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Windjammers – Nintendo Switch

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Title:  Windjammers
Developer:  Dotemu
Publisher:  Dotemu
Website:http://www.dotemu.com/game/windjammers/
Genre:  Arcade, Sports, Fighting, Multiplayer
Platform:  Nintendo Switch
Audience:  Everyone
Release Date:  23/10/2018
Price:  £13.49 – Rapid Reviews UK was very kindly provided with a review code for this title.

What the Developers say

● 5 game modes: ARCADE, INFINITE, LOCAL VERSUS, ONLINE QUICK MATCH, & RANKED MATCH 
● Online Versus: for the first time ever, face other players worldwide in ranked matches and compete in the top leagues!
● 6 unique characters
● 6 playable environments
● 2 unlockable mini-games: Dog Distance & Bowling
● New HD menus

Introduction

Originally released on the Neo Geo arcade system back in 1994, Windjammers is a sports arcade multiplayer game where players compete to throw a disc into the opposing player’s goal zone. Soaked in retro swag and proud of it, I was intrigued to see if this game was still relevant now or whether there is an argument to say that some games of old should remain games of old.

Read on for a Rapid Review of Windjammers, developed and published by Dotemu.

Looks and Sounds

As one would expect from a game of this age, the graphics are charming, if unremarkable. It is clear that Dotemu wanted to replicate the look and feel of Windjammers from its early days in gaming, and as such, the bright, flamboyant characters are set against an equally jazzy, multicoloured backdrop. 

Although not offering too much in the way of customisation, the developers have recognised that some may be adverse to the retro feels and have, in some part, provided an alternative to combat that. The user has the choice of ‘Smooth’, ‘Scanlines’, ‘No filter’ and ‘CRT’ when changing the screen settings which is an excellent addition. 

With regards to audio, it is reminiscent of many a game of yesteryear. It would not sound out of place in many games of the 90s, and although this is in keeping with its retro aesthetic, it meant that for me, it did not offer too much to the overall activity. I did, however, appreciate the sentiment attached. 

Gameplay and Replayability

When a game offers the opportunity to compete in a head-to-head match where you throw discs at the opponent’s goal zone for points, there are a few components that said game has to get right. First of all, there needs to be a variety of different shot types to choose from to create an element of strategy. Windjammers offers this by including power shots and lobbed shots as standard. As well as this, during times where you may have blocked a powerful shot from your opponent and caught the rebound, you have spin shots and more powerful ones at your disposal. This felt reminiscent of Mario Tennis Aces and was a welcome inclusion. 

Another element that a game of this type should include is the true feeling that each character has its unique style so that the player begins to develop a preference and adapts their play-style to combat the skills of their opponent. To some extent, Windjammers offers this too. When selecting your character, the game informs you of the characters speed and power. Both of these have some impact on proceedings and therefore was a worthy addition to the gameplay. 

The final piece to the puzzle is, for me, the replayability. There has to be a reason to go back and play the game time and again. In some instances, this may be because the game is a joy to play. In others, it may be because the game offers character progression, or an interesting backstory for each character, or a time trial to beat.

I felt this is where Windjammers was lacking. Twenty minutes after loading the game, selecting my character, and challenging the five other fighters, the credits rolled. At this point, I felt no real desire to go and do it again. Outside of the mini-games, which included Bowling and Dog Distance, both of which had limited replay value, I was resigned to having local and online multiplayer left to play with.

Although having local and online multiplayer left once the main game is complete is not unusual, I realised my issue with Windjammers was that the gameplay wasn’t as fun as I was hoping. Billed as ‘The most entertaining sports game’ by the developers on the Nintendo website, I was expecting at the very least a game that was competitive and exciting. Unfortunately, this wasn’t to be. I found the game to become stale a little too quickly, and having been born in the early 90s. There was little nostalgia there for me to get too excited about either. 

Conclusion

I feel Windjammers does all that the developers set out to do. They have revived a classic of old for those that reminisce of the days competing against friends on the Neo Geo, while also garnering interest for the upcoming release of the sequel, Windjammers 2. For me, with no emotional tie to the original and not enough to keep me sticking around, it is not the game for me. I will be keeping a watchful eye over Windjammers 2, to see what the developers decide to do to keep this franchise alive. 

Rapid Reviews UK Rating

2 and a half out of 5

You can purchase Windjammers on the Nintendo eShop on October 23rd at the following address, https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Games/Nintendo-Switch-download-software/Windjammers-1423678.html#Overview

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