01/11/2018

๐Ÿ”„ Review: Windjammers (Switch) "is it awesome? Heck, it’s not even up for discus-sion" ๐Ÿ”„ #Retrogaming #WindJammers

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Game Title: Windjammers
Developer: DotEmu (Original – Data East)
Platform Reviewed: Nintendo Switch
Rating: Ice Cool
Data East’s (I can’t type that without hearing the voice-over) 1994 future-sport title Windjammers is one held in high regards by gamers who remember its original release.
Essentially an updated version of the seminal ‘Pong’, it mixed simplistic gameplay with vibrant, chunky visuals and high-octane speed, this creates a game that holds up nicely even almost a quarter of a century after it burst into arcades around the globe.
DotEmu clearly also hold the original version in high regard and, whilst small additions and tweaks have been made, the original gameplay remains mostly untouched. The main addition is that of an online mode (which requires a Nintendo Online account to access) which also an online leaderboard, a must when it comes to arcade-style games with a highly-competitive edge and an inclusion which will definitely improve its longevity for those who want to prove their worth against the world.
If you haven’t played Windjammers in the past, the game is presented from a top-down perspective on a futuristic court with two players on opposite sides of the net, behind each player are three zones, to the left and right are 3-point zones and in the centre is the coveted 5-point zone. The premise is simple, throw the disc past your opponent and get as many points as you can before the timer runs out. The key here is that the game is immediately accessible to any level of gamer but the tricks and special moves which can be learned (there’s a really handy in-game tutorial for beginners) mean there is a real hidden depth to Windjammers that can result in some seriously full-on palm-sweating matches.
The modes included are arcade, wherein you choose one of the six available players (who each have stats split between power and speed) and attempt to work your way through matches increasing in difficulty to the ultimate prize. Local multiplayer (2 players only), the aforementioned online mode and a couple of mini games which are fun but are more of a welcome novelty addition than anything with high replay value (chasing a disc as a dog and a time-based form of bowling).
With its typically energetic 90’s soundtrack classic art-style, Windjammers is an example of a simple premise done well. Much like air hockey in arcades over the world, anyone can dive in and play but there’s an opportunity within the clever game mechanics to really up the ante in the skill department by using the power moves, curve-throws, and power attacks in just the right way to gain victory.
Summary
DotEmu has, aside from the online aspects and a few nice options such as the ability to alter visual filters and flick the audio over to the Neo Geo CD version, pretty much left the game as is in their update for the Switch.

It still plays extremely well and the controls are tight and satisfying but if you are expecting big changes, you may be better off waiting for Windjammers 2, due in 2019. Either way, it’s a game that will definitely remain on my Switch for quite some time to come.

Right, I’m off to throw an Aerobie so fast that it bursts into flames.
❄️ RATING: ICE COOL ❄️
Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

Note:
I was reminded of Spiritsphere DX when playing Windjammers, another game available on the Switch with a similar premise that has more options such as vastly different characters, courts, and unlockables as well as an 8-bit art style.
This could be worth a goosey if you fancy something in the same genre with a neat twist.