PAX South 2020: Windjammers 2 is a Colorful, Fastpaced Joy

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Windjammers 2

Windjammers 2 is a sequel to the original arcade game from 1994. Just like its predecessor, Windjammers 2 is at its core a game similar to ice hockey or pong. From a top-down perspective, players take turns attempting to shoot a frisbee into the opposing player’s goals. Players are able to choose from different characters that change how the game plays. Each character has their own style of play (more control, more speed, bigger target, etc) as well as a special EX move specific to the character. The EX moves can be built up over time and released to launch a shot on goal that is difficult to block. Windjammers 2 is bringing back some of the original characters from its arcade counterpart but also added in new ones as well.

The formula for the game is simple but the addition of EX moves and new characters provide a game that will certainly have a high ceiling for any time of competitive play. At PAX South 2020, we got to a chance to have some hands-on play and a quick chat with a couple of the game’s developers.

What did you think about the controls?

Windjammers 2

Adrian: The controls were very easy to use. As a sequel to an arcade port, it is easy to see that the team at Dotemu wanted to keep the feel of just being able to jump into the game and play. The buttons are minimal so there isn’t a need to memorize combos or recognize counter cues. You send the frisbee from one side of the court to the other and hope you are fast enough to predict where your opponent is going to return.  With that said, after watching some of the developers play it is clear that we weren’t as good as we thought we were. They took to the basic controls and utilized them in ways I hadn’t even thought of during my playthrough. I think this really speaks to both the causal and competitive reach Windjammers 2 will have.

Stefani: For someone who doesn’t play video games it’s intimidating jumping into a new game. I was able to grab the controller and figure the game out easily. They weren’t complicated and easy to figure out what each button does. I had no real idea what the game was outside of watching the people before we play it so I was surprised how I caught on.

What was your favorite?

Adrian: Having never played the original Windjammers, I really enjoyed the overall feel of the game. The colors are bright and vibrant but to a level where they are distracting to the player. Being colorblind, I never was confused on what was going on in the game. The movement of the frisbee was easy to track and the character models didn’t blend into the environment. It might be something small, but this isn’t always the case with games with as colorful as Windjammers 2. 

Stefani: I really enjoyed the character designs. Even though the graphics are updated, the characters still have the original design, that 80’s feel which has made a comeback. It’s also interesting how each character represents a country. I didn’t realize it at first but once I took the time to look at their designs I could tell which country they belonged too. You don’t really see that in games, where the characters are based on countries in such a distinct way. 

Would you recommend Windjammers 2?

Windjammers 2

Adrian: I would definitely recommend Windjammers 2. The game is easy to pick and put down so I see it making a great couch co-op game for all the consoles it is coming to. I will be picking Windjammers 2 on the Switch personally. Being able to boot it up and play against anyone makes it a perfect addition to the console. In the future, I would love to see the developers open it up to online competitive play on a grand scale. Its hard to find games that recreate that magic of being in an arcade outside of fighter but Windjammers 2’s might be the game to do it.

Stefani: Of course, it’s an easy game to play and get competitive with. I can see it making airports and waiting in line at cons more entertaining than say Overcooked or Cuphead which are harder to learn. In Windjammers 2, I can easily hand over the controls and after a one round the person can understand the game. Definitely a game someone should always have on deck for quick entertainment and maybe as a way to settle arrangements or assign chores.

Overall, we enjoyed Windjammers 2 despite never planning the original.  Whether you played Windjammers back in the 90s or are new to the franchise, the Windjammers 2 will lure you in with its flashy colors and easy of play. It will keep you coming back as you learn more and more about the games cast of characters and abilities. We foresee this game being like a bag of Lay’s potato chips; you won’t be able to just play it once.

Windjammers 2 will available on Nintendo Switch, PC, and Google Stadia in 2020 but developers hope to have Windjammers 2 available across all platforms in the future as well.

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