Pilotwings was released 20 years ago for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System. It let you try your wings at four different aerial vehicles. Now we got our own Pilotwings for the iPhone, Flight School.
In Flight School you get challenged in the four different game modes:
Hang Glider, catch upwind to reach the target height before landing in the landing zone. Controlled by virtual stick.
Jetpack, jet around a course going through rings before nailing a perfect landing. Controlled by virtual stick, and two different throttle buttons.
Light Plane, take off and fly through rings before landing on the strip. Controlled by virtual stick, and a slider for throttle.
Skydiving, fly though rings and land perfectly for extra points. Controlled by virtual stick, and a deploy parachute button shows up as you get closer to the ground.
The four different vehicles are easy to control, and there is a real sense of urgency as you try to navigate. The virtual stick is of the direct kind that won’t work if you veer outside it on the screen. I tend to go off it, and it frustrated me quite a lot. A virtual stick that understands that you still want to lean forward even when you thumb is off it would be preferred. Other than that I found it responsive, and quite tight.
There are four levels in the game, and they are quite varied in how they challenge you. You have to complete a level to be able to progress to the next, and you have a clear target score to achieve. This score is added from the four challenges, and it is fairly easy to complete a level with a silver medal. Gold medals demand that you are good at all the challenges, and complete them within the specified time.
The graphics is faithful to the original, and quite frankly the 20 year old graphics feel more old than retro cool. Definitely workable presentation, but the game could really do with some flair. Up close to the ground most surfaces look ugly, and jagged. The higher you fly, the better it looks but sadly you have to come down some time soon.
There is no music, no ambient sounds and no engine sounds for the light plane or jetpack. It feels really barren flying around with just the odd sound of you passing through a ring. You can play your own music, and thank goodness for that.
Flight School feels unpolished, and quite frankly it needs a lot of updating to be worth the asking price of $3.99. I tried the lite version first, and really enjoyed it. Sadly I had my own music on when starting it up, and I had no idea that you are basically flying around in a silent void. I can definitely recommend you to try out the lite version, but I would hold on to my money until the game gets some updates. Music, engine sounds, ambient sounds, more levels, virtual stick that lets you use more of the screen and some sparkly graphical effects are all things I have on my wish list for Flight School. I really think this game is worth working on, as it is really fun at the core.