Wing Island

Reviewed by Kyle Bell, Posted on 2007-03-29


Developer: Hudson Soft Publisher: Hudson Soft
Release Date: March 27, 2007 Also On: None

When Nintendo unveiled the Wii with some tech demos at E3 2006, one of the games looked a lot like Pilotwings, but was known as Wii Airplane. It has not surfaced again since. To fill the void that is the flight game genre, the folks at Hudson have come up with Wing Island. Unfortunately for us, it means that we are left with a subpar ripoff that can hardly be described as anything more than a tech demo in itself.

Where Wii Sports was originally intended as a tech demo and turned into a game, Wing Island was always intended as a full-fledged $40 game. The difference between the two, amazingly, is not just fun factor, but also depth of play. Wing Island is a very simple game to pick up and play. The Wiimote is used to simulate controlling an aircraft. They do this relatively well, as you just tilt left and right to change direction, as well as up and down to ascend/descend. The problem comes when you want to boost or brake: you have to jab forward or backward, and it's not always responsive.

Another area of difficulty are the aerial formations. You will be controlling a group of five planes at once at some points throughout the game. When you have control of them, you can order these planes to arrange themselves in a V-shape behind you, directly behind you in a line or in the shape of a cross. The difficulty lies in ordering the change from one to the other. You press A and use a hand gesture in order to do this. Not only will you forget which is which, you might get them mixed up with the 180 degree reverse.

The question then becomes if you even want to play. Your missions vary slightly and all of them are light on excitement. One of the missions has you flying over Shell Island trying to take out fires that are raging in the forest. Another mission will have you dropping crates in select locations, identified on your mini-map. Others will have you, of all things, throwing nets at cows to capture them. Finally, there are balloon popping missions where you fly in a line trying to pop all of the balloons on the map. There really aren't many things to do in this game.

Something that you would expect from a game like this is a free roaming feature where you could fly around, just enjoying the scenery. It is hard to do that in Wing Island due to the fact that the game looks like it could barely qualify as a GameCube game. The Dreamcast could have easily supported these graphics and the Nintendo 64 would have come close. Simply put, the lack of effort that was put into graphical detail and a sense of scope is inexcusable for a game like this. The island itself is puny. This is definitely not next-gen.

If Pilotwings is a Boeing 747, Wing Island is a Cessna. It just goes to show that imitators are rarely as good as the original source. With simplistic and boring missions, a two-player multi-player that is more likely to scare your friend away and graphics that remind me of years gone by, Wing Island left an overly negative impression on me. I don't like to bash on games, this one just deserves it. Unlike Hudson's other Wii release, Kororinpa, I genuinely disliked this game the minute I began playing. Wing Island crashes without even taking off it's that bad at flying.

Graphics: 3
Sound: 4
Gameplay: 4
Creativity: 6
Replay Value/Game Length: 5
Final: 4.4
Written by Kyle Review Guide

Reviewed by Kyle Bell