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Windjammers 2 Review

Initial release date: January 20, 2022

Developer: DotEmu

Series: Windjammers

Designer: Jordi Asensio

Publisher: DotEmu

Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Google Stadia, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5

Genres: Action game, Sports video game, Indie game, Simulation Game

"Review Copy Provided By DotEmu"

Windjammers was an insanely fun arcade game made by the now defunct Data East all the way back in 1994. I remember playing this at the arcades back then as there was honestly nothing like this out in either the arcades or on home consoles back then. It’s a game that is for all intents and purposes a mixture of ultimate frisbee and pong that has you needing to dominate the courts to keep the frisbee out of your goal while applying pressure and scoring on your opponents. This game became a cult classic for nearly 30 years with no one expecting a follow-up sequel. In 2018, iconic developer DotEmu made the announcement that they were making Windjammers 2 complete with an all new art style that pays homage to the original, new characters, new throwing gimmicks, a robust netcode for online matches and more! Here we are in 2022 and the game has released on all major platforms, but the question remains of does it live up to the original? We’re about to find out!

Windjammers 2 has an amazing art style and the animation in motion is beautifully fluid. All the original cast returns and are drawn in this new art style that just screams early 90’s aesthetics in their hand drawn way. The soundtrack retains many of the original games tunes along with some remastered tracks and a slew of new ones too.

Windjammers 2 retains all the original games formula and fun and manages to take that game to the next level with not only some overhauled and new mechanics but a slightly slower pace to the original game making it easier to keep up with what all is going on. Matches play out in a first to 15 points to win a set style with the first to take two out of three sets as the winner of the match. You’ll need to be quick on your feet to outwit and out maneuver your opponents all in an attempt to score your frisbee in the goal while keeping their frisbee out of yours. As simple as this may sound, it is anything but as there are layers of complexity to this game’s seeming simplicity. You have several moves at your disposal from doing a direct throw, lob throw, jump catch (which can be followed up with a drop shot or a spike spinning ground shot), and rolling. You also have some defensive options such as being able to counter shots and if you time them correctly you can immediately lob them back at your opponent or ricochet it off the side and into the goal. For offensive options, you have the curve shot, drop shot, charge shot, bank shot, and power shots which are specific to each character and cost built up meter.

Playing against the CPU can be a test of patience as even on the easier difficulties, they still put up a strong challenge and if you somehow manage to mess up even once, they will punish you and score. This can be a rather intimidating feeling as the computer will unyieldingly trample all over you until you learn the game’s mechanics, your character’s strengths and weaknesses, and observe how the CPU plays against you in order to counter their efforts. Once you get the game’s mechanics down (which the game does a very poor job of explaining), you’ll be set to take on just about anyone. The game very much has a learning curve once you go beyond the surface of what deceptively looks like a simplistic game that is ultimately tough-to-learn and even more difficult-to-master, yet with all that being the case, practice and repetition will see you to victory.

The roster is made up of a nice amount of characters all ranging from overall balanced stats to being more speed or power oriented so there can be some match ups that favor some over others and vice versa.

Windjammers 2 doesn’t offer a lot of modes as this is a purely old-school style game that offers a single player mode, a local versus mode, and an online versus mode complete with spectacular rollback netcode. I do feel that the lack of a training mode does ultimately hurt the game as it really could’ve benefitted from an in-depth tutorial especially for new players.

Windjammers 2 is a game that has a little something for everyone of all skill ranges. It’s beautiful, loud, tough, and a ton of fun especially with other people locally or online. Dotmu has always been a company that raises the bar on the games that they work on, and this is no exception. While Windjammers 2 does lack in a robust set of modes and a shockingly surprising lack of a training mode, the game still manages to deliver some of the most fun, technical, and kinetic white knuckle arcade action you’re likely to find anywhere. This is a most definite must play!

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