Sporting games are all about realism these days. The developers spend years trying to get their sport of choice to be as close to the real thing as possible, but where’s the creativity? Where’s the outside the box thinking? Where’s the combined baby of Pong and ultimate frisbee?

Actually that last one has already existed for some time. Windjammers was a reasonably popular arcade game from the 90s that has developed a cult following as the years have gone on. That’s part of the reason why this review is being written. That cult following has led to a remaster for the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita that captures the fun of the original game with the added bonus of online multiplayer.

Whether or not you’ll enjoy Windjammers depends on a few things. The game is definitely something best played against another human player, whether that’s online or in person. If you’re not the type of person that enjoys playing against others, that’s not to say you won’t enjoy yourself at all. The AI offers a tough challenge, but the issue is it’s sometimes too tough, which can become frustrating. Like most games the AI has a habit of making very few mistakes.

Playing against the AI will test you though and, in theory, make you better, but there is definitely a huge element of the fun of the game lost if you decide to just face the computer. Outside of the main 1 v 1 mode there’s a few variations and two mini games, but the lasting appeal comes from how much you enjoy throwing that flying disc. Once you know you can best the AI, or that you don’t stand a chance against it, your enjoyment may drop.

That’s where online and multiplayer comes into play. Against another person the game just becomes so much more frantic. Each dive that results in a catch feels heroic. Each curved throw that outwits your opponent gives you a feeling of success. Even if you’re not that experienced at the game you can still have a blast if you’re playing against someone else. Matches don’t tend to last long so the embarrassment of your poor tactics will luckily be washed over sooner rather than later.

Then, as you play your 10th game against your friend that seems strangely good at a game they’ve only just picked up, you’ll win. A simple lob high in the air will outwit them and it will land and give you the two points you needed to win the round and you won’t know what to do with yourself. That’s the beauty of Windjammers. Although there are some very skilled players out there it’s unlikely that will include you and your friends, meaning you’ll be able to gloat about your fluky wins as much as you want.

Graphically the game has some lovely sprites and a nice enough presentation, but it’s far from jaw dropping. That’s because it is what it is – a spruced up version of a classic arcade game that keeps the spirit and aesthetics of the original and it does a great job in doing that. There’s some variety in courts, which means you have to mix things up when playing, meaning the visuals are probably the hardest sell of Windjammers to a new audience. If you can overlook the old school style, and convince your friends to do so, then you’ll be in for a treat.

Windjammers is focused on what it wants to be. It doesn’t add superfluous modes that people won’t likely play and in doing so never feels bloated. With the game selling for less than £12 RRP, there’s more than enough replayability with the game as long as you can find someone to play with. If not then your value for money may be limited, but you shouldn’t let that put you off too much. It’s an interesting slice of arcade gaming history and it’s great that modern gamers not only have a chance to play it, but a chance to play it online in a way that was never possible before.


You can watch some online gameplay of Windjammers below:



Author

Brett Claxton

I like video games. That's why I write about them. I've played them for years and in that time I've found a love for creepy horrors, indie darlings and the oddities that come out of Japan. Although my main purpose on the site is to write up news and reviews I'm also one of the main Let's Play video creators of the team (or, as I call them, Brett's Play videos). You can check them out here: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bretteh2