Never mind the wonderful bit of nostalgia, the beta for Windjammers is already fantastic, and is lunging into the right direction for the full release. Originally released in 1994, the pong-style extreme frisbee mayhem is back! Not that it ever fully left, some just didn’t know that it’s been here for so long. Then again, there hasn’t been too many 1 on 1 adversarial air hockey-styled, special throw-having, reflex testing sports games that have lasted this long.
As with a typical port in this day and age that comes with upgrades, Windjammers has some obvious changes from the original game. Menu screens are very different than one would remember, and of course, there was no online, which is what this beta is testing in particular. But that’s pretty much where the changes stop. The gameplay itself remains unchanged from the original, just now you don’t have to plunk down a few quarters to get a new rival. Not that those times aren’t missed, personally.
Of course, the big question is, how does the netcode hold up? There were 2 very distinct scenarios: I would connect with my opponent, the match would start, and the netcode was so good, I would forget I was online completely until the match ended. As for the other, I’d be presented an opponent, we’d select our characters, then the game would promptly disconnect. A few times I’d get matched back up with the same players, and the same result would happen. At no point where I’d get disconnected from a player would we ever get a match to start, but also vice versa. If I played a successful match with a player, we never got disconnected. Of course, differences in online connection quality between players will have some effect, so disconnects in some fashion are to be expected. And with there being virtually no load time, and being a very streamlined process, I wasn’t too deterred from looking for other matches. But again, that’s why this is a beta.
I have high hopes for the quality of the completed game, based on how impressive the beta is already. The few changes aren’t off-putting either, and this feels like I’m flipping through a scrapbook someone made for me of my past memories playing the original game, which over time, still has a sizeable following. Jamming the wind online will be in my future, for sure.