With no Mario or Zelda to herald the arrival of the 3DS, it’s down to the first Pilotwings game in 15 years to lead Nintendo’s appeal to its loyal fans.

As before the goal is to complete aeronautical tests using different types of aircraft (although you’ll be using the hand glider, jet pack and light plane in the main).

Most of the tests involve manoeuvring through floating hoops before executing a careful landing, but as you progress plenty of bells and whistles are added to the mix. Earlier missions may be simple steering and landing tests, but just a few missions later you’ll be trying to take the perfect aerial photograph, skydiving in a squirrel suit and performing daredevil flights through underground tunnels.

But even when piloting jet planes, Pilotwings Resort is a dreamy affair where the joys of flying high above Wuhu Island is very much part of the appeal. So much so that the Free Flight mode can be as enjoyable as the pre-defined missions. And while Wuhu may be familiar from Wii Fit and Wii Sports Resort, its gorgeous vistas are made new once again in the game’s beautiful stereoscopic 3D.

On the downside it doesn’t take long to see most of what’s offer. A few hours is enough to play most of the missions and just a few more will be enough to explore Wuhu’s many nooks and crannies. This coupled with the smaller range of aircraft than in previous Pilotwings titles does make the game feel slight.

But even when drained of the promise of new discoveries, the gentle pleasure of its picturesque flights has enough inherent magic to draw you back every so often for one more laid-back glide around Wuhu.

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Pilotwings Resort review

It's a short flight, but a magical one