Have you ever wondered what would happen if you crossed tennis, Frisbee and a fighting game? No we haven’t either, but the outcome was 1994 cult classic Windjammers. A fast paced arcade title that was one of the standouts on the Neo Geo, but beyond a few ports over the years it’s never really hit the highs of those mid 90s years. Fast forward almost 28 years (wow, we feel old!) and the long awaited sequel has just broken cover thanks to French studio DotEmu, who are making a bit of a name for themselves just now with the excellent Streets of Rage 4 under their belt, and the highly anticipated Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge on the way as well. So to say this golden oldie is in safe hands is an understatement, and it also hints that we may be in line for something a little bit special.
Windjammers 2 takes the core of what fans love and turns it all the way up to 11, so we get colourful characters, fast paced gameplay, and over the top action by the sack load. As the game sticks very closely to its roots in terms of gameplay, this isn’t a bad thing if we are being honest as it was so tight back then. The biggest new addition in terms of the gameplay has to be special moves, which can easily change the score in a heartbeat. At its core the game is like an over the top version of air hockey, where players have to throw a Frisbee across the court, aiming to score a goal in one of three sections, each winning them different points often 3 or 5. You start by picking one of the ten characters who are a colourful bunch and each has their own speed, power rating and special moves which will affect how they play greatly. And then it’s game on with each round being won by the first player to score 15 points and its often battled out over three rounds so best of two wins.
Odds are you’ll cut your teeth in the arcade mode, where you can learn all the different tricks and skills you need if you’re looking to head online and play against the world, which is where the game really comes to life. As this game is best played with friends you can get into some epic tense matches, as you try and read your opponents next move… only to have them outsmart you at the last second. Visually being a DotEmu game you know this is going to be a real looker, as it has been executed in their signature art style, so it’s a striking and vibrant affair throughout. If we were to pick on any issues that could be found – the biggest has to be with the AI, as on the higher levels it feels that they are reading your inputs as you press them. This is a little cheap. It would have been nice to maybe have had a few more modes or new options too.
Windjammers 2 takes a classic core and is a more than welcome modern interpretation of it that does play it a little safe in ways. Packed with style and tweaks it’s just enough to feel fresh. If you’re looking for a new throw down title for when your mates are round this more than fits the bill.
Windjammers 2 is out now on PC, Xbox, PS4 and Switch for around £20, and is currently on Game Pass if you’re a subscriber.
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