Windjammers 2 Review

A lot of people have never heard of Windjammers – it was built for arcades and the Neo Geo platform specifically and did not get the attention it deserved outside of very niche circles. Fortunately, those niche circles were enough to see a re-release built by DotEmu for online play. Now, after the success of Streets of Rage 4 (also produced by DotEmu)we are getting a full-on sequel to Windjammers.

Windjammers 2 is simple: a top-down one-on-one game which is a mixture of tennis and shuffleboard. The aim is to throw a discus past the opponent and score 3 or 5 points. This is done through straight shots, trick shots, bouncing the discus off the walls or using a number of power abilities. On defence, the player can dash, parry, and slap the discus for varying responses.

There are a lot of different plays that can be made, and the speed of a match is blisteringly fast. Even on easy difficulty the AI will frequently show off how complex the game can be – parrying a shot that flips the discus into the air allowing for them power a return home or performing a smart lob that forces players to scramble to recover.

In terms of game modes, the offerings are slim – an arcade mode for the player to work their way through and slowly hone their skills, a versus mode for same screen players, and an online mode to see how truly good some players are.  

The netcode seems to be super solid, as a North American player I was able to play against some people in the UK and it ran flawlessly. This is essential in the current climate and I am glad that the developers put the effort in.

My main complaint is that the tutorial is limited to a ‘How to play’ written section that does enough to inform the player what each button does but gives no context for how and when moves should be done. Given how much can be done, the game is begging for a practice mode similar to a fighting game where it would be possible to practice defence and attack. Without this, new players are going to enter this game and find themselves struggling against mid-level AI.

It’s worth getting to grips with though, because when the game is flowing it is deeply satisfying to dash across the court to catch a throw and then curl it into the corner your opponent cannot reach. The mind games against human players – will they throw it to a corner, straight at me, or maybe be use their power shot? – is as good as any other game-sim. If there was some way to make this into a real sport, I would doggedly watch every match.

Windjammers 2 is a great evolution of the original, DotEmu have cleverly added new features without breaking the original’s appeal. However, this feels like a game for the fans that doesn’t make enough concessions for newcomers.


Anyone that loved the original will delight in playing Windjammers 2 (and that is unabashedly me). For those coming to this game for the first time would do well to look for good video tutorials.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox One review code, using an Xbox Series S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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  • Exceptional update to the original
  • Honestly didn’t think they could make Windjammers better, but they have
  • Tight online play
  • A bright spark in the grim wintertime
  • People who are new to this are going to struggle
Gameplay - 10
Graphics - 9
Audio - 9
Longevity - 8
Written by
AJ Small is a games industry veteran, starting in QA back in 2004. He currently walks the earth in search of the tastiest/seediest drinking holes as part of his attempt to tell every single person on the planet that Speedball 2 and The Chaos Engine are the greatest games ever made. He can be found on twitter (@badgercommander), where he welcomes screenshots of Dreamcast games and talk about Mindjack, just don’t mention that one time he was in Canada.

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