Windjammers 2 review for Nintendo Switch, PS4/5, Xbox One/Series X

Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also On: PS5, PS4, Xbox On, Xbox Series X, PC, Stadia
Publisher: Dotemu
Developer: Dotemu
Medium: Digital
Players: 1-2
Online: Yes

If there is one arcade and home console I will always have a soft spot for, it’s the Neo Geo. Most gamers today were probably not lucky enough to experience the powerhouse of a console at home, but most have played an Arcade Version from time to time. One of the shining stars of the Neo Geo’s line up was a game called Windjammers, a sports title, mixing elements of Pong, Frisbee and a little bit of fighting game moves into one fantastic, fast paced game. Now after 28 years, Dotemu has finally made an official sequel and it doesn’t disappoint!

Windjammers is played on an open play field slightly resembling a Tennis Court. Your character has to get a Frisbee into one of three goals on the opposite side, while making sure your opponent doesn’t get a goal on you. It’s a back and forth volley with each pass getting faster and harder to catch. Players can use trick shots off of walls or in mid air, or use powerful combo moves to nail a goal. Each side has 3 goals, 2 being worth 3 points and one harder to reach goal that is worth 5 points. The first player to reach 17 (or over) points is declared the winner of the round. The winner is the player that wins the best of three rounds.

With this sequel, Dotemu went the same route that they did with their fantastic Streets of Rage installment and use the “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” method. Hardly anything is changed from the original, outside of the addition of hand drawn sprites, updated animations and character models and HD visuals. In addition to the main game, are new “mini games” to shake things up. They range from catching and smashing discs being shot from an automatic machine and a revamped dog mode called “Hot Dog Distance” where you control a dog trying to catch a disc while avoiding obstacles. These mini games are quite satisfying and also fun to play on their own!

All of the colorful characters you can select from have different stats and special moves you can use during a match. Everyone seems to be balanced and no one has a major advantage over another. Controls are just as solid as the original game with a simple to master set up for pulling off some great moves and catches. While everything is set up nicely, this game is no push over. Playing the Arcade mode, I began on the hardest difficulty (due to my time with the original game) and let me tell you this was a mistake. The A.I. is way different when compared to the original and can actually learn from it’s own mistakes it seems. I was forced to move to the easy difficulty to even manage to score a goal in most matches until I beat a few opponents and practiced a bit. As I progressed, I got better but I still cannot play on the hardest setting as the opponents are very unforgiving. Nothing is unfair, however as you have every move at your disposal as your opponent does, you just have to keep trying. Thankfully you will want to keep playing even after losing your 20th match! There is online play here, and while I didn’t manage to find many opponents during my play time, the connection was smooth and fluid. Whether you are playing against the A.I., online or with a friend locally, you will have a blast here.

Visually, everything has been overhauled when compared to the original game. As stated before, the animation of the characters, the special moves and even the spectators are drawn to perfection. Dotemu accomplished this without changing the core gameplay in any way, which is fantastic. This really feels like a true sequel that Data East themselves would of made years ago. They have really done their homework here.

Windjammers 2 is what a sequel should be. Updated visuals, added bonus games, and new characters, all without ruining the core game play. As I have said, Dotemu did a remarkable job with this release just as they have with their previous classic sequel efforts. If you are a fan of the original Neo Geo game, or if you want a fun game with a lot of challenge, than look no further than Windjammers 2. We may actually have a contender for 2022 Game Of the Year on our hands! I cannot recommend this game enough to every gamer out there, it is truly a super fun time!

Note: Dotemu provided us with a Windjammers 2 Switch code for review purposes.

Grade: A