Hurling Poop

Windjammers has been around as long as Super Metroid. Sadly, it hasn’t stood the test of time nearly as well. First released on the Neo Geo in 1994, and then again in 2010 on the WiiU Virtual Console, this Flying Disc Game (because I guess frisbee is a brand name) sees you picking one of six characters and to play a suped up pong-like.

Characters each have different power and speed, meaning they can throw the disc harder or move around faster. As rallies go on, the pace gets more swift and you find yourself sliding around at high speed to avoid letting your opponent score.

The angle you throw at can be changed by moving the stick diagonally forward before throwing. Alternatively, throwing while holding diagonally backwards will make the disc bounce up and down across the court, making it more tricky to catch. You can also perform a half circle before throwing to do a powered up special move.

Each match takes place in a different arena and each has a unique layout of scoring areas and centre obstacles. Score in a yellow zone for 3 points or red for 5 points. The center obstacles provide additional bounce points in around the net, meaning that you can bamboozle your opponent by hitting them just right.

Between some matches, you’ll get to play one of the two minigames: Dog Distance – throw your disc and have your doggo friend chase after it, while avoiding beach users; and Flying Power Disc Bowling – Knock down pins with your definitely-not-a-frisbee (I found playing as the Spanish character and holding forward and throw got a strike every time,so that’s fun /s). These are very short and simplistic and can also be accessed through the local game menu.

Windjammers, features online multiplayer, local single and multiplayer, and a wireless mode. So plenty of opportunities to bore the crap out of your friends playing this.

Like a lot of old games being ported to modern systems, and new games that want to look like they were, there’s options to play with or without scanlines, or even a CRT mode. Furthermore you can play in the original 4:3 (with or without your choice of borders to fill in the blank spaces at the edges) or a stretched out 16:9 screen ratio.

According to Wikipedia, there’s talk of a sequel coming to Switch next year. So if you really must throw digital discs at your rapidly diminishing circle of friends, you may want to hang on for that and hope for the best (I don’t really see how it could be much worse), or else invest in something like Mario Tennis Aces.

Pros:

  • Er
  • Um
  • Oh, the controls function

Cons:

  • Bland
  • Short
  • End screen is a picture of you holding a trophy and a three line congratulations message. Fucking woo!

Overall: 4/10

 

Windjammers is available now on Switch.

Legendarily Fiendish

Every now and then, a hero comes along. One hero, born to fight the hordes of evil. You probably know the drill by now. Mighty, smitey, probably not bitey human comes to wreck evil’s shit. And you, you are not that hero. You’re Bill. Say hi to Bill. Look at his evil little goatee. Marvel at that despicable widow’s peak. Stare in awe at his angry eyebrows. Yeah, you know he means business. He’s a go-getting type, ready to wipe out humanity like a baws.

The Legend of Evil as a 2D, side scrolling, tower defence game, with a pleasant pixel-art style, and a chiptune soundtrack from Springloaded Games (a fact, I only know because it’s written on the Steam page, not because I found it mentioned anywhere on their website. Still, I suppose making games is more important than rabbiting about them. Perhaps Peter Molyneux could learn a thing or two).

The wiley Bill begins his conquest of the human world with limited powers. Movement is controlled by left stick, there’s a dash on B, you can interact with towers with A, view the whole area with L, and dig with R. Later on, in certain circumstances, you get to use a summon move, with Y.

Your first task is to get a demon tower built by moving next to the glowing rune on the ground and hitting A. This brings up your a menu showing all the available demons you’ve unlocked. At first, you’ll only have access to a very basic melee unit, but as you progress you can unlock all kinds of creatures – the slow and sturdy, rock-like Lapis; the mighty, flying Sky Spear, the kind of like, but legally distinct from a beholder Coral Lights, and many more..

Over time, your towers will generate demons to fight for you. Demons will be opposed by the pitiful human forces. These wielders of sticks and stones will pose you little threat and once there bodies are broken, you can harvest their souls. Souls are the currency needed to upgrade your towers. Have them generate more souls over time, churn out demons more quickly, or create area of effect fields such as healing, slowing enemies, or protecting your horde. With your army made strong, you make progress across the map to destroy the human gate and claim victory, before moving on to the next area.

During play, you may find yourself waiting for souls to generate for your next upgrade, It’s times like this you should be searching for small, lit areas. These can be dug up to reveal coins (used for winning bonus medals in the campaign and permanent upgrades in rogue conquest mode) or yet more of those tasty tasty souls.

Gameplay is fast paced for the most part, and the difficulty curve is steep, bordering on vertical at times. With the first six or so levels of the campaign being simple affairs, to introduce mechanics, you’re suddenly thrust into levels where you’re forced to make decisions about where you will build your first tower within seconds. Choosing incorrectly can lead to very quick death. However, with practice, you can pick up what the level wants from you. Be it a quick start from a particular position, followed by demolishing an old tower and replacing with something stronger and then working on upgrades, or building ranged and melee units to support each other against a more diverse enemy.

Ultimately, I haven’t found the campaign all that fun. It often feels like there is one specific way that the game wants you to play an area, and it’s up to you to figure out exactly what the designers had in mind.

Significantly more enjoyable was the rogue conquest mode. Here you play through eight, randomly generated stages. You use a random generator to create an avatar you’re happy with (I got a little green-haired person in a witch hat, who suits me just perfectly) and head into the world. Initially, you are awarded a low-level demon, who is adapted to the biome you start in, be it forest, cliff, snow, or swamp.

As you play through each level, it’s important to keep an eye out for the glowing dig points, as getting money is vital to unlocking new demons, additional towers, power-up orbs for your troops, and abilities like additional starting souls.

Aside from the shop, you can also visit the forge between battles. Here you can attach orbs to your minions to boost their stats or give them new abilities, such as explode on death, knock-back resistance, or the ability to survive in biomes that they are not naturally adapted to. Want to take your best melee, ground fighter out on the cliffs? Give them the ability to jump, and they’ll be able to navigate safely in these battles.

Rogue conquest mode is a great way to see more of the demon types and upgrades that you’d have to play further through the campaign to get a look at otherwise. It’s a fun and interesting challenge that avoids the steep difficulty curve of the main campaign.

The Steam page makes note that the developer is planning to release more content for the game, including PVP, a map editor, a hundreds of levels long conquest mode, and more. I’ll certainly be interested to see what comes of all that.

Pros:

  • Nice graphics.
  • Pretty soundtrack
  • Very replayable rogue conquest mode

Cons:

  • Steep difficulty curve
  • Not a huge amount of content
  • Those lumberjacks can get in the sea (of fire)

Overall: 6/10

The Legend of Evil is available now on Steam and Switch