Windjammers 2 Review: Extreme Frisbee Throwdown Part Deux

Windjammers 2 recreates the arcade experience of the original SNK fighting-meets-Frisbee came with solid results.

The original Windjammers is probably the most SNK sports game ever. The “flying disc sport” is a mash-up of tennis (or, let’s be honest, Pong) except with a very Frisbee-like object and is structured like a classic arcade one-on-one fighting game. Each of the six characters has their own arenas and even sets of special fighting game-like moves.

Windjammers is fun stuff too, even for those of us who’d never touch more traditional sports games. It managed to generate enough goodwill and nostalgia over the years to both get ported to modern systems and spawn a sequel. Windjammers 2 might have flown in almost 20 years later, but it sticks like glue to the source material. 

Windjammers 2 Review: Extreme Frisbee Throwdown Part Deux

The new game has 10 characters competing, along with new stages and moves to go with them. The basic gameplay involves throwing, lobbing, and tossing the disc over a net to score a goal in your opponent’s scoring zones. Depending on the arena, the scoring zones are generally divided into three segments worth either three or five points (the five-point zone is usually a smaller-sized goal). An opponent missing a shot is worth two points and the first player to win two out of three rounds wins the match.

As you play, your power gauge increases, enabling super moves like fiery spiraling disc shots or discs that blaze along suddenly veering paths. When the disc is lobbed at you, a target appears on the ground for where it will land and standing there just before grabbing and returning the shot can also results in a special move. All these high-powered moves have far more power than normal shots, but can still be intercepted and returned (which also results in a super shot).

Most of these moves are done by pressing a direction and either the throw, slap, or lob buttons. You can add curve to normal shots with half-circle moves as you toss the disc. There are a surprising amount of layers in the gameplay and learning how to perform basic and special moves is only half the battle. Figuring out how to counter opponent shots is a bit more complicated.

The single-player arcade mode enunciates just how random a lot of the action can be. At times, the movement of the disc (particularly with certain special moves) feels almost random. Much like the original, dash and throw are the same button, which can occasionally lead to annoying blunders, such as dashing away when you meant to catch and return the disc.

The hand-drawn 2D graphics look sharp and colorful, with nary a pixelated character in sight. The widescreen, HD presentation looks excellent, but the visuals still definitely cater to Windjammers’ retro roots. The audio (complete with an over-excited announcer, goofy electronic fight music, and quick character soundbites) sounds completely in line with the Neo Geo arcade legacy.

Windjammers 2 includes both online and local multiplayer modes. Online you can select ranked, quick, or friend matches. Online matches were smooth and lag free, but there’s not much in the way of advanced customization or tournaments. You pick your character, select an arena, and go. Unless specifically choosing to play with a friend, the game randomly connects you with other players.

Windjammers 2 Review — The Bottom Line

Pros:

  • Sharp graphics and fast gameplay
  • Fun arcade-style multiplayer 
  • 10 characters and plenty of special fighting-game-like moves

Cons:

  • Doesn’t add much overall on the original
  • Controls can feel a little slippery, especially with dash and catch/throw being the same button

Windjammers 2 feels less like a sequel and more like a remaster of the original. Despite the new graphic overhaul and increased roster characters, it’s still fundamentally the same game. That’s not a bad thing if you enjoyed the original, but in the end, we can’t help but feel this sequel could have been bolder and opened the game up to something more expansive. 

[Note: Dotemu provided the copy of Windjammers 2 used for this review.]

Our Rating
7
Windjammers 2 recreates the arcade experience of the original SNK fighting-meets-Frisbee came with solid results.
Reviewed On: Nintendo Switch

Contributor

Jason D'Aprile has been writing about games and technology for a very long time. His bylines have appeared on and in countless sites and magazines over the years, including Paste Magazine, Playboy, G4TV, Indie Game Website, UploadVR, Techhive, Lifewire, the Brick Moon Fiction podcast, United Front Gaming, and others he's mostly forgotten about. Jason lives in a house in the woods and does not twit.

Published Jan. 19th 2022

New Cache - article_comments_article_70994
Related
More Windjammers 2 Content