Windjammers 2 is the sequel to the Data East Neo Geo arcade game Windjammers. 28 years on in comes developer and publisher Dotemu. Dotemu are no strangers at bringing back classics, either by sequel (Streets of Rage 4) or port, with the original Windjammers ported on Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 back in 2017. The great news is Dotemu have stayed loyal to the flying disc arcade romp and Windjammers 2 brings a satisfying arcade style game with an old school versus competition feel.
Windjammers is best described as a cross between pong, frisbee tennis and an old school 2D fighter. Each match consists of 2 hand-drawn characters competing in a top-down view where they either try to throw the frisbee into the opponents yellow or red goal zones or make the frisbee drop on the opposition’s side of the court. Players use several different shots to outwit and outplay their opposition to win two of the three sets needed to complete a match. A player is victorious in a sets by being first to 15 points or scoring the most points after 90 seconds.
What makes Windjammers 2 so addictive is its responsive controls. As matches can become fast and furious, it is fantastic that any tough point won or even lost feels all because of the players ability. Each player can perform different throws that curve, drop or vary in power, while in defence perform a swift slide, jump, and counter by hitting the frisbee back. Players can also pick the frisbee out of the air and slam them down for points.
Windjammers 2 brings back the six characters from the first game and adds four more. Each have their own personality and looks very reminiscent of the 90s 2D fighters. The cell shaded characters look great and is a trademark of Dotemu and their recent releases. Each character is characterised by two skillsets with Speed (player movement) and Power (Frisbree throwing strength), making each end of the roster feel significantly different. Each character also comes with their own powered up move that can be used to break down a stubborn opponent or save a certain goal. The only thing the player must worry about is when to use it.
The playing courts vary and aew different in some way other than a distinctive look. While they change in size, the scoring zones also change, for instance hitting the corners maybe worth 3 points while the next court’s corner it is worth 5. Some courts also have obstacles that move and change the direction of the shot, making for a great offensive tool.
Windjammers 2 unfortunately lacks in modes. It has an Arcade mode like any 2D Fighter where the player battles numerous opponents which includes a couple of bonus mini games. An online and offline versus mode where online offers ranked or unranked matches or the ability to play with friends. I had no issues finding matches online and for such a quick game I had little input lag. It’s a shame that there is only a small number of online and offline modes and no tutorial. Like any Fighter, there is depth here and matches can be won or lost on a single frame so a free play training mode would be great. Even online lobbies would be good, allowing players to watch and learn the playstyles of your opponents. Sadly, the limited about of modes makes Windjammers 2 feel a little bare.