Pilot Sports is best described as Pilotwings for Playstation (also available on Switch). WHAT. Hold your horses. It’s best described as Pilotwings for Playstation in terms of the sort of game it is, but it is nowhere near the quality or charm of the aforementioned classic.
For those not familiar, Pilot Sports (like its inspiration) is split into a series of different ‘sports’, each set on an area of an island with point challenges. Different scores reward you with medals (think of the now ubiquitous mobile app 3 star system) which unlock more levels.
The sports are where the fun occurs, and there’s a good variety (which again, for Pilotwings fans will feel familiar). You have flying, jetpack, hang gliding and parachuting. Each requires you to do certain things, usually involving passing through rings. You need to hit all rings and complete the course, and if you miss any you have a time penalty. Time is your score.
There is some variety – so for parachuting and jet packing you need to land in a target for a bonus to your score. Rather than just pass through rings (your first jetpack challenge) another sees you having to collect parcels around an island in any order you please, and another sees you having to touch certain platforms. There are over 50 levels dotted around locations of the island all with various adjustments to the formula.
And it works, it’s kind of fun. But there are a few bits where it becomes frustrating – not necessarily because of the game itself, but because if they could just have done a little bit more to round out the package it would have been great. I hate to be negative but here are my top pet peeves which shackle Pilot Sports:
- The camera. You use the left stick to move and the right stick to… nope. You can’t look around. In jetpack it’s particularly crippling as you need to turn to look, which in turn impacts your momentum and can send you off course. It’s a basic requirement for games in a 3D open space really nowadays, and to not include it is a bit of a fail. Where it starts to impact the gameplay, well then you have problems.
- The presentation. The graphics are cheery but basic. The character models look like Playmobil ones, the menu/UI looks like it was knocked up very quickly. The music is suitably cheery and chirpy but my goodness, it is annoying after a few minutes.
- The progression. Finish a level, get 3 stars, move on. There are no collectibles hidden or chance to really explore the island. Leaderboards exist to best others which is something at least.
- The price. £24.99 feels a bit steep….
Pilot Sports is a good little game, but its execution does not quite live up to its ambitions. Perhaps with more time/budget/development power they could be onto something, and maybe Pilot Sports 2 will deliver.
Reviewed on PS4