Don’t worry, frisbee happy
Originally released nearly 25 years ago for Neo Geo, this pseudo-sports game is… well, it’s basically Pong, with more bells and whistles, and this remaster doesn’t seek to add much more than cleaner menus, online multiplayer, and a place on modern consoles. Yet, in its simplicity, Windjammers finds that rarest of qualities: timelessness. Played head-to-head with a friend, this Frisbee-tossing take on take on volleyball is a joy, with no nostalgia filter required. Thanks to the resurgence of pixel art and local multiplayer in the indie gaming scene, it weirdly feels more modern than ever – actually more so than later imitators such as Disc Jam.
Accessible controls and a brilliantly easy-to-understand concept ensure anyone can get up to speed with Windjammers in minutes; hidden depths and a spirit of fierce competition will keep you coming back time after time. A fighting-game-style roster of characters, each with their own special moves, are in place to provide variety, but what really keeps things fresh is the drive to outdo your opponent. Before you know it, you’re feverishly developing new strategies and mind games, and fighting to execute them in the split second the frisbee crosses the net.
DotEmu, the team behind this remaster, has done the game justice, but kept a light touch. Everything runs smoothly, it looks great on modern TVs, and has a smattering of basic options. Online, however, is a disappointment: buggy, often barely functional, and handicapped even on launch by a low player base, it’s hardly worth starting up, let alone engaging with enough to work your way up its crude ranking system. Forget the internet, then – Windjammers’ arena is the living room, and there it shines just as brightly as it did in 1994.
Mini-games help vary up the arcade mode. You can even play frisbee with your dog. Aww!