I’ll freely admit that I got into Windjammers due to Giant Bomb. Those guys all seemed to have a blast playing it, and quite frankly, without their support, this product probably wouldn’t exist on the PlayStation 4 at all. So, my hat’s off to them for generating interest in this fairly unknown game. Especially because it is over 20 years old, and actually holds up remarkably well with one caveat, as long as you have someone else to play against. If not, it’s more a curiosity rather than a needed game.
Platform: PS4 [Reviewed], Vita
Players: 1-2 (online multiplayer, local)
Release Date: August 28, 2017
In truly basic terms, Windjammers is almost a futuristic version of tennis and volleyball mixed together. You don’t have rackets or anything. Instead, you throw a flying disc to try and score in the goal of the opposing player. There are 3 and 5 point sections of the goal with the objective to score about 12 points. Instead of throwing in the goal, you can alternately lob the disc to the other player’s side of the court, and if it makes contact, you get 2 points.
Each player and court have different attributes associated with them. Players usually fall into one of three classes, quick and light, average, or powerful but slow. There are two players per specialization, with one more slightly geared for either power or speed. Courts vary in size, scoring positions, and obstacles. One court may have the 5-point section in the middle and two 3-point sections on the top and bottom, while another may have two bumper walls in the middle of the field to alter the disc’s trajectory. A different court has a small 5-point zone initially, but the more you score against your opponent, the bigger your own goal’s 5- point zone becomes, making it a dangerous proposition. There are six players and six courts, and each has its own home court when it comes to playing, but it doesn’t amount to much.
Controls are simple but belay the depth of the game. You do basic shots with Square and X, with X also being used to dash when you don’t have the disc. You can curve the trajectory with half-quarter circle motions on the analog stick. To lob the disc, you use either Triangle or Circle. If you’re standing still without the disc, it comes toward you, if you press X or Square, that will flip it in the air and will let you perform a super shot, either the character-specific move, a super spin, or a super lob. But these can also be caught, if the opponent is fast enough and thrown back at you with increased speed, which you can also catch, etc. It’s about this cat and mouse game that is one of the significant cruxes of Windjammers.
Online and Multiplayer
There’s a big “if” here, and it is this, Windjammers is a fantastic game IF you have other people around you to play it with, or they have the game and can play you online. Thankfully, the game does have online multiplayer, but I never got it to work. No one else seemed to really be playing the game, outside of the few scant times Giant Bomb or Xavier Woods said they’d be playing it. I would hit “Online Game,” get matched with someone and when that other person saw I wasn’t Woods or a GB guy, they would leave. Outside of that, I would let the game try to find a match, either unranked or ranked, at different parts of the day, and never got anywhere.
That’s the only big complaint I have about it. If you play it by yourself, you’ll likely beat it in about half an hour or so. There are only six players to face, including a mirror of your selected character. There are two short mini-games to play, one is where you play a dog to catch a thrown disc, and the other is a bowling game. Aside from that though, there isn’t much else to keep you occupied.
This game was reviewed using a digital code provided by the publisher.