Release Date: 14th April 2016 (UK New 3DS Virtual Console)
Super Nintendo Entertainment System
Super Nintendo Entertainment System games is something 3DS owners have been asking about for years! The idea of playing the likes of Super Metroid and Super Mario Kart (there is a lot of Super on the Super Nintendo. Super!) on the move have simply been dreams for many. Until 2016 that is. Keep asking and you’ll eventually get, with SNES games now available on the New 3DS eshop! Unfortunately Wii U owners with these games have to pay full whack to enjoy them on the go, but a recent My Nintendo reward has been offering up the Mode 7 heavy Pilotwings for those with the gold. I’m flying once more.
Pilotwings for the SNES must have been a pretty impressive looking game back in the early 90’s, for it impresses me even today! The game is made up of a series of challenges involving planes, hang gliders, rocket belts, sky diving, and even a helicopter packed with homing missiles. Each vehicle controls completely differently and the use of Mode 7 provides a sense of 3D, even if you’re really just flying around a flat pixel space. Close to the ground things look real ugly, but high in the sky, well everything’s fine.
The magic of Pilotwings is how easy it is to get to grips with. Whilst each vehicle features different controls and rules, it’s never frustrating to pilot them all. There is never any dread about having to score high with awkward controls, it’s all under control. Think about how many times you dread piloting a different vehicle because of how it handles in other games, with the added stress of time limits and finicky scoring. Plus you probably don’t get to bounce around as a man dressed as a bird in those games.
The problems with Pilotwings are due to the passing of time. Back then a series of challenges at a flight school was plenty to make up a full game, but modern games tend to stick this sort of thing in an extra optional challenge mode. Once you’ve got to grips with all your machines, there is a desire to go further than the air field, and whilst you get to blow things up with a helicopter in top down shooter stages, everything else is left at the school. There is a yearning for more, but those prospects are already stuck on the ground.
One thing to note before taking off is how great SNES games look on the New 3DS. The native resolution option on the small screen is a much better fit than stretched out on a big TV screen, plus a game like Pilotwings is perfect for bite sized sessions when commuting to work on a bus. Or a train. or perhaps, even a plane! Ouch.