I have a special place in my heart fun flying games. When I was 16 years old, I was given the privilege of dual enrolling in a night course in college. I began taking pilot training courses through a local community college a time I look back at as one of my most favorite memories of high school. As a part of that training, we spent hundreds of hours using highly sensitive simulators to learn how to fly. 11 years on I still love loading up a good flight game. When Z-Software’s Pilot Sports came…onto my radar (sorry couldn’t resist) I leaped at the chance to review it.
What is Pilot Sports
Pilot Sports is an arcade-style flying game comprising of multiple methods of flight and various challenges all within a vibrant cartoon world. After choosing between the 8 different pilots players take off into the game via one of the various game modes.
There are a variety of different modes: Race the Clock, Freefall, Time Attack, Platform Fun, Pass all the Gates and Collect-a-Thon. There are types of transportation within the game, airplane, hang glider, jet/rocket pack, and sky diving. Players complete challenges to ultimate earn gold-star ratings, which will eventually unlock further levels.
In Race the Clock you traverse the course as quickly as possible flying through rings and, of course, earning a 15-second penalty for every ring missed. In Freefall, characters skydive through rings whilst avoiding obstacles in their headlong dash to landing on the target. In Platform Fun, players use a jet-pack (or rocket-pack later in the game) to fly from platform to platform. Staying with the jetpack theme, you also can use this in Pass all the Gates (self-explanatory) and of Collect-a-Thon where you collect items within a short period. Time Attack tests players ability to navigate the levels quickly and efficiently rewarding them with extra time and points for skilled navigation and well-timed risks. This game mode is different than Race the Clock in that it can continue indefinitely relative to the amount of extra time you gather.
How is Pilot Sports Plot
To be honest, there isn’t one. This game is purely about flying about this vibrant, colorful island as fast and skillfully as possible. Pilot Sports contains no story evolution or discernable story arc. There are a few unlockable like Free Roam mode which contains four additional modes: Undercover Mission, Sightseeing, Fantastic Unicorns and Where to Find Them, and Super Secret Bonus Level. The game also posses a multiplayer mode pitting up to four players against each other in various challenges.
From a visuals standpoint, Pilot Sports shows a bit of its age. It’s graphical style and vibrant color palette are very early Xbox One, reminiscent of Wii colors and styles. The music is mostly average with the score being nice but repetitive. They do however loop nicely and avoid the pitfall of restarting after every mishap. My biggest gripe personally were the flight controls. To start they are extremely simplistic, even by arcade flying game standards. All navigation is conducted using the left stick. This means that your camera AND your flight controls are all mapped to the same control. This continues to baffle and annoy me any time I think about it. The simple remapping of the camera to the right stick would immediately increase my enjoyment of this game.
Secondly, Pilot Sports controls feel squishy. Plain and simple. They aren’t responsive enough. Even taking into account the actual experience of flying, knowing well that responses aren’t always immediately felt, the controls lag and underperform.
All in all, Pilot Sports does successfully achieve what it is designed to do: be an arcade flying game. It does have over 50 levels of varying different degrees of difficulty and objectives. But honestly, the game is pretty average. If beige were a game, Pilot Sports would be its physical form. It‘s not a bad game, but neither is it spectacular. It‘s comfortably average. Yes, you’ll have some fun with it but it is not a memorable or life-changing experience.