Pong on adrenaline
The concept of Windjammers 2 is simple: two players face each other on a field the size of a volleyball court, with sides made up of walls from which the clay disc is reflected. The goal: to throw a frisbee into the goal that stretches across the entire width of the field behind you and your opponent. The yellow zones give three points, the red five. The opponent naturally has the same goal. The first player to collect 15 points wins the set. Whoever wins two sets first in the “Best-of-3” leaves the court as the winner. In the “free” offline duels both against the demanding AI and against human opponents, the length of the match and sentence can be varied, so that, for example, three winning sets with twelve points each or one with 21 points can be played out. Of course, the principle is anything but new. Not only because there is the predecessor that Dotemu has researched meticulously and with the help of French fans of the original, known in Japan as the Flying Power Disc.
But also because, like 30 years ago, it is reminiscent of a pimped version of Pong or the arcade classic Air Hockey. It’s just that you don’t just want to react here and pose problems for the opponent according to ‘angle of incidence = angle of reflection’, but instead have significantly more options that
The calm before the storm: Clay disc tennis quickly gets hectic after the first throw, but remains entertaining at all times.
to actively fire back the disc. You can “charge” your throws, cut them, set a lob, there are several special functions, a kind of super throw – and if you want, you can also return the toy directly without catching it first. The possibilities are quite extensive for such a “simple” concept and allow you both to slow down the game and to put your opponent under pressure with enormous speed. Depending on the court, these are supplemented by obstacle elements that add another option to Frisbee tennis got used to all the finesse behind the quick accessibility. Windjammers 2 is definitely one of those games that falls into the “easy to learn, hard to master” category.
Fun and spartan
In this respect, it’s a pity that there are explanatory texts on the controls that react accurately at all times, but no options to try out what you’ve learned without the stress of competition. An active tutorial, which introduces you to at least the basic functions with different lessons like a pummeler, would have been useful. Because even on the easiest difficulty, newcomers to the Windjammers world could have problems leaving the CPU opponents behind. Not to mention duels in the well-functioning and cross-platform online mode: Here you can meet opponents right from the start, who always surprise you and show what finesse the duels have to offer – even in the friendly ” quick match”. But the beauty of it is that if you don’t get frustrated by losing 16:4 or 15:3, you can build character (that’s what they say about defeats, right?) and do something useful for yourself Acquire throwing repertoire. But that again can only be put into practice in matches against CPU or human players. In other words, the learning curve is steep.
Even opponents’ special weapons can be neutralized.
There is not only a lack of a tutorial or a training option. Windjammers 2 is generally manageable in scope. The number of athletes and places where you try to throw the Frisbee around your ears has increased from six to ten compared to its predecessor. But you can’t call it extensive. The same applies to the game modes: Arcade (against CPU, three levels of difficulty), versus (against CPU or human) and online (quick match or ranking list) are available. That was it. And that’s not much for a sequel to a 30-year-old game. Too little? Perhaps. Also because Windjammers 2 isn’t sure whether it wants to be a visually pimped-up remake with new content added or a full-fledged next part. On the surface, Streets of Rage 4 (also by Dotemu) released in 2020 had a similar problem. But here it seems a bit heavier, since the content, which is reduced to the core, is not too lavish. But Windjammers 2 is still fun – and not too tight. With a like-minded person on the sofa, the matches (in which the phrase “just one more revenge” becomes a constant companion) not only get longer, but eventually also get louder. And at some point you also learn a trick or two, so that you might have a chance to come out on top in the next online duel. In other words: Whether solo, with friends or online, Windjammers 2 offers “simple” but well-entertaining arcade entertainment.