From leading various youth groups at local parishes to mingling with monks and seminarians at Belmont Abbey College, I’ve been involved in many different Catholic circles over the years. No matter where I go however, there are two things every group has had in common. The first is our faith in God, obviously, but the second is ultimate frisbee. I’m not sure where exactly this tradition comes from, but frisbee is practically synonymous with Catholic recreation as far as I can tell. So when I saw Dotemu, the studio behind the excellent Streets of Rage 4, was making a sequel to a long dormant arcade game about a fictional frisbee sport I knew I had to review it.
Windjammers was originally created by Data East for the Neo Geo in 1994 and since then it has become pretty niche with only a handful of re-releases and a small community following. 18 years removed from the original, Windjammers 2 is a comeback I’m sure most of us never saw coming. Heck, I had only seen the first game briefly at a convention before the sequel was announced. Needless to say this pseudo sports game has a lot to prove if it wants to succeed in the modern era.
Windjammers 2’s gameplay preserves almost everything from the original game with classic characters, courts, and mechanics all accounted for alongside brand new ones. At the most basic level the game is a lot like Pong with players rallying a frisbee back and forth across the screen trying to score points by throwing it in the net or lobbing it onto the ground on the opponent’s side of the court. Where things start to get a little more interesting are the various trickshots at the player’s disposal including curved shots, a jumping spike, and super throws specific to each character. All of these elements combine into a fast paced experience with very little, if any, luck involved which is ideal for a competitive game.
As solid as the core gameplay is however, there aren’t that many modes to experience said gameplay in. The local and online versus modes function exactly as you would expect. There’s also an arcade mode with a few short minigames in between matches against the computer and character specific endings that function more as gags rather than storytelling. Definitely not a shining example of variety, but considering the fact that this is a budget title I can understand why even if I wanted just a bit more.
The game’s presentation is also solid, but not exceptional. The artsyle is similar to the aforementioned Street of Rage 4, but more bright and colorful to match the fun and more upbeat tone of Windjammers. Sure it’s not quite as detailed as it could be, but it’s still aesthetically pleasing nonetheless. The music on the other hand was a disappointment. It fits the gameplay just fine, but it consistently seemed to fade into the background and never really left an impression on me.
Overall, despite a few flaws here and there, Windjammers 2 is a very fun game in the purest sense of the word. The fast-paced, skill-based gameplay makes it easy to understand how Windjammers became a cult classic in the first place. This is a no-brainer purchase for anyone who loves competitive multiplayer games. If this sort of game doesn’t appeal to you however, at least keep your best frisbee arm in shape, you’ll probably need it at the next parish community event.
Morality and Parental Warnings: Many of the game’s characters, both playable and in the background, wear form-fitting sports gear and swimsuits, especially on the beach-themed court. While most of the game’s character ending are harmless gags there are a few questionable ones such as Miller being involved in some sort of human experimentation/cloning program, De Lys stealing the Mona Lisa, and Wessel’s homosexual marriage proposal.
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