preview Windjammers 2: A Frisbee throw straight into the heart
With every game and announcement, Dotemu seems to be confirming its status as King of the Revival. Between the success of Street of Rage 4 and the fanfare announcements of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other Metal Slug Tactics, the French studio is more than ever the darling of the nostalgic 90s and intends to offer a sequel to the title that some die-hard fans will enjoy devote bitter cult. You can currently try your hand at an open beta available on PlayStation consoles and Steam.
This preview was written after several sessions during the Open Beta, August 11-22. This beta is available to PlayStation and Steam players.
Windjammer’s first name is a frisbee game that was released in 94 on arcade and neo-geo home consoles. As with many sports games of the time, its game mechanics are based on a logic that comes close to that of fighting games. By doing quarter circles or pressing the right button at the right time, players can send Super Sonic Shots across the screen at full speed. With its core of simple gameplay but surprising depth, this episode could shape the players of the time. The title is particularly popular with a passionate French-speaking community that has produced some of the best players in the world, as evidenced by the rankings of recent EVO tournaments. It is therefore only natural for a French studio to pull the license out of the closet for this sequel, which, as we shall see, bodes well for the future.
The principle of this second opus obviously remains the same. All game mechanics of the first episode are therefore available. You can throw your frisbee straight, praise it to catch an opponent in the net, make a semicircle to curve the trajectory of the shot … By pressing the fire button when we receive the disc, our character will throw it into the air. He can then load a devastating super shot that he can also praise or raise. But that’s not all, because Windjammers 2 adds a lot of new offensive and defensive mechanics and options to add depth to the gameplay and to balance the matches. It is now possible to hit a frisbee directly instead of catching it, which is very useful for surprising the opponent. We can also add a pillow to catch a player who tends to stay too deep. Super Lobed Shot is now easier to counter as it is possible to jump! It’s up to you to decide whether to shoot straight away or delay, hit the ground, and take a standard shot. That’s not all, because a super bar appears. Once charged, it enables an even more powerful version of Super Shot. She also has a defensive way of executing a shock wave that sends the Frisbee back into the air. This makes it possible to intercept a shot that is too far away or to bring the target, which is about to lie on the ground, back into play.
All of these new mechanics are fun and give participants more options. Once these techniques are understood, the exchange becomes very tactical, forcing players to constantly think about their next action. Will my opponent break out? Will he praise his Super Shot like last time? Should i go online? Wouldn’t that be the perfect time to cushion my litter and surprise him? All of these micro-decisions create tense and exciting situations. And if it’s too early to confirm the quality of the balancing, no mechanics seemed too powerful to us. The only downside is that if certain actions are chained too quickly, the super attack will sometimes trigger on its own. However, this grievance is already being returned to the ears of developers who can put those returns to good use.
An online that is perfected via the demos
From a technical point of view, Windjammers 2 leaves the pixel art of the neo-geo era for a hand-drawn visual rendering. Remembering the work of Michaël Sanlaville, the graphic style of this episode is indicative of everyone and may not appeal to everyone. However, There is no question that the game is moving very well. The animations are dynamic – it’s exciting to see your athlete fly through the air to catch the disc right in front of the camera – and the visual effects are impressive. From an artistic point of view, Windjammers 2 is as pleasant to watch as it is to play in Dotemu’s DNA and once again confirms that these French developers feel very comfortable in two dimensions.
In terms of content, 4 characters and 4 levels are available in this beta. This is the opportunity to try out new signing Sophie De Lys, a French player. Two former courses, Beach and Stadium, are being tested as well as two new ones, Rooftop and Ring. These decisions have a decisive influence on the dispute. A fast character positions themselves more easily, while a powerful hero makes the Frisbee fly at top speed. Each has a different Super Shot that follows a unique trajectory. The choice of the stage is also important, because a slow character who benefits from a large role to ensure a certain balance shines in large rooms. The new terrain gives the opponent 4 points if the Frisbee hits the ground, compared to 2 on the old one. The selection of characters and levels is therefore very important in ranked games that take place in First To 2, ie whoever wins two matches first, wins.
This open beta allows players to compete in a leaderboard queue. This time no game against the computer, because the goal is to test the new network structure of the game. Promised last year after the first demo, a rollback netcode was implemented. This technology, which uses predictions to make online games smoother, is very popular in the fighting game world and generally guarantees better quality than a lag-based network. We won’t go into too much detail, but we can safely say that the online game has improved a lot since our last contact. Windjammers 2 was sometimes not playable online a year ago and was very pleasant to use in this beta. As long as we come across an opponent with a correct connection, the games are perfectly playable and offer a fabulous spectacle. Tireless players who are particularly sensitive to input lag, the delay between pressing a button and executing it, will likely experience latency compared to local play, but those are the whims of online gaming. The average person should hardly notice the difference. Still, out of a good fifty games, only three were spoiled by lags, probably caused by an opponent’s poor connection or too great a distance between us.
This new beta seems to confirm what we thought Windjammers 2 intended to offer a fantastic sequel to the cult Frisbee game Neo-Geo. The new gameplay additions increase the tactical decisions and make the exchange exciting. Accessible but terribly in-depth, this sports game that focuses on combat has everything it takes to establish itself as a must-have for sofa sessions. In addition, the integration of a high-quality netcode for online ranked games bodes very well. Roll onto the last exit!
August 14, 2021 at 4:43:00 pm