Windjammers PS4 First Impressions
Okay, I’ll admit it. I never had a chance to play Windjammers during its heyday. But, that’s why I was even more excited to give it a try for the first time with its recent re-release. If you haven’t heard, Windjammers has been ported to the Playstation Network and can be played on the PS4 and PS Vita. I was very lucky to receive a copy from DotEmu to review. So, here are my first impressions.
Let’s start with some background. Windjammers was originally released for the Neo Geo Arcade System in 1994 by Data East. Gameplay takes the form of an air hockey-type sport where the goal is to get your flying power disc into your opponent’s goal. Players take control of a variety of characters, representing different countries, that range in strength and speed. Each character also possesses their own power throw, a feature I’ll talk more about shortly.
The game’s controls consist of two main functions, throw and slide. When you do not possess the disc, you’ll press a button to slide in a direction. This is useful for catching discs and defending your goal. When your character does control the disc, you can press that same button to throw it. This is Windjammers at its most basic form. These simple mechanics may get you through easy mode, however, things get interesting when you start using advanced techniques. For example, players can throw their disc in a curve by inputting a half circle command before hitting the throw button. Alternating between throw styles is the key to scoring. There is also the option to lob your disc in the air or block an incoming disc by pressing circle. Blocking a disc and standing under it will allow you to power up your special throw. Special throws are powerful moves that have increased speed and power. These are the moves you’ll want to use as often as you can. And charging and releasing them is oh so satisfying.
Once you build up enough confidence with your skill, you can take your game online. DotEmu added online multiplayer support, so you can match yourself up against players from around the world. And if you’re like me, it’s a quick way to snap yourself back into reality after messing around with the NPCs all day.
Where this game excels, as with any great arcade game, is in its “easy to learn, hard to master” style. Getting better at timing throws, picking angles, and blocking attacks really satisfies you as a player. To no one’s surprise, it makes for an excellent party game that can quickly get anyone with a love for classic arcade games or even air hockey involved.
Who knows? You may even want to grab a Frisbee of your own to toss around. And this is something Wham-O seems to have anticipated … I got my hands on one of these Frisbees, courtesy of Wham-O, and it really is the perfect way to play Windjammers in real life! I also realized this is the first time I’ve ever owned a legit Wham-O brand Frisbee. Let’s just say I won’t be going back to generic “throwing discs” anytime soon.
Windjammers is now available on PS4 and PS Vita, for $14.99. If you can grab some friends and set up a tournament, it’s well worth the price.