DotEmu takes gamers to a land of warm sand, cool surf, and 330 megs of power with their updated port of Windjammers. Should you party like it’s 1994, or is this sport past its prime?
Windjammers is an interesting sport that combines pong, tennis, and high speed gameplay. It’s simple at first glance – players must get a frisbee past their opponent to score two, three, or five points at a time. The first person to 12 points wins a set, and the winner of two sets out of three wins the game. However, like most things in life, the devil’s in the details. Despite using a two-button set up, players can lob, curve, or even add speed with supersonic throws. There are also “super” moves that add some flair to your throws, lighting it on fire and making the trajectory go every which way. Despite its pick-up-and-play nature, there is a high skill ceiling that will have players dying to master the game.
There’s no shortage of variety either. Players can take control of one of six characters, each with their own special throw. Hailing from around the world, these 90s-infused characters vary greatly depending on their speed and power. Newcomers will likely gravitate toward a balance of the two elements, but those more weaned on the game will find a specific type of character they like. It’s very similar to a fighting game in that regard, one that allows for experimentation and replayability. This extends to the courts as well; each has different zones, boundaries, and even hazards at play that greatly change things.
Those already familiar on Windjammers from the days of MC Hammer may be disappointed in the lack of new content here. Two short, but sweet minigames are available in the form of “Dog Distance” (which has you controlling a dog to catch a frisbee) and bowling (bowling with frisbees), along with an “Infinite” mode. An online mode powered by the GGPO network infrastructure is available for both casual and ranked play, and works well despite the occasional bout of lag. There is a ranking system available, but it is a little more straightforward compared to the more fleshed out ones in Street Fighter V and Tekken 7. There is also the ability to play in 4:3 or 16:9 mode, which will no doubt please both arcade and PVM purists alike.
On the other hand, the more old school of the lot may not appreciate the new UI the game has to offer. Though this is a minor quibble, some menus were updated to an HD standard, while others maintain the original Neo-Geo graphics. This sometimes leads to a clash in visuals, and though the new pixelated beachfront background is a nice touch, something more akin to the more unified look of throwbacks like Sonic Mania would be ideal.
Windjammers is a timeless game that is perfect for competitive play. DotEmu’s release isn’t the most robust around, but those looking to recapture the spirit of SNK will have fun with this title.