Pilotwings review - Super Nintendo

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Pilotwings box artHelicopter pilots aren't allowed to just take the controls of a highly powerful gunship just like that - oh no. Instead they're sent to the world famous Pilowings School of Aviating, where their airbourne abilities are honed to perfection on all manner of aviating equipment.

Lightplanes, parachutes, and rocketbelts are just some of the modes of transport aspiring helicopter aces are required to master before they're sent on any kind of dangerous mission. The game is split into eight stages, with each offering different airbourne challenges to Pilotwings candidates. Each challenge gives you the opportunity to score lots of points, and the scores of each challenge are added together. If the total score is less than the overall target score for that round, you start the level again. Should you beat it though, you are sent to the next stage of Pilotwings training.

At the end of levels four and eight, a helicopter mission awaits. Complete these missions and you've beaten the game - but each mission is highly dangerous and the chances of getting your airbourne steed back to base are minimal to say the least?

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" Nothing, absolutely nothing on any other home system even touches this for sheer jaw-dropping looks. The graphics are simply astonishing, with beautifully coloured backdrops which fade into the distance - just check out the screen shots. But what you can't see is that everything moves completely and utterly smoothly. The feeling of ?being there? has never been stronger in a flying game. The sound effect help enhance that further, with realistic stereo wind effects and sampled plane and chopper engines adding to the atmosphere. The game is very challenging, and successfully gaining your licence on the final level is something that makes you feel genuinely proud. If you want to show people just how good the Super Famicom is, make sure you get this. You'll be buying a superlative game in the process! "

" Pilotwings offers 3D graphics unparalleled on any other games system outside of the arcades. The effect is truly stunning, with a full rotating landscape that will astound and amaze you. The only problem is, it's a bit flat. But thankfully, the varied gameplay is enough to make up for this slight deficiency. All of the modes of transport offer a completely different challenge and the increasing difficulty level is enough to make the game very challenging. The sound is great - there's some supermarket-type shopping music playing throughout, with the added bonus of incredibly convincing effects (the helicopter and lightplane noises are perfect!). My only gripe is that there's not really enough things to shoot and destroy! How about a Pilotwings 2 which combined these graphics with all manner of airbourne destruction? Yes please! "


Overall Score90%

Retrospective comments


Before Pilotwings came along I viewed flight simulators as boring and dull. Although it's not a traditional example of the genre, it did succeed in changing my perception. The actual tasks themselves are pretty basic, and on paper seem quite boring, but the usual Nintendo magic is at work here and the pacing of the game is perfect. New events and missions are unlocked as you progress, and after a while you become more and more adept with each different craft, pulling off more difficult moves and activities.

For those of you who want a bit more action, there's an army chopper to fly in one of the later levels, and this mission is almost a game in itself! Another excellent purchase - it really is amazing how many must-have games were released in the first year of the SNES' life.

Dan - 24 Feb 2009, 16:56 GMT

MODE 7!! Oh how I worshipped thee. A good game, defo a bit of a novelty one and never a classic, but fun and summat you could always have an enjoyable quick blast on.

mitzibishi - 22 Jul 2009, 03:08 GMT

Afterburner 90%.....................pilotwings 90% ???????????????!

Tens - 17 Apr 2013, 13:47 GMT

I remember this game from years ago and have just recently purchased it again......
An original game with good gameplay, Although it will take time to master the different tasks.
A game that might make you shout in frustration but also makes you come back for more.
7/10 I give this one

YawnBoyPest1957 - 23 May 2015, 11:03 GMT

Starts off pretty good, and get's better and better the more you play it, as you become increasingly cocky and start to play like an adrenaline fueled sh1thead. Keeping things light hearted and distinctly un-flightsim-ish are the camp bonus games. While these make absolutely no contextual sense, they often form a crucial part of strategy for progression. Even if it's a bit flat graphically, the gameplay itself has all the 3d in the world and has aged extremely well

Mean Machines Issue 8 - May 1991
Simulation Super Nintendo
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