Tuesday, October 23

Review: Windjammers [Nintendo Switch eShop]


One lesson to learn from the 90s is that if you create an odd game that’s fun and then can figure out how to make it a bit over-the-top and bordering on silly you can make a long-term impression. That’s certainly the case of Windjammers, an arcade title based around a competitive sport using a frisbee-like disc. With the help of some Street Fighter-esque flair it still feels fresh and fun today… even if a bit silly and hairspray-laden.


Starting up the game you’ll first need to choose who your athlete is going to be, with a smattering of choices whose speed and power cover the spectrum. Your objective is to try to get the disc past your opponent, hitting goals that are behind them for either 3 or 5 points. You’re able to make throws that ricochet off the walls, lobs that may be able to catch them off guard so the frisbee will touch the ground for 2 points, or if you time things right get a quick throw off to catch them off guard.


The game is all about positioning and trying to anticipate where your opponent will try to throw next. A quick dash will help you try to grab the disc before it gets by but if you’re able to get in position just a little early you can deflect it into the air and try to power yourself up. Once you’re juiced up you can then use either the player’s signature power throw or a much quicker lob to try to score. What’s great is that different courts have alternative goal layouts but some also have walls near the net at the center which can make things more unpredictable and challenging. There are 2 additional mini games, a frisbee throw and bowling, which are a bit different but also pretty slight. The fact that they’ll have online leaderboards could at least provide some motivation to try to do your best though.


As a warning, for at least the first week after launch online play won’t yet be available but it appears the intent is to have the game patched shortly after launch. Assuming that online play, since the game is pretty straight-forward, won’t have crippling problems I’d consider it a “nice to have” but ultimately availability of other players will be a wild card beyond the first week or two after the game’s release… so there’s no way to predict what net positive or negative effect it will have ultimately. If you’re an old fan from the arcades or are looking for a cheaper and less elaborate sports title you can enjoy with a friend Windjammers plays well and is a solid game for what it is. If online is critical to whether you’re interested be sure to keep an eye out for news on its availability and quality somewhere around the 30th hopefully to get a more refined answer.


Score: 7.5

Pros:
  • A fast-paced, well-designed, and generally tight arcade sports experience anyone should be able to enjoy pretty quickly
  • More advanced players have a fair amount to work with in order to make themselves more formidable
  • The presentation is a great time capsule of early 90s gaming and silliness

Cons:
  • It being an arcade title its longevity will vary from person to person
  • For people with no nostalgic connection to the original arcade title it may be a tougher sell
  • Online support is great but the main question will be whether there will be much availability even a few weeks after it arrives and people have potentially gotten their fill