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Pilotwings 64’s ‘Birdman’ Stage Is Significantly More Stressful On Switch

Image: Nintendo

When Pilotwings 64 flew onto the Switch’s N64 library earlier this month, we were ready for an overall relaxing time. The improved frame rate and tighter Switch controls would be able to take this game that we were big fans of back on the N64 and only improve our playing experience further, right?

Wrong! While, for the most part, we remain big fans of the game and continue to have a good time with it, it looks like the Switch is playing havoc with some sections of the flying experience – notably in the game’s bonus ‘Birdman’ level.

As pointed out on Twitter by Rhod Broadbent (@sdrhod), the previously chilled-out bonus stage – which sees you take to the skies in a birdman suit – now requires a whole lot more flapping to make sure you don’t crash into any obstacles. Broadbent tested the level out in its original N64 and new Switch forms, showing that the updated version doesn’t reach for the skies quite as much as we had initially assumed. The results can be found in the video above.

Broadbent, who previously worked as a programmer on the likes of Fable and Star Fox Command, believes that the increased button spamming on the Switch re-release is all to do with the game’s improved frame rate. While back in the hazy days of 1997 you would have to rapidly tap A to flap your wings and gain altitude, now the act of flying higher is something of an endurance test.

According to the programmer, this is because the original game tied the wing’s flaps to the frame rate. Now running at 60 frames per second, the Switch release thus requires a whole lot more tapping to keep up with the ‘improvements’.

Expanding on his explanation to VGC, Broadbent stated that the original release would count the frames that passed between each button press, with a decreased number of in-between frames leading to more flaps. The higher frame rate of the NSO release means that more frames elapse between each button press, so you need to spam a whole lot harder to keep ol’ birdy in the air.

Some players have taken to Twitter to share that using A and B together on the Switch makes for an overall less stressful experience, with the double button input working as if you were pressing A at an increased rate.

This being said, we hope that Nintendo will be able to do something about this mistake in the near future so that ‘Birdman’ can go back to being the chilled-out experience that it was always intended to be. Nobody wants to explain a Pilotwings-related injury to a doctor, after all…

Have you had a similar problem with Pilotwings 64 so far? Crash land in the comments and let us know!

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