We’ve been eagerly anticipating Windjammers 2 ever since it was announced back in 2018, and at the start of 2022 it’s finally here for all major platforms. We’re testing the PlayStation version, but you can also pick it up for Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Steam and Stadia.
Of course the original Windjammers dates back to the 1990s, but it was a Neo Geo title that was out of reach for most of the home audience because of the high costs involved with that particular console and its games. A bit of a cult classic then, but the 2017 Dotemu port finally brought it to wider audiences while also including online play, which is a great for a game like Windjammers that thrives on multiplayer fun.
Brand new sequel Windjammers 2 (which unlike the 2017 release is not an arcade port) doesn’t drastically change the core gameplay formula. Windjammers is essentially a cross between Frisbee and air hockey where you’re looking to throw discs into the opponent’s goal while using the environment to your advantage. For old school home computer fans there are hints of Speedball as well, but Windjammers is easy to pick up and play, and the sequel merely adds a few new special moves to the mix.
A roster of ten different characters means you can pick someone who suits your playing style, and they all have unique special moves too – which is a big part of mastering Windjammers 2 over time, as there’s plenty of nuance beyond the easy to pick up core formula. You’ll quickly notice that certain tactics will work better against human opponents than against the AI though, as for instance a feint in one direction is much less likely to fool the computer than the person sitting next to you. Other skills, likely quickly returning a disc after catching it, are pretty universal in how they feel like Windjammers’ own version of a parry/reversal move.
We’re mentioning that for a reason though, and it’s because Windjammers 2’s visual presentation, especially in single player, feels a bit like a classic fighting game campaign – Street Fighter 2 comes to mind. And although this isn’t an arcade port, Dotemu’s expertise when it comes to creating arcade experience shines through in these little touches as well as in their animation style – which is reminiscent of other Dotemu productions like Streets of Rage 4. The screenshots don’t really do Windjammers 2 justice – it still looks retro, but has a wonderful flair thanks to the excellent animations and rich details.
Windjammers was always a simple concept, so it’s not surprising that Windjammers 2 doesn’t feel like something radically different. It’s a subtle evolution rather than a revolutionary change to the formula, but although that lack of significant changes will bother some it will certainly appeal to fans of the original.