Wing Island Review

I should have known something would go wrong when a game’s most unique selling feature is being the first flight action game for the Wii. Is it incredible motion sensing controls? No. Is it a plethora of gameplay modes and missions? No. The biggest selling point Hudson could think of for Wing Island is that it’s the first of its kind. If this is what all of the flight action games on the Wii will be like, hopefully we won’t get any more.

Playing Wing Island is a true test of your patience as a gamer. When you start out, you’re hoping that maybe it isn’t as bad as you’ve heard — maybe it’s fun, but us jaded critics are too picky. Sadly, that’s not the case, as Wing Island is a horrid game in almost every way.

It’s hard to sum up how bad Wing Island is without shuddering from remembrance, so here’s a little story to help understand. Imagine that you work a 9-5 job at a factory putting stuff in a box. Sure, life isn’t grand, but it’s stable. One day after a hard day boxin’ (at the factory, or maybe you box on the side to vent your anger at being stuck at that job) you come home and find your wife has left you. "Well," you say, "at least I still have my job!" No, because the next day you show up early, and find a pink slip at your station. You lose your job, your house, and are forced to move to a dumpster in the shady part of town. Just when you get used to your new lower status of living, a random stranger comes along and beats the crap out of you with a steel pipe.

That’s exactly what playing Wing Island is like. From the getgo you can tell that the game isn’t anything special, but it lives up to what it implies it is: a no-better-than-average flight game running off of the power of a gimmick. The first few missions are nothing spectacular, but they’re not horrible. After a while, though, you realize that things are getting worse. Just when you swear that the game can’t possibly drop to an even lower level, it does, plunging you straight towards the ground at full speed.

The idea of Wing Island is certainly a novel one; I loved PilotWings and games like it. Sadly, the implementation of the missions are so boring and ludicrous you’ll find yourself wondering why the hell you’re playing this game — especially when the motion sensing controls are sporadic at best. You have the option to change formations, turbo, brake (well, they call it brake…) and conduct a sharp turn by jerking the remote in one direction or another. Unfortunately, most of the time the actions which play out on the screen are the polar opposite of what you intended, and there’s nothing natural about shoving the remote forward towards the screen in order to go faster. The way you tilt the remote to fly the plane is also unnatural, and unresponsive at the worst possible times; why couldn’t they let you hold the remote upright like a joystick, and fly that way?

With games this bad, sometimes the presentation can save it — not so in this case. The graphics of the game itself are laughably bad for this generation, even for a Wii title. While the game’s concept seems to be perfect makings for a B-movie (a bird family opens up a plane delivery business), you just can’t shake the fact that it doesn’t make any sense at all. Whether you’re putting out fires, shooting magic nets at lost cows, popping balloons, blowing up rocks or delivering random pieces of cargo, the game’s story is composed of a mish-mash of elements which wouldn’t even work on their own, let alone together. The worst part about the missions is that while they’re so different, they really play nearly identical. You’re always flying a plane (and trying to turn correctly with the remote), and doing something at Point A, then Point B, etc. until you’ve collected/dropped off/blown up/put out enough things.

I’ve gotten my hands on and tried a lot of bad games in the last few months, and I can honestly say Wing Island is in the running for that title. If you want a more enjoyable way to spend your afternoon, try explaining Finnegans Wake to a class of third graders. Or maybe go and get that six-month check-up at the dentist that you’ve been putting off over with. Either one of those would be a more fulfilling and entertaining experience for a gamer than playing Wing Island. If you aren’t really a gamer and you want a nice game with no extra features or gameplay modes to confuse you, you might enjoy this, but even that may be stretching it.

In the end, the only positive thing I can say about Wing Island is that it’s perfect evidence for my argument that birds are lazy bastards; you have to be extremely lazy to learn how to engineer airplanes to fly rather than use your own wings. If only I were that lazy, maybe I could have avoided playing this game in the first place.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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