Pilotwings 64 is an aerial sports game and the sequel to the 1991 Super Nintendo Entertainment System video game Pilotwings. The game was released on the Nintendo 64 the day after the console's launch along with Super Mario 64 in 1996.
There are 4 classes: Beginner Class, Class A, Class B, and Pilot Class. Each class has 1-3 tests from each vehicle. You unlock the next class by achieving at least bronze medal with the selected vehicle. Each test can award you up to 100 points depending on your performance.
The main game features 3 different vehicles to use:
- Hang Glider (info to be added)
- Rocket Belt (info to be added)
- Gyrocopter - your character flies a gryocopter which can shoot missiles that can be used for various types of challange such as shooting targets or a giant robot. Most tests have you fly through coloured rings and landing on the runway. You are most often scored on Time Points (how fast the test is compleyed), Landing Accuracy and Landing Imact.
There are also 4 minigames to unlock:
- Cannonball - your character is shot out of a cannon into a target 4 times. The max amount of points to be earned for each target is 25 (100 in total). You unlock this mini game by getting at least 3 silver medals in Class A.
- Skydiving (info to be added)
- Jumble Hopper (info to be added)
- Birdman - your character gains wings and can fly around each map at a total of 4 different weather options - sunny, cloudy, evening, and starry night. The minigame is endless until you crash, having no objective or a scoring system. This minigame is unlocked after achieving at least 3 silver medals in the Beginners Class (you can demo it early by flying underneath the stone arc and hitting the star in the Holiday map).
The game was developed by Nintendo EAD, Nintendo R&D3 and Paradigm Simulation. It was made to be a sequel to Pilotwings on the SNES, to show off the new 3D graphics of the Nintendo 64, but most notibly an entertaining launch title for the system.
Pilotwings 64 was well received by most reviewers. The game's combination of 3D graphics, realistic settings, and flight simulation were applauded by many news sources and major gaming publications. In his release review of the Nintendo 64, The Seattle Times contributor Steven L. Kent found that the flight mechanics and vast areas featured in Pilotwings 64 make it one of the most impressive games ever made. Glenn Rubenstein of the website GameSpot summarized, "The graphics, sound, control, and all around excitement add up to make Pilotwings 64 one hell of a great ride."
- In Mt. Rushmore in Little States, Washington's face is replaced with Mario's. If the player shoots Mario's face (or land on it with Cannonball), it will change into Wario.
- Lark’s face and described characteristics (as seen in the Pilotwings 64 instruction booklet) shows similarities to Nester, who has the same facial features. His vehicles were colored with the colors of the Nintendo Power logo.
- Goose was based off the character of the same name in Top Gun. In keeping with the military theme of the film, all of Goose's vehicles were done in an American flag motif.
- The largest female character, Robin, was originally called Hooter in the Japanese version, akin to owls, who communicate by hooting. However, as it is a vulgar term for women in the United States, her name was changed to Robin.
Although it did not have the same amount of success as Super Mario 64) (partly due to the games being released on the same day) the flight simulator still sold one million copies worldwide. It has recived high scores and praise from game critics and news sources around the world. It is speculated around 1 in 4 people who bought an N64 at launch also bought Pilotwings 64.