You don’t need a Neo Geo to play Windjammers any more. If that sentence made any sense to you, then you’re likely ecstatic! No longer will you have to track down a whole console just to play everyone’s favorite extreme plastic disc-based sport. For the rest of you, Windjammers is the latest in a long line of wonderful couch multiplayer games available on on PlayStation 4. It will make a fine addition to your Nidhogg/Jackbox Party Pack/Towerfall rotation, especially if anyone in your crew loves neon.
Windjammers is the most extreme thing done with a frisbee since the invention of the college dorm. Two 80s-ass disc athletes go head-to-head in a game that feels like modified frisbee tennis fused with every training montage from Rocky. Your plastic disc will defy what you thought you knew about physics as it catches fire and literally knocks your opponent unconscious. You’re either aiming for the easier three-point goal or the much smaller 5-point goal, but the underlying message is clear: get the disc from your side of the court to the other side.
It’s a game you should be able to play even if you don’t fully understand the intricacies, because I sure didn’t & I was able to win a couple Arcade matches. You can either toss the disc, throw it in a slower arc, or make a quick dash. I never saw the utility of throwing the disc in the air, because my opponent always managed to catch it or even activate their super throw. Instead, I always focused on curving the disc in a manner I hoped would throw off my opponent.
That strategy rarely worked once the game’s “arcade” mode dropped me into the medium end of the pool, where my inexperienced ass regularly got sent to hell. So even though I’m sure I could hold my own in amateur competition, I bet a Windjammers veteran could pull out all kinds of forbidden maneuvers and shut me out. Of course, I could be wrong -- maybe the AI reaction times were just jacked all the way up, and that’s why I kept losing. If that’s the case, then at least there’s a place to get better at Windjammers so we can eventually get to the point where forbidden maneuvers exist.
Windjammers is a very good multiplayer game, but it’s so fast-paced and dependent on twitch reflexes that I’m not sure if online players will have the best experience. You’ll likely get the most out of the game if you have a bunch of pals excited for something new to bust out at parties, and that’s no bad thing. But it requires additional controller investment and a specific kind of social circle. There’s no way to factor that into a recommendation, since you either have that or you don’t. If you do fall into that Venn diagram, the phrase “new couch co-op” game has already sold you, no additional words required.
However, if you do need an all-encompassing recommendation, here it is: Windjammers has aged very well, and it’s worth a look even if you’re not a big fan of its cult status.