Windjammers originally was released on the Neo Geo system in 1994. Later, it appeared on the Japanese Wii Virtual Console, but not on the US store. It was then ported to PlayStation 4 and Vita in 2017. In 2018, we see the game coming to Nintendo Switch. It’s been on a bit of a journey, appearing on different systems since 1994. So how is this Frisby tossing game? Let’s check it out.
The graphics and music to Windjammers is an 80’s to early 90’s aesthetic. You got the chiptunes going similar to what you would expect from arcades of yesteryears and the 16bit looking characters with their totally tubular style of southern California beach attire. Settings can be adjusted for a more modern style of the soundtrack that still captures the original sound, as well as the graphics being switched from having scanlines to none.
Windjammers gameplay is based on Frisby throwing and collecting points. The catch is that it’s similar to the classic game of Pong. Your character throws the Frisby disk and the opponent has to intercept it, otherwise, you will score points. Long as the disk passes the character, points can be gained. Getting it to the top or bottom scores 3 points, while the middle is 5 points. The first player with 12 points wins that round on a set of 3 rounds. Whoever wins 2 rounds will win the overall match. If you lose, you do get to retry, whereas if you win, you go on to face the next opponent.
Playing offensive or defensive is really simple, with only using the left analogue stick and either the Y or A buttons. When the disk is thrown, standing in front of it will intercept it. If it’s thrown too far, you can do a quick slide into catching it. A power play is done by pressing a button just before catching it, prompting a power throw. These are fast throws that may even change directions, causing some quick needing defence skills. Power throws can be caught and even have a power return making for very fast, wild matches.
After a few wins, you’re put into a mini-game for points that consists of throwing a disk and manoeuvring a dog to chase after it and catch within the air. The other minigame is a game of bowling, using the disks. Completing both will net in more points. A cool feature in Windjammers is that these minigames are also available from the start of the game. So if you really like the bowling game, you can play it without going through the full arcade mode.
For multiplayer, there is a local mode as well as multiplayer. At this time, I wasn’t able to get a multiplayer match going, despite waiting for 5 minutes. The local mode plays brilliantly but also with an intensity knowing your opponent is sitting by your side. With the aesthetics of the game, it felt like it was the mid 90’s again and playing against friends and family, while getting wildly eccentric over wins and losses.
While the game is very fun, it could have used some more variety in the mix. The opponents will keep you at attention, but the courts needed more change to them. Sometimes there are middle guards that will make the disk bounce, but they only appeared about twice. Alternatives could have been guards on the goals or in the middle of the court. It’s honestly not a huge deal, but if you’re only wanting to play against AI, it can become a bit dull if you have played through a few times.
Windjammers is fun and easy to pick up and play for anyone. Children and adults will be able to enjoy it and being able to play it locally is a huge plus in this world that drifts further from that experience. Those wanting a single player experience can enjoy arcade mode or an endless mode with different difficulty settings, as well as the mini games. It’s fun and those wanting to have a retro game experience will find it here.