PAX East 2019: Windjammers 2 – First Impressions

How many of you were surprised by the announcement of Windjammers 2 in mid-2018? Surprised and in enough disbelief to block it from your memory? At a panel this weekend, during a conversation about games that will never happen, one of the panelists (who shall remain nameless for their own protection) made a quip about Windjammers 2… and was quickly corrected by at least half the audience (and the other panelists). The battle of shame and delight on this individual’s face was quite something… but it spoke to the lasting influence of the 1994 cult arcade hit Windjammers and how much pressure is currently on this sequel.

As with any sequel meant to follow up a beloved game (or book, or film, or…), fans expect the follow-up to retain the charm of the original and stay true to the core of what made it so beloved in the first place, but also build on that and offer something new.

With the demo at the con this weekend, DotEmu is trying their best to do exactly that, and we’re hopeful the finished product will be more of the same of what we saw. Naturally, the graphics are different—this isn’t the 90s—but the vibe stays more or less the same. Think Saturday morning cartoons in your childhood (uh, if you grew up in the 80s or 90s… we have no idea what you 00s were watching). And the new look also sets it apart from all the retro-style titles and remakes appearing in the market right now.

That means no retro sprites, but it still fits. And the gameplay matters just as much, right? Well, it seems they’ve hit on a win in that regard as well, because it plays like the original but with the addition of an “EX Move” bar that fills up as you play. When it’s full, you can do an EXTREME move that’s difficult for your opponent to counter or combat (basically a super).

There are new stages, new characters, and new moves like jumping and slapshots, but these don’t overwhelm the gameplay at all—rather they add to the enjoyment overall. The game still retains the simplicity of the original, just with a new coat of polish.

While there’s no release date set yet apart from later this year, the team is apparently planning to start testing Windjammers 2 with some of the best known, old-school Windjammer players later this summer. That sounds like a great plan to us—this sequel appears to be in good hands.


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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