Pilotwings. Nintendo EAD (1991) Super Nintendo

Pilotwings is shit.

Still with me?

Probably not, as Pilotwings has become one of those Golden Cow games, and like all true idols it is a piece of shit protected by an almost religious zeal.

It is hard to emphasise quite how terrible Pilotwings actually is but screw it, i’ll try and waffle for a few hundred words.

Looks amazing dunnit’

Where to start?

The fucking controls. Jesus H. Christ the controls are clunky. Flying the plane feels like a skip with wings, the parachuting is twitchy, the jet pack has the finesse of a cow on a trampoline and the Hang Glider is a terrible combination of the 3. Later in the game you get a Helicopter which controls like the Jet Pack.

Urge to kill rising!

Each Level sees you are tasked with completing each minigame to obtain your certificates which in turn allows you to get a bigger better certificate, this means you do the same thing, but differently on each level. Find parachuting boring the first time? Oh well, you’re gonna do it a few more times. Is the plane minigame boring, shit and clunky? No problem, you’ll do it 3 more times. Repeat the process for different instructors in different locations however, and suddenly a story develops. The EVIL Syndicate kidnap some of the instructors and you need to go rescue them. Give credit where it is due, the story makes relative sense. So off you to to assault Izanu Island and rescue the instructors while encountering new obstacles.  But you know that shit plane that controls like a skip? Well now you need to avoid anti aircraft fire and add finesse to the already inept controls….

Easily the least shit minigame

Beat the game, and you get to do it all again this time on har..d..m.0..d.e…zzzzzzzzzzzzz Sorry I drifted off. You now get the joy of doing it all again but harder. To be fair this is the better mode, you have more environmental issues to deal with like side winds, stronger updrafts, icy runways, and night flying. But none of this improves the utterly wank controls.

As progression it makes sense, the difficulty ramps up and the story progresses. The problem is there is pretty much zero room for error even on level 1. So if you just can’t do it, you can’t do it. You can’t scrape through by the skin of your teeth on level 1 and expect to make it past level 2 in which case level 3 onwards are a pipe dream. It means you’ll either boss level one and complete the game in an hour, or get to level 2 and spend 3 days smashing your face against a wall. It isn’t git gud or die trying it is fucking tedious shit learning broken ass controls until you become one with the skip. In my straw poll of 20 people, nobody new there was a rescue mission because  they gave up before that stage. But somehow they defend the game. “It’s a classic” they protest.

I’ve had poops that I deem a fucking classic, but I don’t loudly talk about it and try to stick it in your face (although…).

Alex Kidd is a fucking “classic” doesn’t stop it being wank. Night Trap is a “classic” but Night Trap doesn’t qualify as a fucking game. This isn’t to say Pilotwings is in *THAT* category of shite as no it isn’t a shower of shit. But as already stated. Pilotwings is shit.

The Mode 7 graphics and scrolling were revolutionary at the time, but again. Shit.



I’m not even being that harsh on Pilotwings as it is effectively 4 mediocre minigames that all control badly.

But people will defend it and those people are befuddled ignoramuses. Goodbye solitary reader…

Pros: Flight Club is almost like Fight Club. The plot twist

Cons:  That cockwomble instructor. The controls, the game.


Back in the Day:

Pilotwings scored well, like 80-90% well, so everyone else is obviously wrong. As I can’t be wrong. Right?

Nintendo Power said it was the 153rd best Super Nintendo game. There was roughly 780 games released on the SNES, that is hardly a ringing endorsement.

Also available on: Virtual Consoles

I'm awesome. I write about videogames occasionally but spend most time painting and playing Warhammer in varying formats.

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Posted in Super Nintendo
9 comments on “Pilotwings. Nintendo EAD (1991) Super Nintendo
  1. Goric says:

    Oh you played League too?! ‘Urge to kill rising’ is Olaf


  2. Goric says:

    I didn’t even bothered to climb.. few times maybe, but the system so unfair.. and your example is the proof of that, so just playing occasionally.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Red Metal says:

    Ultimately, this is one of those games that was great back when it was released, but not so much now. I still get a kick revisiting it, but the problem is that once you’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s too easy (other than the helicopter stages, which are quite the jarring difficulty spike).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I personally think Pilotwings was a fun game. First time was a bit tricky but you get the hang of it eventually. You know, this one has a secret helicopter level though. The anti-aircraft guns shooting at you as you try landing a helicopter was a bit of challenge. Thanks for sharing by the way.

    Liked by 1 person

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