I love Windjammers. Disc Jam is not Windjammers, but it’s close enough for now.
I don’t know where exactly I first saw Windjammers…certainly some random NeoGeo machine in some lonely arcade…but I re-discovered the fun of Windjammers via MAME and got hooked. I mean, it’s Discs of Tron but playable and fun, how can you go wrong?
Disc Jam was the free download for PS4 this month and it’s pretty much a modern version of Windjammers. Instead of the top-down view of Windjammers, Disc Jam goes the 3D route with added perspective, which does make the game a smidge more challenging since you have to deal with depth rather than just getting in the line.
Other than that, the point is also the same. Get your flying disc passed your opponent and score points. First one to 50 points wins the round, playing best 2 out of 3. Your disc can bounce off the walls so your 10th grade geometry class will come into play.
Disc Jam differs things up a bit by using the analog stick to affect your throws. Rolling your stick will change the spin on your disc and can result in some wicked curves that will make it tough for your opponent to counter. While the concept is easy, the execution is not. Your throw power is also time-dependent so you need to combine stick moves with a quick throw to be effective. It will most certainly be what separates the men from the boys after a few months of play.
One little fun feature of Disc Jam is the rag doll physics that happened to your character when a disc explodes into the goal. It’s just funny seeing your character go limp and tossed around.
As is the case for most all competition games these days, there are oodles of customizations you can unlock and apply to your character. From suits to tags to taunts and more, just like Rocket League and all the rest. This is fine but I have to say that I’m getting kind of tired of this formula.
Disc Jam does offer doubles play, which I haven’t tried yet, but that could lend itself to some extra fun with your couchmates. Currently at launch there seems to only be one arena but I can see that changing soon as updates are rolled out. Windjammers had different arenas with obstacles and other things and Disc Jam certainly lends itself to that. The Rocket League model seems to work well for soccer with cars so why not Disc Jam too?
I love playing Rocket League too but Disc Jam might be my new online go-to game because it’s just me trying to get better. I don’t have to rely on teammates that are half a world away and just looking out for themselves. It was rare in Rocket League to feel like you were part of a real team. It always felt like everyone was just Rambo-ing it and trying to score…of course, I guess you can’t expect much from pick-up games but if you have 3 other teammates, use them!
Disc Jam is just going to be me yelling at myself, which I prefer because it makes me better. The currently offering is pretty thin when you step back and look at it, but if the Disc Jam folks can do some quick follow-ups with new arenas, characters and tweaks then it will have a long tail and lots of loyal players, myself included.
Disc Jam is a worthy homage to Windjammers. It’s not better, per se, and it’s not really worse (but it is easier). It is a different game with it’s own features that can make playing more interesting, and since there’s no way to enjoy Windjammers on a console I guess that…wait…
Windjammers is coming to the PS4! There’s no firm release date but it’s getting ported and offering online multiplayer too. So I guess we’ll have two flavors of flying disc action to choose from this summer, classic or modern.
And while they are two flavors of the same game, the fact that Disc Jam is “first to market” on PS4 can only help them. Windjammers will come with its own following that will buy the game regardless – players will come pre-good – but Disc Jam might get the newer/younger crowd that didn’t experience Windjammers before. Windjammers can be a hard sell since it’s really hard right out of the gate…which could end up benefitting Disc Jam too. There are bound to be lengthy debates about which is better, so prepare yourself.
Disc Jam is certainly worth the price of free…and even the $15 if you’re not a PS Plus member, so plug in and find Morning_Toast for some good disc gaming.