I’ll see ya tomorrow with another nostalgic video game review yo! 😀