Learning to fly with Pilotwings on the SNES
Pilotwings is a somewhat lighthearted style of flight simulator for the SNES. It was actually a launch title for the system and looked quite good even for being released so early. I personally feel like it holds up well today. Pilotwings is played in a license acquisition style (Think Gran Turismo). Your character will be given multiple tests at each license trial and scored on your performance at time, landing accuracy, and goal completion. The events are Plane, Hang Glider, Skydiving, and the Rocketbelt.
The 4 “events” are very different
The biplane events generally involve taking off from a landing (some start airborne already), flying through some rings, and trying to land as accurately as possible. I don’t feel that these events are that difficult. The hang glider events involve reaching a certain height by riding thermal currents and then landing on a target. The Hang glider is tied for my least favorite along with skydiving due to the difficulty in landing. Skydiving involves riding a ladder up and guiding your character through rings on the way down and ultimately landing on a target. My favorite events are the rocket belt events. The rocket belt is like a jetpack. You fly either into or through some bars/rings and then land on a target.
Ok so I might have lied a little saying there were only 4 events. There is actually a 5th secret event with an attack chopper. After the first few license tests, you will be informed that the trainers have been kidnapped and you are he only one qualified to rescue them. In these missions (day/night) you fly the attack chopper. You must make your way through enemy lines without getting shot down. You can however fire missiles to fight back, and this will be quite necessary. There will be a helipad to land on to rescue your comrades.
After you beat the first chopper mission you will move on to Expert mode. This has another series of license tests and seriously ramps up the difficulty. After these tests there is another chopper mission, this time at night. Completing this mission will complete the game.
The Great News is the Game is Quite Affordable
Pilotwings can even be considered to be “cheap”. I see copies quite frequently, and generally only cost a few dollars. Most of the time under 5. Which is great because I recommend picking it up. Pilotwings has a cartoon style that is easy to get into. It is easy enough for beginners not usually into flight sims, and difficult enough for the regulars to the genre. So pick it up and earn your wings!