WINDJAMMERS 2 (REVIEW)

Jan 20, 2022

by

Windjammers 2

In the film BASEketball, slacker friends Coop and Doug cleverly combine two sports when they find themselves outmatched against a pair of opponents. Incidentally, my latest game review has a lot in common with this Zucker comedy. Windjammers 2 finds it’s origins in the 90’s. And if you found the idea of combining the hardwood with the diamond entertaining and exhilarating then this is the game for you.

Windjammers 2

Developer: DotEmu
Publisher: DotEmu

Available On: Nintendo Switch; Playstation 4, Playstation 5; Xbox One, Xbox and PC Game Pass; Steam; Google Stadia;

Release Date: January 20th, 2022

Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch

One of the most wonderful places for me was a neon-lit arcade of the 90’s. The contrast of the chorus of game sounds was always such a rush. Tucked among the litany of cabinets was the NeoGeo, a arcade and eventual home game console. Among the titles available to play on the system was Windjammers a twist on some traditional sports that like BASKetball gives the advantage to the player who gets inventive. Now with Windjammers 2 a new generation of players can see whether the arcade classics were worth all the hype. Or if it was all just a bunch of hot air?

DISC-OGRAPHY

In Windjammers 2 players assume one of 10 characters, 6 from the original. In true 90’s tournament game setup, each has a backstory including some country or training that brings them to the Windjammer tournament. Their varying levels in power and speed are supposed to entice you to choose on player over the next. But anyone who has played a 90’s arcade tournament game will attest it’s all about aesthetics over abilities. In terms of looks even the cast of characters attribute their style to a mash up similar to something you might see from a futuristic Tromaville.

So how would I explain the sport of Windjamming? This isn’t your basic you put your chocolate in my peanut butter kinda creation. No, I have actually found myself struggling with a perfect way to describe the sport that exists within this game. Matches are 1v1 with each player occupying one half of a rectangular area, some of them sand and some stadiums. So far it sounds like either tennis or volleyball, right…wrong. You see unlike these sports there are a lot of ways to score. And that is all because of the power of the disc.

The disc players use in Windjammers 2 is a bit of a physics and physical anomaly. It operates as a disc at times and as a ball at others. During a match you’ll move your player around the arena, sliding to anticipate and intercept your opponents “windjam”. If you manage to catch the disc you have two choices how you can return the volley, either a toss or throw.

DISC-GO

Your first tossing option is done lob style like vollyeball. Next, you can slam the disc into the ground, like POG, causing it to bounce to your opponents side of the field. Or maybe use the jump slam, another powerful option at your disposal.

Now if you choose to toss the disc you have just as many options. You can either do a curved throw or a more traditional frisbee style throw. Or take a page from air hockey and watch your opponent well, “watch for the richochet”. I found the multiple play styles made for some intense competitions since each one requires a different defensive stance and tactic.

As the volley continues your player energy increases allowing for a power up to your throw/toss that is difficult to anticipate. And even more so to return as you watch your competitors animations flare up with lightening, smoke and flames.

As many different styles of play there are for players to experiment with in Windjammers 2, there are just as many ways to score points. The scoring options mimic many of the sports Windjammers 2 combines. Scoring a straight goal shot awards the player 5 points, while landing a goal in any of your opponents corners will gain you 3. Also, just like tennis or volleyball players can score 2 points if their opponent fails to return the volley.

That’s My windJam

Windjammers 2 recaptures the sensation of a cabinet classic with it’s use of midi type sounds and the old school area map which let’s be honest was always way more detailed than it had to be. The games 2D animation is perfect for the fast paced energy of the playable characters. The arena’s are unique with just enough spectators and background activity to give the matches a dynamic feel. The disc flies fluidly across the tournament area’s, it’s speed increasing with each toss. With options for online and couch competition this retro game with players several options for a deserved a (re)visit. Developer and Publisher DotEmu has a motto that “Retro is Our Mission”. By providing not only new life but new looks to an older game, this company has proven to me they are capable of breathing life into lost titles.

Score: 7.9

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