Ever wondered what ultimate frisbee would be if you jacked it up on Steroids?
WindJammers is a NeoGeo game from 1994 and the premise is as such – extreme beach pong… with discus. It’s got that gnarly 90’s vibe, with over exaggerated characters from across the globe coming together to compete in an absurd, high octane sport. The game is known as ‘Flying Power Disc’ in Japan, and no matter how I slice this pie, I’m pretty sure you won’t be able to comprehend the level of madness I’m trying to convey. So let me try to break it down.
Luckily, like a Lovecraftian novel, there’s a tangible level of beauty hidden behind this insanity. Imagine you took an air hockey pitch and made it human-sized. Now you’ve got the court. You and your opponent control a side of the court, and the discus is swapped between play like a tennis match. One of the finest things that WindJammers manages to pull off is full freedom of movement. You can dart about the shop like a madman, and by god, you need to.
The aim of the game is to chuck your discus into the opponent’s three goals, with the 2 outer goals awarding five points and the inner goal giving a measly three. These parameters change per court, so don’t get used to it. To make it even more rambunctious, each player has a ‘super throw’ in which you can channel some sort of inner spirit to make this discus travel in an obnoxious manner.
I mainly spent my time exploring the capabilities of Steve Miller, the British Discus Dynamo complete with bandana and dodgy sunglasses. Steve is high speed but low power, but this can change across the board with the other members of the frisbee squad to match your playstyle. He handles his discus in a peculiar manner, hugging the walls and per my limited knowledge, air bending the puck into the wall and blasting it down the sides into the opponent’s goal.
“Luckily, like a Lovecraftian novel, there’s a tangible level of beauty hidden behind this insanity”
To catch the disc you have to dash into it, and you can apply reaction commands to send it soaring over your opponents head by placing yourself under where it’s meant to land. If you’re looking for a one-line-sell, this is like somebody iterated on Pong ad nauseam, and it’s kind of beautiful. Windjammers gave me the same buzz I usually get from Rocket League, and that’s a pretty tough hill to climb for a game from 1994.
Playing online is not for the faint of heart, and I very much assume the crop I was playing with were dedicated folks who probably picked this up on release and still love it. Regardless of being schooled at a game that came out when I was a twinkle in my dad’s eye, I had a ton of fun, even though I was getting my butt kicked.
Beyond online you have an Arcade mode, which is kind of like a Mortal Kombat ladder for frisbee nutters. Again, it’s pretty ruthless, and you’ll have to practice to get really good at Windjammers, but as a beginner playing against the AI, it’s daft buck wild fun. Adjacent to the Arcade and Infinite modes you have a few cool mini games kind of like those present in Super Smash Bros Melee. One involves throwing your spinning disc as far as you can down a beach so a cute pupper can nab it, which I never knew I was here for, but I spent an obscene hour trying to help this dog have a nice time.
“Arcade mode is kind of like a Mortal Kombat ladder for Frisbee Nutters”
Local multiplayer is also packed in, which is a total riot with your mates and probably the game’s main sell. Games are fast-paced and tons of fun for a quick break or a long session.
The video options are cute much like Sonic Mania, too, affording you the option of Scanlines, a ratio change and a few pixel backgrounds to choose from to truncate the absurdity in the middle of the screen. The music is expectedly 90’s too and fits the aesthetic perfectly.
There’s a lot to love here about WindJammers. In fact, I’d go as far to say that I’d watch this madness as an eSport. It’d make a great anime premise too. More Windjammers I say!
Alas, for now, you can pick it up on the PS4 Store for a reasonable £11.99, and it’s on PS Vita too if you’re one of those guys. If you want to expand your local library or just go hard in the paint with a frisbee, grab your ticket and go uh… jam that wind… man!
This copy of Windjammers was provided to Quillstreak by Indigo Pearl PR. Our Editor-In-Chief Jordan Oloman has spent 7 hours so far trying to throw the damn frisbee good. He’s not got the Midas touch just yet.