Windjammers 2 Review

Richard Walker

Windjammers was a 1994 Neo Geo arcade game, and, as such, the long-awaited sequel, Windjammers 2, proudly wears its coin-op origins on its sleeve. Like Streets of Rage 4 before it, Dotemu's game is clearly in thrall to its source material, updating the 16-bit visuals of old with crisp, hand-drawn characters and environments that pay homage to the now defunct Data East's frantic frisbee-throwing oddity.

Eat my orange power frisbee, sucka!

Playing like a game of supercharged Pong, Windjammers 2 is fast-paced, eyeball-searingly colourful. Two players go toe-to-toe in 1v1 matches, flinging a 'Power Disc' back and forth. Simple it might be, but Windjammers 2 also happens to be the perfect thing for a quick and undemanding competitive dalliance, especially when played against an online opponent or with a friend (or foe) locally.

Channeling tennis, volleyball, extreme frisbee, and air hockey, Windjammers 2 can be as basic or as complicated as you like – you could conceivably fudge your way to victory with a single button, but to really master the game, and tackle the Arcade mode's higher difficulties, you'll need to learn the nuances of the Super Lob, the Slap Shot, and the Power Toss. Positioning is everything, too, your character able to skid around the court with a jab of the A button, and, with fast enough reactions, time the perfect killer return.

With deft turns of the left analogue stick, you can bend your shots, wrong-footing your opponent, while charging your power meter enables you to hold A and B for a devastating special shot, unique to your chosen character. Watching as you launch the Power Disc, sending it ricocheting off the walls, jetting towards the goal mouth is a singularly satisfying thing, even if there's no guarantee that you'll score, and there's every opportunity for your rival to send the disc pinging back to you at high velocity.

The rallies that ensue can be nothing short of thrilling, as the disc zig-zags across the court, either ripe to be plucked from the air and flung back, or whipped straight into your opponent's goal. Hurl the Power Disc with enough gusto, and you can even send your rival reeling backwards into the net – the ultimate insult, if you happen to be on the receiving end. Some characters are stronger than others, and better equipped to pull off knock-backs, while others compensate with speed and agility. All ten of Windjammers 2's characters might have differing strength and speed stats, but they all share one thing in common – a garish '90s-style neon-tinged fashion sense.

Oh, shit!

Boasting arenas with their own scoring zones and obstacles (like movable sliding bumpers on the central net), Windjammers 2 might be somewhat slight when it comes to content, but there's an inherent purity to being presented with a straightforward solo Arcade mode that pits you against a series of AI challengers, a local 2-player Versus mode, and Online mode with ranked matches and such. Windjammers 2 doesn't really need anything else – it's all there and it's all good.

If, like me, you pine for the days of arcade purity, when games were designed to coax you in with dazzling graphics and instant action, then Windjammers 2 will make you feel right at home. If its frenetic brand of disc-chucking were an Olympic event, I'd be there, front and centre, watching. For now, I'll settle for the fun and immediacy of Windjammers 2, thanks.

Windjammers 2

A cracking sequel to a cult arcade classic, Windjammers 2 ups the ante with sharp hand-drawn visuals and more than a modicum of pure arcade panache. The idea of Pong (with frisbees, mind you) turned up to 11 has never been so appealing.

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Exactly the sort of blaring noise and wailing music you'd expect to hear spilling from the speakers of a 1990s arcade cabinet. Spot on.


Colourful characters, vibrant arenas, loud and brash characters, awesome effects... Windjammers 2 would look right at home in an arcade.


Pick-up-and-play stuff perfect for tournament play with friends – controls are simple enough to learn, yet challenging to master. Crucially, it's ludicrously good fun.


The basics are covered by a core single-player Arcade mode, Online multiplayer, and local Versus play, but there's not much in the way of extras. But then, you don't really need anything else.


An achievement list almost entirely centred upon reaching milestones, like performing 3,000 slides, scoring a certain number of goals, and so on. It's fine.

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