Windjammers (PS4, Vita)

Windjammers was an arcade game from 1994.  It was playable on NEO GEO arcade cabinets and on the home console of the same name.  It was developed by the now defunct game company Data East, who made such classics as Burgertime, Karnov, Joe & Mac: Caveman Ninjas, and many more.  And now you can download and play Windjammers as a cross-buy on your PS4 and Vita (reviewed on PS4 here).  Windjammers is a sports game where you and an opponent toss flying throwing discs at each other, trying to score goals at the opposite end of the playfield.  It’s a mix of air hockey, Pong, and a bit of Super Dodge Ball.  And it’s all incredibly fun.

To play, you pick from one of six characters from around the world.  Each one has varying speed and power levels.  When you throw the Fris…er, I mean flying disc, you can hold up or down or even move the joystick in a quarter circle to make the disc go in different directions or even put some spin on it.  If you can catch the disc and throw it again immediately, you’ll be able to throw it super fast.  You can also lob it in the air, but I don’t find that move as useful.  If you can catch the disc as it’s flipping in the air, you can charge up a power move that’ll make the disc fly erratically at blazing speeds.  Behind you is the goal that you need to defend, as well as goals on the other end of the playfield for you to score in.  Depending on the court, you can earn three or five points per goal, depending on where you landed the shot.  And if you miss catching a disc in the air and it lands on the ground, the other player gets two points.  Whoever makes it to a certain score first, wins.

For the first time, you can play Windjammers online with others, but you’ll need a PlayStation Plus account to do so.  You can also choose Local Play, where you can try the arcade mode against the CPU in one of three difficulty settings.  Or you can play against another local player or try the mini-games separately from the main game.  The mini-games include Dog Distance, where you control a dog trying to catch the disc while avoiding obstacles on the beach, or a Disc Bowling game.

Some may find the visuals and audio a bit dated, but I think it’s charming.  But then, I did grow up playing games like this.  Although it would’ve been nice if they added more characters and playfields, but if they wanted to just stick with what was in the original, I’m fine with that, too.  The learning curve is a bit steep, and while zipping and sliding around the field, I would sometimes miss the disc because I zigged when I should’ve zagged.  I wouldn’t say the play control is bad, though, just unforgiving.  It is an arcade game after all, and is very challenging, even on the Easy modes.  But it’s also incredibly fun, and I highly recommended to anyone who enjoys the classics as well as wacky sports video games.

Kid Factor:

Nothing too terribly violent here.  You can smack players with the disc, but they’ll just fall down for a second with stars above their heads and say “ouch,” but that’s it.  Reading skill is helpful for the menu texts and younger games may get frustrated at the high challenge level.  Even though it’s not part of the game, some of the trophies you can earn have the word “Damn” in the title or descriptions.   Windjammers is rated E for Everyone.

2 Responses to “Windjammers (PS4, Vita)”

  1. Windjammers!!!!

    I love this game. We play it all the time at youth group on a PC emulator. Didn’t ever see it (I think) in the arcade but am glad to see it this time around…

  2. Need to try out multiplayer and the bonus levels…

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