Growing up with arcade games, I’ve played many different kinds of action games. Ranging from side scrolling beat-em ups to 1 on 1 fighting games, I thought I had seen them all. One thing I wasn’t expecting was to revisit my arcade days in the form of the action sports game Windjammers 2. A sequel to the 1994 game of the same name, Windjammers is back on the scene in full force. With fast paced action and bright colorful art style, Windjammers 2 is great game full of 90’s nostalgia.
Windjammers 2 plays like an advanced version of pong. Each player is set up on either side of court, with the goal to simply throw the frisbee past your opponent. While this sounds pretty simple, there are a lot of different mechanics to spice up the gameplay. You have four separate actions you can take using the frisbee. You can catch and throw the frisbee. Hit the frisbee without catching it. Toss the frisbee up high. And jumping up to spiking the frisbee into the ground.
Each method has its own benefits and downsides. For instance, tossing the frisbee up high can result in the other player missing entirely. But if they stand underneath it, the super meter builds up faster, letting them unleash hard to block moves. Hitting the frisbee results in a quick return that can catch your opponent off guard, but can be hard to pull off and doesn’t always go where you intended.
All of the mechanics blend very well into one cohesive experience. Volleys back and forth between two players can sometimes go on for half the match. Every second trying to find an opening in your opponents guard. In many ways Windjammers 2 feels more like a fighting game than a sports game. Instead of combos, you have volleys and trick shots.
Windjammers 2 has a small cast of characters to choose from as well. Each of them plays different enough to warrant experimentation. They all have different ranges of power and speed, making some of them hit harder but move slower. I always found that the best characters were the high speed or balanced characters. Being able to traverse the field faster has a much bigger advantage than throwing the frisbee harder.
To back up the characters, there is also a great variety of stages as well. While also being in different locations like a beach or a junkyard, they have different mechanics as well. Each stage has a different scoring methods to make them feel different. For some, the corners will be worth three points and the center worth five points. But the junkyard map for instance, makes the corners worth five points and the center worth three. Theres even two small walls in the center of the junkyard to make bouncing off the walls and into the corners more difficult. One stage evens gives an advantage to the losing player by making the five point zone bigger.
The primary “campaign” of the game is the arcade mode, though there isn’t really much to it. It’s pretty much just winning five matches in a row with the occasional mini game thrown in between. There is a detailed map in between matches, but it only ever lets you select from two spots on the map at a time. There is an option for online play or local play once you get tired of arcade mode. The online play is blast, but it can be difficult to find a player a times. There are times where I have waited over twenty minutes to connect with another player. But I have also had times where I connect after only a few seconds. Luckily once you find a match, you can keep rematching that player until you feel like stopping.
On top of the amazing gameplay and beautiful art style, Windjammers 2 really hits home with the classic arcade nostalgia. The second I started playing the game, I was excited to put it on the big screen and have a showdown with some friends. Even without people nearby, the online play and arcade mode is more than enough to grab your attention for hours on end. Windjammers 2 feels like one of those games that should come standard in any gamers library, even if it’s only to pull out when friends are over.
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