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Pilotwings (Super Nintendo) Review

Pilotwings (Super Nintendo) Review 1
Mode 7 is beneath you in Pilotwings!

PilotWings was a launch title on the Super Nintendo here in North America. This is a bit of a new experience to me as I haven’t played PilotWings before.

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The gameplay is rather simple. You take on various training events where you control different air techniques:

The Light Plane allows you to control a plane and have to control it through rings almost like an obstacle course. At the end of each training session, you’ll have to land the plane.

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Flying through Mode 7 graphics 

The Rocket Belt, this one almost feels like a jetpack. You’ll hover through the air navigating through the rings and having to land somewhere on the map. Pressing start helped me know where I was on the map in order to land properly even if I had to take a second lap around.

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Skydiving, I had a difficult time navigating through the hoops to score extra points. It’s almost like you have to memorize the positioning of each ring rather than react in time as they open. Landing wasn’t so bad as long as you hold back on the dpad.

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The hang-glider was the most difficult of them all. I really struggled with navigating through the air in order to land in the correct spot. I would always seem to overshoot the landing and land in the water!

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You can complete the events in any order. This lets you focus on the ones you’re weakest on (like for me on those hang-glider events).

You’ll have to score a minimum score on all the events in order to earn your license. The license number is actually the password system in case you want to pick up where you left off.

The game honestly feels like one giant tech demo showcasing the Super Nintendo’s Mode 7 graphics. But hey it was a launch title and I’m sure Nintendo needed a way to showcase their new hardware at the time.

Pilotwings really kept up the framerate with no noticeable slowdown on any of the gameplay. This was great to see considering this was a launch title.

The gameplay is really hard, tasks like landing on a certain spot on the map or landing a plane are not easy by any chance. You really have to focus on slowing down and being at the right angle on each event. So you’ll end up repeating a lot of the events over and over again until you perfect each event.

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I like how Pilotwings doesn’t hold your hand for mastering the controls. They show you what the controls look like and drop you from a height.

The controls are great and really allow you to master them through repetition. You’ll have a feeling of satisfaction once you’ve completed an event by mastering the controls.

After you complete event 4, you’ll unlock the first secret command rescue operation. This is one of two helicopter combat missions. You’ll end up in a top down perspective, controlling a helicopter and shooting down cannons that are trying to crash your helicopter.

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After beating the first secret mission, you’ll end up unlocking the expert mode.

These new stages end up making the scoring targets harder and have weather conditions that make the additional four stages more challenging than their first pass. This gives Pilotwings a bit of extra replay value for those who’ve mastered the first four stages of the game.

The music in Pilotwings is great. It has a very relaxing soundtrack that doesn’t get old as you repeat the stages. Since I haven’t played Pilotwings prior to the release of this video, I don’t have any biases from having this game when I was younger.

I appreciated the controls and really feel that Pilotwings is a very unique experience. The mode 7 graphics really showcased the SNES's capabilities. The atmosphere when playing Pilotwings was very calming. Pilotwings is a breath of fresh air for someone who is looking for something new.



Passionate gamer and nostalgia enthusiast. Journeying through the pixelated realms of retro video games, unearthing forgotten gems and sharing the joy. Join me on a nostalgic adventure! 🎮✨