Windjammers thus far is everything that made early 90s arcade games so great.
Who would have thought that a random, forgotten-about Data East game from 1994 would gain such a big following (thanks, Giant Bomb). That’s the story of Windjammers, which arrives today on the Nintendo Switch. The online component is available after launch, so I don’t have a full review just yet. However, I’m happy to say that thus far Windjammers is full of ‘90s nostalgia fun.
Windjammers has you set on a field throwing discs back and forth against an opponent. I think the best comparison here would be an ‘80s day-glo version of Pong, where you constantly battle back and forth in order to block the disc from getting into the goal area. On the surface, it seems relatively simple, and really it is; this is one of those games that are easily accessible, but take time to master, kind of like Splatoon for a modern day comparison.
After playing for a few hours I felt pretty confident about my skills. But it’s the intricate little things that really make the game fun. Finding the right serve, swerving the disc in just the right direction, using the stage as a tool against your opponent. Windjammers is one of those games where the small details absolutely make it work.
Presentation wise, this is a colorful, cheerful game that has a cool 80s retro vibe to it despite being released in 1994 (which I’m more than willing to ignore). The music isn’t much to speak of, but the sprites are colorful and vibrant, which is always a positive in my book.
Beyond the Arcade mode, not much is available offline. You can play the mini-games (Dog Frisbee and Bowling) separately, which are nice. These will probably be more interesting to test around with after leaderboards launch, but they’re short and not much to talk about. I wouldn’t mind playing a more fleshed out version of the bowling game in a future sequel’ there’s a ton of potential there.
Windjammers thus far is a terrific game, with DotEmu and Blitworks doing a fantastic job of bringing it to modern consoles. I think the biggest test for the game will be the online. If everything goes smooth, this is an easy recommendation for both retro enthusiasts and those who are looking for some fun competition.