Quadcopter Pilot Challenge is a title by TACS, giving the player the controls to a little remote-controlled aircraft. Though it sounds fun in theory, does the game manage to create a memorable experience worth your time?
Visually, Quadcopter isn’t anything special, though it does boast solid frame rates and nice color usage. In short, this isn’t a title you will show off to your friends, but it isn’t terrible, either. An interesting, albeit purely aesthetic, touch is the addition of the GamePad being used as a cockpit view. It’s a nice touch of visual flare that was just a fun addition.
Outside of the nice color usage, there’s nothing that truly stands out visually, however. The artwork is decently done, the landscape that the various challenges take place on is decently done, and the animations are solid enough. Quadcopter is very much a game that isn’t visually terrible, but it doesn’t stand out either.
As far as the audio is concerned, the few compositions in the title were rather catchy. They fit the gameplay; they don’t draw away from it. The audio cues are well done, too, with the “whir” of the blades, the pop of balloons, and various other general audio cues working nicely to create a cohesive audio whole to complement the gameplay. The only issue I had with it was the lack of variety in compositions; there simply just weren’t enough. The songs may not draw away from the gameplay, but they tend to become more like background music. Again, not bad at all, but the lack of variety doesn’t help the audio experience stand out.
The gameplay was surprisingly fun, though, despite the wonky controls. The controls are simple: use the left stick to accelerate (tilt forward) or decelerate (tilt backwards), while the right stick is used to move up (tilt forward) or down (tilt backwards). Combining the usage of the sticks proves to be difficult, sometimes in a positive creating-more-skill sort of way, while other times it is simply frustrating. There were many times I would be really getting into a groove, flying my little copter around – zipping through rings and popping balloons for extra time taken off the clock – only to have it suddenly flip out. These sudden moments of wonky controls would not only take me out of my flow, but would pull me out of the enjoyment I had begun having.
Using the sticks very smoothly and fluidly wasn’t the issue; I found that facet of the controls to be rather great. It was the inconsistency or these fluid movements, and how it really punishes the player. Many solid runs I had, which became based on skill the longer I played the game, were thrown out the window in what seemed like random acts of craziness.
Outside of the wonky controls now and then, I had fun with Quadcopter. There are plenty of challenges to play, each with the option to go for gold, silver, or bronze medals. Though there are some other modes, the most fun I had with the title revolved around the challenges. I finished a first run-through of the game in a few hours time, but there were still plenty of medals left to be earned. In each challenge, the player attempts to pass through all the rings in the level in the quickest possible manner, popping balloons for time to be taken off the timer at the end. Once all the rings have been passed through, the player lands on a small platform to end the run. It’s a simple goal, but I found it to be somewhat addicting and fun, thanks to the difficulty curve. It’s nicely done, forcing the player to get better without being disrespectful; it still remained fun.
Other additions – such as earning reputation points to increase license rank – help to lengthen the overall gameplay experience, and create more replay value; you can always come back and get top marks on whatever challenges you desire. There’s enough content to keep the player busy for a solid amount of time.
The solid frame rate, ambitious attempt to use both sticks to carefully and methodically navigate your aircraft to the finish, and the amount of challenges are all strong aspects of this title. Now, I will most likely be in the minority here, and this is purely preferential, but I would’ve liked to have seen gyro controls as an option. I greatly enjoy seeing developers utilize what separates the Wii U from other systems; the GamePad. The developer seemed to have this partially in mind, what with the addition of the cockpit view on the touch screen; however, combining the cockpit view with gyro controls could’ve created a nice off-screen experience, as well as more depth to the TV gaming experience. Having this option would’ve been a nice touch to help push Quadcopter a little more into the spotlight.
Overall, I had fun with Quadcopter. I did find myself playing for long amounts of time in one sitting, addicted to the simplistic nature of the gameplay and finesse required with the controls. The few issues keep the title from becoming a great and unique experience, but it still proved to be an overall enjoyable one.
Quadcopter Pilot Challenge is available for $8.99 on the Wii U eShop.