WindJammers:Switch edition. Throwing Frisbees, Not Switches.

WindJammers


As long as their have been video games, people have made sports games. And a long their have been sports games, there have been fantasy sports games and versions of traditional sports in a more exciting varient. From Mario tennis, to Madden Blitz, Speedball 2 to SSX tricky there never has been a shortage in excitement.  Some of the most inventive game varieties came from Japan in the 90’s and even though they were not all winners some definitely became well deserved classics or at least cult classics. One of those is Windjammers, which originally did not get much exposure as it was only released in Arcades and on the very expensive NEOGEO system. Last year it saw a re-release for modern systems finely crafted by DotEmu and restored to its former glory. With added features and online play the game was released for Playstation. And on 23 October 2018 it was released on Nintendo Switch.

What is it?
WindJammers is a fast-paced arcade game originally released in 1994 on the NEOGEO arcade system. With some clear inspiration by PONG as basic design it feels much like a cross between tennis and Street fighter if tennis was played with frisbees. You try to defeat your opponents from across the world in  a best out of there match in order to become the best frisbee player and claim your championship title.

Gameplay
Much as with Street fighter other classic fighting games,you choose your avatar from six playable characters. Each different character comes different power variations and techniques. Some are faster other more brute force etc. The play field is divided by a net and each player can move around in their half. The goal is to defend their end zone stopping a disc thrown by their opponent and return the throw trying to score in the other layers endzone. If you have the disc you cannot move, you can only throw the disc in a variety of ways and different directions. You can throw fast, lob it over your opponent or use the sides to bounce the disc with some effect. If you time it right you can also throw the disc with a boost that makes it harder to stop. the end zone has yellow and red areas . The yellow parts give you 3 points and the red ones , usually harder to get, give you 5. IF the opponent misses a catch and the disc hits the floor then that will give you 2 points. First to reach 12 or more points wins the round. win 2 rounds and you win the match.It is all straight forward enough, but harder to execute, especially on the higher difficulties.  Timing and trickery make a big part of the game in besting your opponent.

Presentation
Being from the 16 bit glory days the game comes with a bright variety of color and design. For this re-release DotEmu does not have high def newly created graphics but has added a variety of options for displaying  this game. Besides brand new HD menus ,you can choose to play in traditional 4:3 format with a border around the game, or expand the screen to a 16:9 format. For authenticity you can add scan lines, but you can also remove them or even smooth them out at the cost of some blur. Overall it works very well on modern TV’s. For audio you have the option to play the original soundtrack or the NEOGEO CD versions.  WindJammers comes with a variety of game modes.  There is arcade where you try to beat all the CPU opponents and become champion, a unlimited mode and two mini games in the form of Dog Disc catch and Disc Bowling. And off course there is local and online multiplayer. You can even play wireless against another person with their own Switch. 

Parent Recommendation
This game is al about competitive fun with frisbees, it is clean but competitive. There are no suggestive themes or foul language nor is there blood and violence. At worse a player can be knocked down by a hard thrown frisbee. With easy controls that use only two buttons ( B and X are the same and Y and A are the same in function) but a series of combos that can add game depth.  Other then need skill level it is a game that works for everyone and can provide a fun afternoon of competitive play at the home


Overall Reccomendation
WindJammers is a classic for a reason and it is a great thing that DotEmu has decided to bring it back available for the modern era. The game shows its age in terms of features , but the addition of online and over the air competition and the filters and widescreen mode compensate for that. It is disappointing there are only 6 characters to choose from , it makes the arcade mode short and leaves not much choice when selecting a character , especially with only one female character. But the game play is fun and make up for the most of the lack in options and character choice. Add the fact it comes at a consumer friendly price, WindJammers offers enough fun to justify a purchase. But even more so if you have people to play it against.The rerelease of game was successful enough to even launch efforts for WindJammers 2 , built for modern consoles and we cannot wait to see what that will bring. Hopefully they keep local coop and add 2 vs 2 .





Game Information:Title: WindJammersDeveloper: DotEmuPublisher: DotEmu Release date: 1994, 1995, 2010,2017,2018Platforms: Switch , Playstation 4, Playstation vita, Nintendo SwitchVersion reviewed:Nintendo Switch Official Site:  http://www.dotemu.com/game/windjammers/
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