Wing Island

Wing Island is a horribly mediocre flight game. You can’t call it a simulation, as it’s got a very, very simplistic flight model/control set. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing if implemented well and used for entertainment’s sake, but Wing Island.. Ah, Wing Island. It falls short. I can’t say I wasn’t warned, either. This was one of the games that piqued my interest at launch, but even then, I had a feeling that it would end up one of the first launch bombs, one of the first games to go cheap quickly. I never actually got around to picking it up until recently, over a year later, when a reasonable opportunity presented itself – hell, wouldn’t you trade Wii Far Cry for practically anything else, safe in the knowledge that things couldn’t get worse?

Perhaps I should start with the positives – there’s surprisingly little brown, the music’s cheery and the Charlie-Brown’s-teacher-speak never fails to impress. Also, there’s a rather cool minigame where you have a giant sphere of balloons and must fight against the AI or another player to fly through as many as possible in a time limit.

The bad bits? The main storyline. Have you ever played Pilot Wings on SNES or N64? It’s an attempt to encroach on that millieu, but unfortunately unsuccessfully so. The first couple missions I played involved dropping crates on targets, dropping nets on cows, and dropping fire retardant on a burning forest. The next mission after that was dropping the DVD back into the case, turning the Wii off, and returning to the ongoing, doomed quest for modern porn involving women without tattoos. It’s easy enough to control the plane (or planes) with the Wiimote, but the things you do are just so humdrum. If you must get a flight simulation for Wii, get Blazing Angels, otherwise I’d suggest you keep hoping for Wii Pilot Wings from Nintendo. Also, if you’re French, please hold your breath while you wait.

“(or planes)”? Yes, you can control more than one in some missions – a formation, although it’s essentially the same as flying a single plane, just with less direct control over the other planes. You use different motions to go in different formations. A v-shape for better turning, a straight line for speed, a plus formation for .. variety? Who knows. Surely you didn’t expect me to pay attention. All I know is that it made it an extra 7% more interesting than if you flew one plane constantly.. which, if you use science, isn’t really all that much.

The most bitter disappointment of all? You can’t do Immelman loops. The fact I don’t know what they are and just remember the term from the manual to “Chuck Yeager’s Air Combat” is immaterial. Well, second most bitter – the first would be when I looked down in the shower this morning to discover those pills from Czechoslovakia didn’t work.

An extra bonus, some YouTube footage of the game in action.

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